For the next episode in the Bucket Lists adventure, we had to leave Panama within the first 90-days to meet their non-resident driver’s license renewal condition. So, we needed to go somewhere for at least three days, and this next is a documentation of another fun experience.
We are in Medellin (Med-eh-yeen), Columbia for a week, and we are thoroughly enjoying the surprises. It an incredibly big and modern city with all the modern city infrastructures — well-appointed all. It is clean beyond ANYWHERE we’ve been. They apparently started a program 20 years ago to educate the people to take pride in the city. Everything is recycled. It’s apparently a carrot and sticks approach and we see nobody littering, and the streets, sidewalks, parks even in the poorer sections are noticeably absent of debris and are in good shape most everywhere. These people are doing something right.
An amazing number of modern structures, mass transit, good highways. The first impression, when we left the airport by cab was the noticeable climb up a mountain range and then the steep winding highway down and down the other side to the city of Medellin nestled in a big narrow valley. Probably an abrupt elevation drop of at least 5,000 feet. The city is huge, and the skyscrapers are built right up to the side of the valley mountains everywhere. My first question was about mudslides, but they say no. There is a massive amount of new constructions seemingly everywhere — high rise office buildings, hotels, and upscale high-rise apartments locating high up on these very steep mountains. Quite a fete.
The stated urban population is 2.5 million, and the elevation is listed 4,500 feet. Its billed as the City of Eternal Spring. Temperatures are lovely day and night. We have been introduced to Peruvian food and its been a great culinary experience. There are great restaurants seemingly everywhere. The street life is dramatically interesting a varied. Heavy traffic and motorcycles weaving in and out everywhere, but its all clean, manicured and orderly. The main thoroughfares are wide and modern. The municipal buildings, museums, parks, and stadiums are first rate.
Our Panama neighbor, Mario Sanchez came down with us, so we have a Spanish speaking companion. We have toured the city three days running with a $8/hr cab driver and that has worked out well. Mario will return to Panama on Tuesday, but we will stay two additional days. I purchased full price tickets for the Seattle return, so we can be flexible and that will get us back into Panama with no problem (Visitors must have an outgoing plane ticket to enter the country).
All and all this has been a definite high point of the whole trip. I guess we are too spoiled. I like the comforts provided here, though I would not attempt to drive here. The tight traffic and weaving motorcycles are far beyond me.
Sue is doing well. We are in a very nice and very modern hotel. And prices are great for the upscale suites at $80 a night. I paid much more than that at some of the hotels in Boquete ($265/night in one) for far less.
I will share more for you, as we experience it.