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Good morning & buenos días, to those who celebrate. I went to Medellín over a month ago, I never wrote about it, but I am trying to wind back the clock and write about it because I just landed in London and want to keep this travel blog as cohesive as possible.
In November, I made an impromptu decision to book an Airbnb in Medellín, Colombia for 8 days because one of my buddies was working remote down there, New York was cold, and I guess I kind of wanted a break from classes for a week?
Not that it was really a break, I still had homework.
So anyways, I will now write about Medellín.
No, this probably won't be an entirely accurate day-by-day recap of my trip. But I spent half of my time there writing stuff anyway so I figure it really isn't thatttt important to cover the nitty-gritty of all of it. So anyways, let's dive in.
Mike Slavei aka Canadian Mike, decided to spend about a month working remote from the family-friendly city of Medellín, Colombia with a couple of his buddies. Canadian Mike called me up and said, "Hey Jack, come to Medellín."
I said, "Let me check my schedule."
*Checks my schedule*
*Sees nothing too important on my schedule*
"Yeah, this is a skippable week of class. I'll be there in two weeks."
After consulting with mis parceros colombianos, I snagged an Airbnb in the El Poblado neighborhood. I thought Devin, my 6'7 travel buddy who previously seemed to have infinite vacation days and work-from-home flexibility, would come as well.
But he didn't.
So anyways, the day after Thanksgiving, Friday November 25th, I drove to the Atlanta airport, caught an early flight to Medellín by way of Miami, and here. we. go.
Friday, November 25th
I spent the night before with Devin in a last-ditch attempt at peer pressure (plus, I needed to crash with someone in Atlanta. Which he is). It didn't work. Up at 4:45 AM to make the drive to the airport.
Drive was uneventful, and I hopped to Miami and then Medellín. On my flight from Miami to Medellín, I sat by a Moldovan (any of y'all know where Moldova is on the map?) dude named Alfie on the way to Medellín. Alfie was a total homie living in Miami who ran his own ecommerce business, and his girlfriend was from Medellín. He was traveling solo to find some new suppliers for his fitness brand closer to the states (previous suppliers were in Asia, and as you know there was a bit of a supply chain crunch).
After we got through customs we made plans to link for dinner the following week. I exchanged some dollars for pesos and caught a cab to the city. The ride used to take an hour+, but a new tunnel through the mountain cut the ride in half. My driver, Willy, was super excited to tell an American about Medellín. Also gave me a good chance to speak some Spanish, because he didn't know a lick of English.
My Airbnb was great. It actually had two beds (ONE WAS FOR YOU, DEVIN 🙃) and a decent sized kitchen, all for $40 per night.
I love Latin America.
After dropping my stuff off, I explored the city for a bit. Medellín is built into a valley in the mountains of Colombia (I think it's part of the Andes), and the city is quite literally in a jungle. Seriously, look at this:
Mike sent me his gym, and I met up with him there. My man found a 10/10 spot with one hell of a view (second photo is the view from the treadmills):
I signed up for a one-week membership, and Mike met me there 20 minutes later. We bro-hugged and shot the shit for a minute before grunting and displacing heavy objects for the next hour.
On the way home, I passed a hotdog place called "Perritos," which literally means puppies.
After showering and stuff, I headed out to link up with Mike at his buddies' place. Mike had his own Airbnb, while two of his friends, Dan and Daraab, were sharing a different one. I actually met Dan in Barcelona over the summer. He and Mike previously met in Mexico, and they have traveled together a bit. I have no idea how Mike met Daraab. They may have met in Medellín. It's tough to trace the genesis of travel friends.
Mike, Dan, and I went to dinner after, Daraab claimed he was staying in for the night. Narrator: He did not, in fact, stay in for the night.
Besides previously asking my Colombian friends in New York about where to stay, I also asked them where to go out. The unanimous answer was a club called "Perro Negro." Apparently, it was the spot in Medellín. We needed to get there early if we wanted a decent chance at getting in.
So after dinner, we (and Daraab joined us at this point) headed there. And the bouncer kindly told us to screw off, he wasn't letting in a group of four dudes.
So Mike glanced around. El Poblado was bumping on a Friday night, with bars everywhere and tables in the streets. He walked up to a table with 3 girls and said, "Hola, quieren ir a Perro Negro con nosotros?"
Hey, want to go to Perro Negro with us?
They shrugged, said sure, and hopped in line. We exchanged introductions, of which I only remember one of their names (Luisa, a flight attendant for Avianca. Avianca sucks).
We also got our picture taken upon arrival:
I gotta say, I was proud of how well my Spanish held up in a nightclub, all things considered. Me and Luisa kinda hit it off (as well as I could tell), but dancing was much simpler than talking.
The girls bounced at like 1:30, and me and Mike just kinda wandered around town after that. We ended up in some bar in an area called Parque Lleras where every girl in there was a 10/10, and something didn't seem right. Because these 10/10s were talking to dudes who were, very much, not 10/10s. And the dudes tilted a few years older.
So one of these 10/10s sat down next to me, and I asked, "Una pregunta; son todas mujeres acá prostitutas?"
And she smiled and said, "Sí, estás interesado? $100?" (or something like that, idk what the price was. I was pretty borracho at this point.)
So I sat there for a minute and did the math: "$100 is like 20,000 beers in this country," I thought. "Spending that $100 on anything other that 20,000 beers is a heinous misuse of capital.
So I said, "No, gracias." Grabbed another $0.50 beer, closed my tab, and called it a night.
Saturday, November 26th
So, I publish this blog on a platform called beehiiv, and one of the guys who works at beehiiv, Tyler Gillespie, actually lives in Medellín. And for some reason, at 2 AM Friday night, I agreed to meet him for coffee at 9 AM on Saturday.
Boy oh boy did that 8:15 alarm suck. But I linked up with Tyler, and I'm glad I did. He's a super cool dude who's been doing the remote work thing since before it got popular, and he actually moved to Medellín like 10 years ago. He has a whole girlfriend and life down here now, with no plans of leaving.
We chatted about work stuff and Medellín stuff and Spanish stuff and lots of other stuff and I ate a dank waffle, then I headed home and slept til like 3.
After that, I hit the gym (view was SICK, especially when it started raining), and went to a Mexican place called Dos Santos with Mike and Dan for dinner. They had live music. It was loud.
We proceeded to hit one of the street bars and then I think bar hopped but honestly it's been a month so I don't remember where we went specifically, but with it being Saturday night and everything, that's probably the most likely outcome.
Sunday, November 27th
Mike and I took a taxi to the city center today, and we took a gondola over the city. The views were sick, but a girl in our cab was convinced that the thing was going to break and kill us all (which honestly probably wasn't a bad fear to have).
While the views were awesome, it was pretty crazy seeing just how poor so much of the city is.
Once we reached the other side of the city, we caught a taxi to Comuna 13. Comuna 13 was a hotbed for drugs and crime in the 80s and 90s, but it has since been cleaned out and converted to a tourist attraction. The walls are covered with all sorts of graffiti, and street vendors were out in numbers trying to make a quick buck off of gringos like me.
Mike and I made it to the upper levels of the neighborhood, where we posted up in a half-constructed favela "apartment"-turned bar to check out the views.
We grabbed dinner at some Mexican place and called it early on Sunday. It's a school night, you know!
Monday, November 28th
I didn't do much this day. I worked out early in the AM, and I wanted to see some other parts of the city, so I ubered to Los Laureles and posted up in a coffee shop there for the day. My Uber driver offered to take us to visit some of the tourist attractions outside the city, but nothing materialized.
I did get dinner with another Americano that I met at the gym. Drew was an Army vet/Harvard grad working for a crypto hedge fund, and he figured he could live a lot cheaper while shorting every token on the market from Medellín.
I'm pretty sure he made bank on the bear market.
Tuesday, November 29th
A big day of writing and doing homework (I did, unfortunately, have a decent homework load this day). Mike met two girls in Medellín and set up a double date for us that night, but we literally couldn't hear a word they were saying because the bar was so loud.
However, the night was still young, and Medellín catered to its local white folk with a "Gringo Tuesdays" event at some bars near the center of El Poblado every Tuesday. Mike, Dan, Daraab, and I decided to check it out, and we ended up hanging out with a massive group of Dutch folks who were in town for a week.
Wednesday, November 30th
I grabbed dinner with Alfie (flight seatmate from day 1), but just chilled after that. I was exhausted.
However, I heard a pop..pop...POP POP while laying on bed, and I thought a gang had just gunned someone down. But as the pops kept going, I realized they were... fireworks.
Medellín puts on a big show for December 1st.
I thought my crib was about to get aired out.
Thursday, December 1st
This ended up being my last night in town. I was supposed to leave early Saturday morning, but I moved it to Friday night to get back to NYC in time for the US-Netherlands World Cup game (which we of course lost in unconvincing fashion).
I spent most of the day writing and attempting (read: failing to make meaningful progress on) my homework, before we went back to Perro Negro that night. Once again, the place was bussin' frfr.
Friday, December 2nd
I slept in pretty late, hit the gym, hung out with Mike for a bit, then caught an Uber back to the airport. I had a direct flight with Avianca from Medellín to NYC, which I thought would be good. Especially considering I had upgraded seats.
Turns out, Avianca is actually worse than Spirit, space wise.
I mean, it was horrible.
But I made it home, slept 3 hours, then watched the US get waxed with my friends.
And that's all! I'm in London now completely sleep deprived, will write a post-NYE update tho.
Catch you guys later.
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