Chapter 5: The Wolfpack Gets Insulted by Paisas
Medellín is the second-largest city in Colombia, former drug cartel hub and home to the late Pablo Escobar (formerly the second most-dangerous city in the world), and a popular location for tourists and expats. Colombians, foreigners, visitors and residents alike called it paradise, their favorite place in the country and world, a Utopian city of absolute loveliness.
Can I confess something rather blasphemous?
I wasn’t totally into Medellín.
The weather is great – sunny and hitting 80 during the day. The above-ground metro transportation is incredible, one of the cleanest, smoothest and most efficient I’ve ever seen. The tourist sites we visited were pretty and well kempt, the city has beautiful views and good restaurants. It seems like a lovely place to live and work….but I didn’t love it.
We heard the people were the friendliest in Colombia, outgoing and helpful, but in our few days there, a lot of the Paisas (Medellín residents) we encountered were kind of rude. Maybe because we were obviously tourists? It seemed like everyone was annoyed by our lack of perfect Spanish/perfect understanding of the singsong Paisa accent and talked down to us. Also, catcalls (from men) and staring (from EVERYONE) were far more overt.
We spent our short time in Paisa country exploring parks and catching up with visiting and resident WorldTeachers. We gained Kate’s boyfriend, Ben, visiting from the U.S. and lost Vanessa back to the states as her placement on the coast fell through.
Medellin. Would I go back? Sure. Would I live there? Probably. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Would I jump on the bandwagon of every Colombian and tourist ever who OMG LOVES MEDELLÍN WANTS TO MOVE THERE THIS VERY INSTANT BOGOTÁ IS THE WORST?
I’ll let the majority have their stance and maintain my Bogotá loyalty guilt-free.
Pictures are from Botero Park in Medellin.