After fleeing the United States to Bogotá for a week after San Francisco, I rendezvoused with a group of international friends living in Medellín for six days and took it as an opportunity to hang out with international people that are otherwise hard to pin down. I stayed in two different apartments in Poblado, a really nice and also touristy neighborhood of Medellín where my friends had chose to stay. I’ve only been to Medellín once before and as I wrote afterwards it wasn’t a city that I really enjoyed. I hesitate to pass further judgement this time around because I didn’t even set foot outside of Poblado — instead choosing to work and hang out with my buddies rather than venture and explore a city I already decided I dislike.
Nevertheless I will pass judgement! I really dislike Poblado. Just about everything about Poblado — from the dense demographic of expats, the meandering roadways with narrow sidewalks on a single side that switch from one side of the street to the other seemingly at random necessitating that you wait for the line of passing cars to give you passage between them so you might again not walk in the road — to repeat the process 100 meters further downhill. These streets inhibit any sort of organic navigation without memorization or GPS mapping owing to their twists, intersections and illogical, non-existent architecture.
The climate compels wearing shorts on account of the heat and yet only foreigners wear shorts so one must decide to parade a(-nother) flag of differentiation wherever you go or embrace the under-jeans trickle of moisture from sweat while tramp up the steep hills back to your apartment in the residential zone which is quite separate from any destination actually in Poblado. The taxis will do everything in their power to exert extra fares – pretending not to understand where you are trying to go while en-route, driving in the incorrect direaction and those that intentionally drive past your destination and claim it is impossible to revert for another 3 kilometers; Ubers cancelling your fare when they receive your pickup location and distinguish from your profile picture that you are a foreigner — the only place Gringos want to go if it isn’t the airport is someplace a relatively short distance away that isn’t deemed worth the effort to drive them there.
One thing I can be grateful to Medellín for is helping me realize how much I love Bogotá — so I bought a one way ticket back to it after three days.