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COLOMBIA | Sunday, 1 February 2015 | Views [321]

Well, this wasnt even on the original itinerary, not that has stopped us before.  Everyone we meet says we have to go Columbia, its so beautiful and has changed so much so we decided to work it into the schedule.  We flew through Bogota, just spent one night there, and hopped a bus to Medellin.  Again I wasnt able to find a workaway so we wont be spending much time here.  The country here is so different from what weve seen so far.  Were heading into jungle territory now and its so lush and beautiful.  The bus trip is actually enjoyable just because there is so much to see now.  Medellin is a revelation.  Its lush and modern and traditional at the same time.  There are still the favelas all up the hillsides but they are flourishing now due to the government investing in them with infrastucture, cable cars for access, librairies, and much more.  They have a world class metro system and they are still expanding on it with yet another line with a cable car running up into the neighbourhoods on the mountainside.  We took arguably the best city walking tour weve done.  The guide, Hernán, was awesome, he grew up here, is university educated and knows so much about the people and the city.  He didnt dwell on the cartels but did talk some about the history and where they are today.  They still have a long ways to go but man what a difference in such a short period of time, Medellin particularly.  Some cities and areas are still unsafe, the problem hasnt gone away, but the people are so positive, theyre smiling and friendly and they clearly love their city and their country.  We also went to Guatape for a couple days.  We didnt end up doing much, just a boat tour of the lake which was really nice.  The lake is man made, 5 rivers and a town flooded for a damn by General Electric.  There is 1 house that survived and its now a museum which you can stop at on the boat tour.  It was really interesting, even in Spanish.  There are pictures of the town being flooded as it stood, the people werent even aware it was going to happen.  What devestation.  There is a monument where the church stood and a replica church built on the stopes on the side of the lake.  Pablo Escobars lake retreat is also on the tour, this is where he was killed, the house and buildings were burned out and left to rot.  The second day it rained and we ended up heading back to Medellin early.

The plan was to fly to Panama but losing my credit cards has proven to be a huge challenge.  I spent days trying to get it sorted out and in the end had to use my sisters credit card, which was promptly frozen as we didnt think to inform them I was using it.  Weve ended up staying a little longer that planned but finally Ive been succussful in booking the flight and we are on our way to Panama.  For all my planning with debit cards and credit cards and copies of everything Im still left in a mess.  Thank God we have Joshs debit card, at least we can get money.  But without Kelly at home to help I would have been really screwed.  People ask me for advice and I just dont know what to tell them.  All you can do is be vigilant but shit still happens.  




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