Friday, Feb 22, 2019
It has been another great week in Medellin. My roommate John moved on to attend the University for his Spanish lessons. Now I have a great couple living here, Yann and Zita, from Switzerland. Alicia makes us all feel very much at home.
It was a busy week learning and practicing more Spanish. Over the weekend a few of us did manage to get away for a hike here in the mountains above Envigado where I live. Because the mountains are so close, it is easy to make time for a hike here.
We went on a trail that led to two waterfalls. The mountain was very steep. I thought I was in shape but in no time at all I was huffing and puffing working to keep up with the “youngsters”.
When I was hiking, it helped to grab a small tree trunk or branch to steady myself on the steep grade. I did that most of the way without any issue. However this tree had a built in defense against that kind of thing.
When I grabbed the narrow trunk I immediately got a surprise. These spines blended in well and were hard to see immediately. In fact I felt them way before I saw them.
There are two waterfalls along this hike. We reached the lower waterfall and many people were there swimming and jumping in the cold water. I wanted to get in, but it was still a long hike to the higher waterfall, and being wet for the rest of the way didn’t seem so great. Plus it was “cold” this day, and you know how I feel about that.
The first waterfall on the trail is Chorro de Las Companas.
Along the way there were a lot of butterflies and many landed on us. I suspect it was the salt in the sweat they wanted. This butterfly was especially interesting to me.
The second waterfall was really cool…literally. The double cascade of water into the natural pool below was fun to see and be in. There were a couple of guys trying to crawl up the side of the mountain around the pool and jump in. The problem as I saw it, when they jumped in they immediately touched bottom. Hmmmm.
We all got in the water and swam. I didn’t think the water in the pool was as cold as the water in the fall hitting my head. It was the ultimate brain freeze.
That day didn’t end with just the hike. Several of us went to a futbol game that night. It was the Medellin team playing, who for obvious reasons, are very popular here.
Nacional is the Futbol Team of Medellin, and they love their team.
Trip to the “Dump”
Around the 1980’s there was a huge pile of trash that accumulated over the years in the barrio of Moravia. It was so out of control it could no longer be ignored; now it was a mountain. This mountain of trash emitted toxic gases, created contamination throughout the area, and caused serious health problems for the people.
The residents around this trash heap refused to be relocated because at that time in Colombia, your community was everything. No one was willing to be placed in another community. So the Colombian government brought top soil in and covered this trash heap with it, then planted various suitable plants and trees. This begins a process of detoxing the mountain and changing it into something pleasant to look at.
The “before” pictures above show the size of the problem the mountain of trash had become.
Today, many plants, plants, flowers, and trees are transforming this heap of trash into something pleasant for the residents. The view from the top is fantastic too.
The picture above shows the large amount of trash that is mixed within the soil.
A Walk in the Moravia Barrio
I enjoy the barrios we get to visit while I’m here. Getting to see the people that live in them, what they are doing, and get a sense of the community is a special blessing for me.
Life in the streets is always interesting throughout Medellin.
Boys with their dogs, and dads with their sons. This boy with his dad looks longingly into the ice cream shop. Doesn’t matter what country; it’s universal.
Some men work. Other men drink. And a boy finds a perfect place to hang with his dad.
In general, I have noticed that when Colombians are together they laugh a lot. I’m not sure what caused this bout of laughter at the barber shop but it had everyone in stitches.
Our class stopped for fresh made empanadas. What was cool about this street vendor is she had great sauces to dip them in.
The container below holds the bicycles that are part of the metro system. I’m not exactly sure how this process works but the bikes are free to use. This is a return station for them.
Below, is a friend I met. His name is Francisco. He plays guitar, sings, and writes his own music. He has lived in Medellin his whole life. I think his smile conveys the energy I feel from the people I meet here in Medellin.
Have a great week!