We dropped down to Medellin the second time, probably not the last one though. It’s been some time since the Medellin Cartel is defunct and Pablo Escobar is gone. The city is a tourist destination these days, safer than let’s say 20 years ago but still has a ‘flavour’ when yo look around. The contrasts are huge and I have no clue what to say as for now. The traffic is crazy and the smog level high. Roads are confusing and chaotic, congested and slow. Just about every hole in a wall is a store. There is more stuff for sale here than I even came across, except Panama City. We went to Home Center, which is Chilean owned chain and the offer was matching or even surpassing any Home Depot or Lowe’s in Canada. So does the price of things. Definitely it’s not the store where average Juan will go shopping. We left without spending any money fairly quickly.

A quick stop in Makro just across from the Home Center left us with the same impression. For a wholesale store (used to be owned by Metro) it seemed pricy, actually D1 is way cheaper, unless you buy a 40 kg bag of rice. When we walked back to the van the police was waiting for us with some ‘concerned’ people. Blaze was the concern, somebody called the police on us leaving the dog in the van. After I explained the police that the van is insulated, ventilated and it’s way cooler inside than outside they just advised us to write a note and stick it in the window that the dog is safe and left. They have way more serious things to take care of in this city. Not so fast with a local middle-class buddy who went all nuts and wouldn’t loosen up. He spoke some English and promised that next time he will smash my windows and ‘save’ my dog. Save from? I advised him to do it right now, go right ahead buddy, go for the windows!

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The meat section in Makro.

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Dog food section in Makro. I wouldn’t feed any of it to Blaze. This is what I have to save him from.

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The tile selection is impressive, also the number of people who cannot afford it.

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Fancy light switches in Home Center.

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$20-40 bux pans.

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Malls are for upper class people around here.

We left the mall and our ‘concerned’ buddy behind, with a ‘never to return’ mental note. Parked the van in a safe parking lot and walked a bit in the late afternoon in Botero Plaza and surrounding. For all those who are eager to ‘save’ my dog now here is a lot to save. The plaza and surroundings has the equal amount of police, drug addicts and prostitutes. A weird mixture with the million dollar worth Botero statues and the Antioquia Museum. It almost physically hurts the eye to see the most famous place in Medellin in such shape. It feels uncomfortable to walk around here.

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This guy was inhaling solvent glue vapours from plastic bag. He came and talked to me and it smelled like PL500. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out what he was saying.

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Flea market across from the plaza.

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Yes he got some change.

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Naturopath store.

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Mangoes, 1,000 cop for locals, 3,000 cop for gringos.

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This is as close we get to a pitbull.

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Social strata is an official distinction around here.

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It’s when your mom says ‘I told you so!’

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Botero’s idea of million dollar statue.