Monday, September 17, 2012


Palace of Culture at Plaza Botero
All good things must come to an end and La Gran Aventura Colombiana 2012 ends in Medellín. The City of Eternal Spring. The City of Flowers. The City of Botero. And, formerly, but no more, the City of Pablo Escobar.

Me and Medellín did not get off to a happy start. The guide that the travel agency had arranged to meet me at the airport wasn’t there. I waited around the bus station for about 15 minutes and no luck. This surprised me because, up to this, I found the Colombians to be universally friendly, courteous, efficient and dependable. I caught a cab at the bus station. The first cab driver I asked didn’t want to take me because he didn’t know where the hotel was. The second cab driver had a few problems finding the joint. I don’t blame him as the roads in the neighborhood of my hotel were confusing and randomly barricaded. I did get to my hotel, but as soon as I got to my room and unpacked, cumbia music for somewhere nearby started playing. Loud. Until after 12:30. And that wouldn’t have been so bad except that it started back up at 6:30 a.m. the next morning.

Church in upscale Poblado neighborhood
And, to make things worse, when I went to the hotel breakfast buffet, the server would not bring me coffee. Given the loud music situation, my need for some café was bordering on a medical emergency. The server woman kept walking from one end of the restaurant space to the other, serving the two tables at the opposite end of the place and ignoring those of us in the middle.
So Day Once, my eleventh and final day in Colombia, was not off to a great start. It did get better.

I took the Medellín metro (an elevated train, actually) to El Centro, to see the Botero statues in the imaginatively named Plaza Botero and to see some more Botero art in the Museo de Antioquia. I got off the metro at my stop and saw this interesting-looking building:

Uribe Palace of Culture
That is the Uribe Palace of Culture. Right next to it was this:

Medillin Station?
Those Station Casinos are everywhere! I did not go inside to see if it had a cheap but perfectly decent buffet. Actually, I suspect that the intellectual property rights to that logo were not properly secured.  Then I started seeing the Botero statues, even before I got to Plaza Botero:

A Botero ... but not quite in Plaza Botero
Of course there were more once I got to the Plaza:

Botero's masterpiece "Pedro"

Names supplied when I can remember.  Which ain't often.  But the ones with women tend to have "mujer" in the name, usually but not always, and the ones with men tend to have "hombre" in the name, again, usually but not always:

I could not get isolated shots of the statuary, because people were treating this as if it were a public park! Hanging around and hanging off the statues:

I call this one "Tres Mujeres," or "Three Women":

This was a particularly disturbing and amusing scene. Amus-turbing if you will:

The Adam half of an "Adam and Eve" pairing
Do you see what's happening in that picture?  Dad is taking a picture of his young daughter and young son in front of one of the greatest works of sculpture by a Colombian artist. So far so good. The only problem is that the boy is grabbing on to a something sticking out from the male statue. Look closely (or maybe you shouldn’t).

Anyway, it must be pretty common to give that fat bronze guy a rub because that part of the statue’s anatomy is far brighter and more polished than the rest.

On that note, it was time to say good-bye to Medellín:

View of Medellin from the top floor of Hotel Poblado Alejandria
And, a good-bye to Medellín means that La Gran Aventura Colombia has come to a close. Vacation 2012 is at its end. Time to go home and get back to work, assuming that, on Dia Doce, the return travel day, there are no major problems with the flight back.  Problems on the return flight seem to be an emerging vacation tradition.

The Vacation Blog is closed for 2012.  See you next year in Macedonia, or Finland and Estonia, or Sarajevo, or Chilean Patagonia, or Poland, or Brazil's Northeast Coast, or Montevideo and Buenos Aires, or maybe that long-planned family trip back to Croatia, wherever it is I end up deciding to go.

No comments:

Post a Comment