The weekend and Medellin

Trip Start Jul 05, 2005
Trip End ??? ??, 2006

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Monday, July 11, 2005

It's been a few days since I've had the opportunity to write an update. I am in Medellin right now which is the city my parents are from and where I spent my childhood summers. Prior to arriving in Medellin yesterday, I spent the weekend beginning to explore my neighborhood. The neighborhood is great! It's peaceful and quiet with a pretty cool running trail where lots of people walk their dogs, run, and exercise. It's been tough getting adjusted to the altitude, but I'm sure that after a while, it will be just fine. On Saturday night, I hung out with Michelle Morales who works at OLP in DC and Rose Romero, an AUSA from Puerto Rico who has been here four years. Michelle and I went out to dinner and then met up with Rose at a going away party. The party was pretty shwanky which a chef and a butler (no cabana boy, but hey...he was wearing a tux!) It was an all girlīs party and met some pretty important and interesting women. The following morning, I went running on a main artery that is closed to traffic every Sunday from 7 am to 2 pm so people can bike (really big here), walk, blade, run, etc. Itīs really nice and well organized. There are people everywhere and fresh flowers and fruit juices on every corner. Itīs really amazing, you can get two dozen roses for about $US2. There are tons of different flowers here,

After my morning run, I had to deal with the reoccurring problem of electrical outages. I got home and had not electrical, so I had to wait a while to shower and blow dry my hair. Itīs part of everyday life here and people donīt seem to really mind. They take everything in stride. Guess Iīll have to get use to that. Another, interesting thing is that people are extremely courteous and kind. Everyone is addressed formally and people go out of their way to make sure you have what you need. For example, after my run, I was walking home and I noticed a guy selling firewood on a corner near my house. i asked him how much it costs and it was about $2US per bundle. I couldnīt carry two bundles because they were too heavy, so he offered to carry them to my apartment. When we got there, I gave him double the amount and he almost kissed me. He was so grateful for the business because he could barely afford his rent, which is $US 50 per month. I felt so bad and at the same time felt good that I had helped in some small way.

In any event, after the run and shower, I headed to the airport for my first trip. We flew to Medellin (where I am now), my parentsī hometown. It is more beautiful than what I remembered from two years ago. The temperature here is like spring in DC -- itīs called the city of eternal springtime. The city has a metro, which we hope to ride on during our week here. There are malls eveywhere, but the ride from the airport to the hotel was spectacular. The airport is about 40 minutes outside of the city, down a winding road with farm houses and roadside stands everywhere. It really is beautiful. I will post pictures on the net when I get home.

Tonight the instructors, including a federal judge from NY and I went to dinner. Art, my colleage and fellow RLA, picked the restaurant. We went to a small park which is surrounded by restaurants. Itīs the hip place in town and the restaurants include Italian, which is where we ate tonight, to sushi. The parkīs nickname is thë "oh my god park" because all the women that frequent the restaurants and bars are head turners. More like spinners! The women love to dress up and take great care of themselves. The guys....not so good. But thatīs okay, iīm here to work!

In any event, we had a great dinner and tomorrow morning, the judge and a few of us are going for a morning walk (not run) outside of the hotel complex. Medellin is much safer than it was years ago and we got the ok to go tomorrow!!! I am excited to be here. One of my uncles,aunts and cousins are coming to the hotel for dinner tomorrow night, which should be really nice.

After we finish teaching tomorrow, I am getting an hour long massage for $US25 and that is at the hotel. By the way, we are staying at an Intercontinental Hotel chain, so I am starting to accumulate points. Itīs not a starwood property, but itīs pretty damn nice! Thereīs a huge swimming pool, clay tennis courts, and a volleyball area. The gym is pretty old, but hopefully that will change in the next few weeks now that iīve filed a suggestion with the hotelīs management!

Well, keep in touch...Iīd like to know how you are all doing!

(aka Scrappy)
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