The most dangerous city (once upon a time)
Trip Start Sep 22, 2011
36Trip End Mar 09, 2012
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Where I stayed
Maybe now would be a good time to explain the title of this entry.... throughout the 1980s and 1990s Medellín was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world for its size, and had a highly disproportional homicide and kidnapping rate. It was the home of the drug lord Pablo Escobar and the so-called Medellín Cartel, who virtually took over the city and the country. Since his demise in the mid-1990's the cartel was disbanded and the city rebounded tremendously. In 1991 there were 6500 murders in the city, by 2009 the murder rate decreased to 2900. During the first 3 months of 2010, 503 murders were reported, still a lot and the reasons are still the same, but a significant reduction all the same. The city has a known population of just around 2 million but when the cencus was taken, the cencus people refused to go into the many Barrios (mainly the slum areas) for fear of their own safety, consequently there are an unknown number of residents accounted for. Some say the city population is probably nearer 2.5-3 million.
We were staying in a particularly nice part of town called 'Patio Bonito' with tree lined streets and many security/police in the area, even so it was still recommended to take a taxi at night, which is the very advice we followed
We seem to be slowing down on the sightseeing front as we get closer to the end of our trip. Maybe we are just making the most of being able to sit with a book and have no agenda for the day?! We'd been advised of loads of things we could do in and around Medellin such as the Pablo Escobar tour where you could meet his brother and visit Pablo's old house's and graveyard. We only had 2 things that we really wanted to do which was go out and party in preperation for the carnival in Rio, and visit the science park. We managed a nightly trip to Zona Rosa and kept ourselves entertained in one particular bar run by 2 Swedish guys with the passing trade of the local Columbians. The trip to the science park wasn't as successful, we saved it for our last day but unfortunately the only day of the week that it is closed is a Monday, still the science park sits in an area to the north of the city centre and has botanical gardens close by so we had a little wander around. We paid downtown a visit too - just another big city with not that many historic buildings to speak of. However we did come across a black and white building we initially thought was a church until we went round the front and discovered it's an office complex, there were also some interesting bronze statues in the park, all oversized animals and people..
We had decided to fly from Medellin to Bogota and connect with our Rio flight as the bus journey was over 14 hours and we would need to set off at 5am! The bonus was a special offer of flights and we ended up paying about £20 more to fly. We bid farewell to Medellin and the Black Sheep and set off at a respectable 2pm to catch out Bogota flight, next stop Rio and Carnival time.