Silicon Valley: What a fella in Bogotá called this place—a city of cosmetic surgery.
I'm staying a new hostel called Casa Kiwi. It feels like I'm living in a fraternity house—there isn't a single woman here, save for the occasional "girlfriend" that's over from time to time. The word is out; there isn't much in the way of tourist attractions here in Medellín, except of course for the much hyped visuals of the local female population.
Casa Kiwi is in the middle of the Zona Rosa, a lovely, posh, green, and expensive part of town. Some of the most popular nightlife in the city is here. Sadly, cheap eats and Internet cafés are non-existent.
Medellín does in fact sit in a mountain valley. When it's not showering outside, the great weather reminds me of San Diego (just without the beach). It's known as the City of Eternal Spring, the top spot in South America for paragliding, and the only city in Colombia that has an established and pleasant above-ground metro.
Air pollution is noticeable here though, and my first few days in town found me asking fellow travelers if we were looking at clouds or smog.
The standard drill for the past few days has been drinking and dancing with the boys until the wee hours of the morning, sleeping in 'till noon, watching a pirated movie or two on the plasma television, followed by a bite to eat, something touristy in the late afternoon, and finally hitting the reset button and starting all over again. Not a lifestyle I typically engage in, but the change in routine has been enjoyable.
Nightclubs here are nice on the eyes, and although I think the general population of the city is only average in attractiveness, the women who partake in the dance scene are indeed quite stunning. Colombian guys in Medellín don't seem to be anything to write home about; other travelers tell me the overall visual appeal of both men and women has been the best in Argentina.
Yesterday I attended my first Latin American fútbol game—absolutely crazy. I went with three other guys from the hostel, one a former Chilean soccer pro. En route the taxi driver warned us not to sit on the north side of the stadium, as we'd surely get mugged and/or stabbed.
The Medellín home team colors just so happen to be the same as a popular Colombian beer; almost the entire population of stadium was clothed in red and white (probably between 8–10,000). Our seats—just pick a spot on the concrete—offered up a great view of the crazy northern section. These people were nuts. Drums and chants filled the air, a thousand bodies jumping up and down in unison like a massive, red, pumping heart. It looked and sounded like a battle scene out of Braveheart.
One of the more entertaining aspects of fútbol games is the way riot police have to defend the corner kickers. When a player is introducing the ball back into play from the corner of the field some fanatical spectators have a propensity to throw everything from bottles to streamers at the opposing team.
Four police officers dressed in black, complete with helmets and riot shields, face the crowd and protect the player, shields together, like Roman soldiers defending from a volley of arrows. By the end of the game there was plenty of debris on the field, but no attempt was made to remove it, the players simply played on. I'm told that in Argentina, crazed fans from the cheap seats often throw bags of urine at the higher paying patrons below them.
I've got less than a week left before I have to jump the border into Ecuador. I'm about ready to get out of the Zona Rosa bubble that I've been living in for the past few days and back on the road; I can only take so much of this superficial part of town.