It is Valentine’s Day. This is not celebrated so much in Colombia, there being equivalent days in September. But it is coming – the teddies and the pink are multiplying year on year. No doubt in 5 years’ time the full force of the marketing machine will have been felt.
We decided to walk into one of the main squares, where there are many Botero statues. It took us about 40 minutes. About a third of that was along an elevated walkway that took us clear of several major road junctions. At either end of the walkway there were police and also in the middle too. Their duty was to provide a deterrent to any ne’erdowell. I guess it works because we haven’t felt threatened at all in this country.
We stopped en route to buy a drink from a street vendor – freshly sugar cane juice mixed with lemon, served chilled. Very refreshing and well worth 1000 COP (Colombian Pesoss) (20p) per glass.
It was pretty warm – about 28C – so when Gönül was approached by a vendor selling Panama style sunhats she stopped to listen to his patter, whilst repeatedly telling him that she had just a little Spanish. She really liked one hat and asked how much, to be told 20,000 COP. Beckoning me over, as she didn’t have the right change, she asked what I thought. She looked good in it but I remembered we’d been advised to try and end up at about 25% below asking price, so I suggested she offered 10,000. After a little to-ing and fro-ing we settled on 12,000 (£2.50) and all parties shook hands happy with their exchange.
After visiting the Museum of Antioquia (the region that Medellin lies in) we ordered food in a café overlooking the square. Cafes are on one side and opposite is the second oldest catholic church in the city. Right in front of the church are “providers of love” – ladies who will, for a fee, provide some short term ‘loving’ for gentlemen desiring such. Should anybody wish to avail themselves of this service, once here look for ladies spending a long time standing outside phone booths, wearing short skirts – despite often being on the voluminous side posterior wise. The scenario works like this:
- Gentleman and lady negotiate
- Both retire to a nearby hotel for a short period of time
- Both return to front of church
- Gentleman enters church, prays, gains absolution for any sins, and leaves with clear conscience.
In front of the café Michael Jackson was giving a street dance performance, backed by a very large speaker capable of serious bass. On the left side as we looked at it were a small bunch of Hare Krishna disciples, who despite their best efforts, were finding out that their tambourines and chants were no match whatsoever for Michael’s bass.
The scene was completed by five teenaged police resolving a dispute between two locals, their numbers alone proving sufficient to ensure that no violence was need to reach a conclusion to the issue.
All in all a most entertaining way to spend February 14th. Happy Valentines everyone 🙂
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