No time for that

There are a lot of things this blog could be about. In the week since I’ve gotten here, I’ve learned about some interesting things.

escobar

Such as: the name Pablo Escobar is kind of forbidden here. Or perhaps not forbidden, but taboo. One of our walking tour guides only referred to him as Voldemort. Which makes total sense, given the damage he did to the city and to the country. However, soon after his death they sold tours of his houses. Even his own brothers led tours through the ruins of his homes. Earlier this year, a building in El Poblado (the ritziest area in the city) built by Escobar was destroyed for no other reason than that it was built by him.

Also there are at least 40 hippos that are descendants from his personal zoo that now live in the rivers; the largest enclave outside of Africa.

But there’s no time for that.

metroI could talk about the Metro, which as I already said is super modern. What I have learned is that was built by the citizens of Medellin just as they escaped the troubles and it serves as a civic symbol of rebirth. It’s the only metro in the country, and it won’t be paid off until 2080 something, but the stations are spotlessly clean and the cars always full and the people are very proud of it. Also the metro stops are always playing 80s English songs like Karma Chameleon or Call Me.

But there’s no time for that either.

20191114_152352.jpg

I could tell you that this is a dog friendly country, with big and small dogs everywhere.  Over half of all people have at least one pet. Some towns have public feeders for any dog to get some food. The street dogs are well fed and not threatening and people bring their dogs into malls and banks and everywhere. I even read that they’re establishing a bus line so people can travel with their pets.

But there’s no time for that either.

Metro_de_Medellín,_Colombia

The thing that has struck me about Medellin most of all is that it’s really a first-world city.  It has few hallmarks of the developing world–the streets are clean (garbage and recycling bins everywhere), drivers follow the traffic lights, motorcycle riders barely go on the sidewalk. The people are super friendly and (two would-be pickpockets notwithstanding) it’s felt safe everywhere I’ve gone.

But there’s not even time for that.

What I really want to talk about it is how weird it is to travel blog. You have to start traveling with an eye on “content.” You must take notes throughout the day, do research and conduct interviews, or change what you want to do in order to create something interesting.  But at the same time you don’t (or at least I don’t) want to do the standard, SEO based fluff pieces recommending 4 star hotels and restaurants full of unhappy rich people.

It feels inauthentic.

There is a low-key pressure to find interesting things, to document, and to observe. Not all blogging is like this, of course; some of the how-to is simply a list of facts. On the other hand, when you are traveling with “blog vision,” all the information you receive can be sorted and processed. But for thoughtful pieces, you need to collate information, add analysis, put together photos, do some kind of layout, and then disseminate via social media. When you’re on the road, it can take a lot of time. When I was traveling long term (2014-2015), I’d periodically have to take 1-2 days off just to blog.

I’d like to blog more, but ….

But there’s no time for that.

 

 

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