These are the things to know about visiting Medellin, Colombia. I’ve been rediscovering life in the city ever since I arrived just a few days ago. It has been an extremely rigorous year of travel in 2013. So far I have visited upwards of 15 countries across five continents and lived in six different countries.
The adventure continues now that I am days away from purchasing a penthouse in Medellin
I returned to my first home in Canada where this new nomadic lifestyle began and had a lot of time to reflect. Medellin, Colombia is one of my favorite cities in the world to visit and also to live.
It has been nearly 2 years since I lived in the city and coming back from all of those experiences shed a different light on the city. There are a lot of little things that have been forgotten and plenty of characteristics that still make me fall in love with the city over and over again.
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Diversity in Medellin, Colombia
The first thing to know about visiting Colombia is about the diversity. Coming from diverse and varied cities such as Toronto, Medellin is still a small town with big ideas.
One of the things to love about Toronto (in the summer of course I never ever visit Toronto in the winter) is the diversity in the city. It is by far one of the most diverse cities in the world. Anything from Ethiopian to Guyanese, Asian to Brazilian, Italian to Indian, can be found in the city with ease.
If we then compare that diversity to Medellin the differences are quite drastic.
There is no variety or diversity in Medellin, Colombia.
A lack of diversity in an ever increasingly connected world can be a negative characteristic. Some may ask why would you live in the city that does not have any diversity? The truth about Medellin is that the culture of the city is so rich that one doesn’t need any diversity.
The Colombian people, specifically paisas (people from the Medellin region), are some of the most warm and gracious people that you will ever meet traveling around the world. They are some of the most open people I have ever met.
If one considers the history of the violence and drug history the country has it becomes even more surprising.
Everyone is extremely formal saying thank you and please and are always willing to help no matter what you need help with.
This lack of diversity would normally be a bad thing but in Medellin’s case it happens to be one of the most unique parts of cities culture.
As I continue to get settled in the city more and more little things become apparent. One of the most annoying things I remember and have realized again is a funny event at the grocery store.
Whenever we visit a grocery store we take all our bags in the car to the car right? While the world is going green I’m sure everyone still remembers what a grocery bag looks like. Now imagine five or 20 of those bags.
They have a funny habit of tying the grocery store bags so you can’t hold more than a few at a time. I don’t know if this is for security, for theft or for items falling out but I have never experienced this anywhere else in the world. It becomes cumbersome because you can’t carry more than one bag at a time.
We always end up forgetting to tell the cashier not to tie the bags. Then we have a handful of Colombians giving us weird looks when we untie all of the bags in order to carry them out of the store.
Credit Card Payments
The Colombian economy continues to grow and become more sophisticated. Colombians have been introduced to the fascinating world of credit. I was just having a conversation with a taxi driver how just 15 years ago they would not let him buy a motorcycle on credit because the bank stated he couldn’t make the payments.
This was a man that had a thriving taxi business and owned two homes. Now he states “they let anyone walk out with anything on credit”.
Credit cards are rather new in Colombia and most of the country still doesn’t use them. I always try to use my credit card because of the miles I accrue. I spend a significant amount of money traveling around the world and also via The Day Trading Academy.
I arrived in Colombia just five days ago and ended up at a Burger King to eat dinner. Any major business in a large metropolitan area such as Medellin are going to accept credit cards. I hand the cashier the credit card and she asks me how many payments would you like to make?
This is a hamburger that costs roughly 5 or six dollars.
I had completely forgotten that anything purchased with a credit card can be split up into payments. Intrigued, I asked her how many payments? She said you can choose between 1 to 10 payments.
I immediately started laughing at the prospect of paying for a six dollar hamburger over 10 payments. How exactly does that make sense? The Colombian people still only make an average of roughly $500 a month.
One of the reasons I am here in Colombia is to open a day trading center. This will provide the locals an exclusive opportunity to make upwards of $1000 a day with my day trading strategy. I recently spoke to a college student and he stated that a person with a university degree only makes roughly $1000 a month.
The credit system is built around this low income system and this is how Colombians afford many things.
Taxi Door Slamming
This important thing to know about visiting Medellin, Colombia is probably the most important. In the United States and many other Western nations closing the car door doesn’t even enter our consciousness. It’s a habit, we get out we slam the door shut and we go about our business.
On more than one occasion the taxi drivers have gotten very upset for slamming the door. It’s just one of those things about the city and its people that just doesn’t make sense. It certainly has to do with taking care of their taxis but I have the end of the day closing the car door isn’t going to damage it? Right?
Many taxi drivers have gotten furious so I often try to remember to close the door lightly to ensure I do not make them angry.
I did start a new workout regimen maybe I’ve just gotten stronger than before? (Kidding)
Lack of Veggies
Since I have started my new intermittent fasting workout regimen I am constantly looking for healthy food to eat. I refer healthy to be meats that are grilled and not fried, complex carbs such as potatoes or brown rice, and lots and lots of veggies.
In most countries I have visited around the world I am able to find vegetables at many restaurants.
I’m astounded to find that most of the restaurants I visit don’t have vegetables. Their version of vegetables is cabbage with stripped pieces of carrots and one tomato. This is topped off by salad dressing which isn’t that healthy to begin with.
I have decided to get out from the tourist trail and live in a more local neighborhood. This could definitely be at as they don’t cater to tourists.
The penthouse that I am purchasing is also located in a more “Colombian neighborhood” where tourists are not often seen. I have considered this but for the most part Colombian cuisine doesn’t involve a lot of vegetables.
It really is those little things that you forget about the country that make it unique and special. I now know that if I’m ever in a pinch I can purchase a six dollar hamburger for $0.50 cents a month.
Those kind of things are important to know.
If you’re planning on visiting Colombia keep these things in mind. Medellin, Colombia, is one of my favorite places in the world and I look forward to making my first home base here. If everything goes through with this penthouse I will be offering rooms for rent for those of you that would like to visit.
Look out for the Wandering Trader’s penthouse with rooms for rent in Medellin!