Is It Really Eternal Spring in Medellin?

July 29, 2015       The Medellin Climate      

I kept the door to the balcony open all the time at my apartment in El Poblado. The temperature was always just about perfect. It would cool off at night for sleeping and then warm up during the day. There were only one or two nights when I was too warm. So, my assessment is that it’s true what they say about the climate being that of “eternal spring.”

The weather was warmer than I expected it to be. Some people told me that it was unusually warm for Medellin.

I asked my taxi driver about the rainy season. He said it was in April and May, so I was there for part of it. I didn’t find it to be bad at all. Sometimes it rained overnight. Sometimes it rained for a short while in the afternoon. One morning, it rained and was very cool, but as soon as the rain stopped, the sun came out and it warmed up.

You may have heard that there are no bugs in Medellin. That’s not true. I had flies come into my apartment, but that only happened occasionally and I never saw a mosquito in Medellin.

To me, it seemed like Cuenca, Ecuador was quite a bit cooler than Medellin.

A Rudimentary Comparison of Medellin and Cuenca

My initial thoughts and observations about the differences between Cuenca, Ecuador and Medellin, Colombia are as follows:

  • Medellin has dancing; Cuenca does not
  • Medellin is a much larger city than Cuenca
  • Medellin is more sophisticated than Cuenca
  • I’ve only seen indigenous people in Medellin a couple time; there are lots of them in Cuenca
  • Medellin has a metro and buses; Cuenca only had buses when I was there in early 2014
  • There were several very nice malls in the El Poblado area of Medellin; I don’t remember seeing any malls in Cuenca that I could walk to

Survival of the Fittest

In Medellin, as in other Latin American cities I’ve been to, you have to watch where you’re walking. There are broken sidewalks as well as covers missing on utility access holes. I also, personally, fell down on a sidewalk in front of a house. The sidewalk had tiles in the concrete, which were very slippery when they were wet and it had been raining on the day I fell.

It’s up to pedestrians to watch out for cars. The cars and motorcycles always have the right-of-way. You should only walk in front of a car if the driver sees you and waves you across or if you have a death-wish.

It struck me that the drivers in Medellin think of pedestrians like my uncle (a farmer) used to think of his turkeys. He would drive his pickup truck through the field of turkeys and expect them to get out of the way. He wasn’t being cruel or anything. He just knew that they would scatter when he drove through them. It’s what all living creatures do, they do what they need to do to stay alive.

When a driver pulls up to an intersection and sees a pedestrian standing there about to cross the street, he knows he doesn’t have to worry about them in his decision about when it is safe to cross the intersection. The pedestrian is not a factor in his decision. He/she will stay out of the way. The driver’s only concern is about other vehicles on the road he needs to get across.

This and That

I was told that it was not a good idea to wave down taxi’s along the road. It’s best to call one that you know. People also recommended the smartphone apps “Uber” and “Easy Taxi.” I did not try either of them. I had a couple of drivers and would text them or use WhatsApp to arrange to be picked up.

I got my teeth cleaned while I was in Medellin. It cost 90,000 COP. At the exchange rate at the time, that was only about $36 USD. The dentist office was more modern than where I used to go in North Carolina.

In order to reduce the number of cars on the road in Medellin, there are days when certain cars must stay off the road based on the last digit of their license plate. My taxi driver showed me schedule and showed me how it works. Taxi’s are on a different schedule than personal cars and have fewer days to stay off the road since their livelihood depends on driving.

I was told that Medellin is very clean. I saw some instances, though, where it was not. One day when I was riding in a taxi, we were following some sort of party bus. The people on the bus were throwing confetti the size of business cards out the window as the bus drove down the road. Also, after holidays, there was always a lot of garbage on the sidewalks and streets around Parque Lleras. It did get cleaned up pretty quickly, though.

I was in Medellin for 5 weekends. 3 of those weekends were holiday weekends. They celebrate a lot of religious holidays.

I discovered that they put fluoride in their table salt in Colombia. I had to buy sea salt (sal marina) to get salt without fluoride.

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