Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America

I was walking down the street one day when I heard this incredible screeching sound. I looked up and sitting in a dead palm tree was a macaw. These birds are not only incredibly beautiful but they are incredibly loud as well. I should have taken some video of it screeching but frankly I was so surprised by it I forgot. Just one more wonderful thing to see in Medellin.

There's A Macaw Up There

Pretty Bird

The Mean Streets

OK, I promised I would tell you about the only time I felt uneasy in Medellin so here's the story. I was walking down the street in el centro one day when I came to the main drag. This is a large intersection 6-lanes wide that's usually jam packed with traffic. On this day, however, there was none. As I crossed the street I noticed a large crowd of people coming and I thought it was a parade. I figured it would be a good opportunity to get some pictures and soak in a little local culture. What I didn't know was that this wasn't a parade, it was a protest rally. It seems that Colombia wants to privatize their higher education system and the students aren't very happy about it. As I was standing there taking pictures and videos I noticed I was getting some angry looks but I didn't think anything of it at the time.

After filming for a bit I saw a group of youths coming down the street that looked a bit "rougher" than the previous protesters. These were young males and all of them were wearing bandanas to cover their faces. Right as I started to take a video of them someone grabbed my arm and pulled it down to my waist. I thought someone was trying to steal my camera so I whirled around to see who it was. To my surprise it was a cop and he had 2 more cops with him. The cops in Medellin are intimidating to say the least. They wear military uniforms and carry a LOT of weapons. They guys I was looking at were armed with 3 pistols, an M-16, and an Uzi.

They grabbed me, dragged me around the corner, and just when I thought I was going to get a Colombian necktie proceeded to tell me that they had seen people watching me and it wasn't safe for me to be there so I needed to leave. They said that a stranger taking pictures could easily become a target if things went wrong. I later learned that many of these protests have become quite violent and the police have had to use tear gas to disperse the crowd.

While the experience was quite scary at first it gave me a great respect for the police in Medellin. They definately seemed to be watching out for me and very well may have kept me from getting hurt. They even walked with me to the Metro station to make sure no one followed me.

Here's the video I was shooting when the cops grabbed me...

Parking Lot And Laundry

Imagine That, Another Church

Mucho Policia

Viva El Paro!


Happy Protesters

Unhappy Protesters

Cute Chicas Protesting

Copper & Brass Stand

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