Before I went to Colombia, everyone asked me the same ignorant questions about drug smuggling and Pablo Escobar. Well there is a lot more to the country than a few bad apples combined with smuggling and poverty. The disparity in the country between the rich and poor is in your face, but tourism has proved to be a good thing for communities. I think it is time that the Colombian Sol is known to the world. This is why I decided on the day I returned to the U.S., that I would lead the first group of travelers to the country with Generation Travels.
I think the people are great, the food is great, and the culture is irreplaceable. As one man, a former smuggler told me, he went to jail in the U.S. and found that tourism money had found his village while he was gone! Now that he had spent 5 years in a Miami prison, guess who could speak English the best in the village to those tourists? The U.S. justice system at work! Colombia is one of those countries that allows extradition of their citizens to the U.S. for prison terms. In other words, if the U.S. wants someone from Colombia in prison, they will probably get there one way or another.
Colombians don’t even have the drug problems other wealthier countries have, they just found a cash crop with their poverty. I don’t think they are even the number one producer anymore. Perhaps, corruption is built into the culture of Latin America and this accounts for certain problems. Regardless, there are tons of cool things in Colombia that people don’t know about. I discovered one of these cool things in the music in the coastal city of Cartagena: Champeta music. Don’t have me sell you Cartagena though, Justin Bieber reportedly visited the city and bought a couple million dollar home there because he liked it so much.
I did buy a copy of this painting, which will be hanging in Generation Travels office, as soon as I get one. La Muerte of Pablo Escobar, or The Death of Pablo Escobar, is a recreation of his death on a rooftop in Medellin by famous Colombian painter Fernando Botero.
La Muerte de Pablo Escobar, Fernando Botero 1999
I was asked if I could have brought a happier painting back, I suppose this is a happy painting. I was trying to figure out if the below painting in my brother’s apartment is an original Botero, I’d imagine it could be.
On that note, I’ll invite you to come with in February–the target date for another trip along the coast of Colombia. I’ve been told I’m trying to sell the cart before the horse with this trip, but I’ll give it a go. I’ll personally take you to the club in Cartagena to meet the Bazurto All Stars and along the coast of Colombia. Believe it or not, I’ve got my first customer, I need 8 more people or so. I’ll leave you with this song, which gives a nice South American vibe of Brazil. I met this band before they were famous; the show was half empty…
Day 1-Meet in Cartagena
Day 2- Explore Cartegena, Centro City, Playa Linda, Bike Ride
Day 3-Travel to Santa Marta
Day 4-Tyrona Park
Day 6-Travel to Cartagena
Day 7-Check out, Stay a few more days in Cartagena if you wish
If you’re interested in going, here is more information.