The '80s and '90s were a tough time for the Medellin tourist board, with the city's murder and kidnapping rates during that period being some of the highest in the world. Pablo Escobar's cocaine cartel, engaged in a bloody war with both its main rival in Cali and the Colombian government, had made their leader's name synonymous with the city. $10 assassins riding on the backs of motorbikes were so common at one stage that the government banned pillion passengers. Foreigners on the streets were likely to be assumed to be DEA.
A decade later, though, Medellin has made determined efforts to project a different face to the world, a face that was always there but which was obscured by the violence of the druglords, guerrillas and paramilitaries. The weather that gave Medellin its nickname of the "City of Eternal Spring" has stayed springlike throughout. The work ethic, ingenuity, and friendliness of its people (known as paisas) did not change during Escobar's reign. The murder rate is down to a tenth of what it was. All that remains is for the rest of the world to take note.
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From the UK, lived and worked in Japan and the US. Currently on a multi-year trip having a look at the rest of the world. Fir…
I convince myself that the fly infestation is Abri-specific, and head south again the next day, together with Tintin and Helen.
My bus company for the leg to Khartoum has the threatening name of Kabosh, but their service levels give a good first impression when a car is sent to transport me the 300m from the lokonda to their departure point.
I reach Karima from Dongola on an entirely paved road but then spend half an hour tramping around trying to find a lokonda.
While conducting my morning ablutions, I am surprised to see another clearly foreign face. This is a Canadian guy, Wally, recently arrived in Wadi Halfa and hoping to catch the ferry north.
Three days on Isla del Sol, in Lake Titicaca; natural beauty and Inca legends
Differences in daily life between Canada and Peru
Iquitos: the largest and most popular jungle destination in Peru
Madrid's Festival of San Isidro has morphed from a religious procession to a full scale arts festival