Only one place to start this blog entry.
I got stopped & searched on the side of the road by 2 Policìa(men?). 2 Federalies, the One-Time…2 coppers basically. Not even 24 hours after arriving here in Cartel City and I’m in trouble with the law. Next time a girl says she likes badboys, I’m gunna ask if she means someone who stands outside the Spar in a tracksuit every day, or a real one like me who goes to South America by himself and takes on the powers-that-be.
It’s still gunna be the first one ain’t it?
Anyway, the story…I was minding my own business, or so I thought, using the free wifi & bench outside of a nice looking building out on the main street, I ended up watching the boxing there so I must’ve been there for over an hour easily. Turns out that building was a bank. Now I don’t know if this is the reason why they stopped me, but i’m assuming it is, because not even 2 minutes after me leaving, a police bike holding 2 Policìa Officeròs (fuck knows) drove past me, doubled back & then pulled me over. They start talking to me in Spanish for some reason, I had my legs out, if they had any aspirations of becoming a detective they should’ve been able to tell my skin is not from this side of the equator, they’d have been better off trying Norwegian first, anyway, I pull out the ‘No hablas espanyol‘ line once again & they say ‘ohhh Americanoo??’
Am I fuck, señor.
Everyone hates the Americans, no matter where you are in the world, followed closely by the English, so I threw a little razzle dazzle in & said ‘Gales’. That’s Spanish for Wales. I know, I know, I’m impressively cultured, don’t worry about it. I’m not sure he even understood, but I chuck one more ‘Gareth Bale?’ in to really drive it home that I’m Welsh. They didn’t care.
They realise i’m a Gringo & tell me to spread my arms (and luckily only my arms 👀🤞…fuck you yes it was just my arms) so they can search me. Their demeanour is friendly enough so initially I’m calm, but as they open my bag I start to think ‘oh shit, what if they’re planting something on me for a bribe!?’ and a slight panic starts to set in. They take my Passport & ask me why i’m in Colombia…What kinda question is that? I’m on fucking ‘oliday John, I’m hardly here to fill the hole Escobar left behind am I? Anyway, like I said, they’re friendly & not at all hostile, but in the sense that I felt like they were fucking with me, and they knew the power lied entirely in what they wanted to do here. I needed to get on good terms with them & make them realise I was alright, so we all swapped names, Alexandro & Fabian were theirs, Josef was mine. They made me empty my pockets & my bag, open my headphone case, every department in my wallet, everything. They were looking for something, but little do they know, even at home, I’m a nugget, I don’t carry anything illegal, let alone in my wallet.
They gave me my stuff back & it did cross my mind that they might’ve stolen some of my cash, but I wasn’t checking infront of them incase it annoyed them & they came back…but listen, they didn’t steal anything, and they didn’t plant anything. It was a friendly interaction overall but it made me realise a level of paranoia I didn’t initially have…forget the locals, what if it’s the Police that are on the scam? Who you gunna call then? I’m at the complete mercy of Policeman not deciding to fuck with me…I felt like a black man in America.
I’m thinking that maybe someone from the bank said there’s been a ghost sat outside our place for an hour & half now, can you shift him or see what he’s planning at least…and they came to scope me out, but i’d just so happened to have walked away just before they arrived, which added suspicion, probably. Either that or I look like the typical ‘I wanna do cocaine in Escobars house’ type of tourist & they’d hoped to find a bag of dandruff I’d recently bought of the street.
Imagine me in Colombian jailcell mind. The British Embassy would get me out in 6 weeks time looking like an albino baboon. Forget that though, it all worked out in the end, they were nice enough, didn’t bribe me & I got to keep the rolled up $20 that I had in my arsehole the whole time. Onward with the day.
Where I’m staying in Medellin is really modern & upmarket you know, I went for a walk on Sunday morning & the streets were PACKED full of locals walking their dogs, jogging, exercising, with street food & bands everywhere, it was like a carnival, except it was just a regular Sunday morning in Medellin. It was how I imagine LA looks, beautiful people in gym gear walking their shitty little dogs on a warm sunny day. This place has really moved on from the drug culture. I’d even go as far as saying that they’re ahead of the UK in a lot of ways, they have a huge ‘Greener City’ drive which includes money for bottles & recyclables, which means you see the homeless digging in bins everywhere you go, but still, they do that at home for free.
Another positive, in my research about Medellin, apparently it’s gay friendly, which has nothing to do with me except that I can now put my chapstick on freely in public. It’s liberating.
What a country mind, not even been a week yet.
Keep you updated on how far along the trip the dirty $20 note makes it ✌️