Slumming it in Medellin

My last day in Medellin started off well – my visa got sorted in five minutes and then I went for a wandering Spanish lesson in which my teacher Jorge and I walked around town and ate a huge lunch. Then he had to go teach another class and I had a task to attend to – find a postcard and send it. Four hours later I’m in the post office being told it will cost US$45… To send a postcard. Finally sorted (elsewhere and not for $45), I jumped on the bus that had my suburb name on the front and promptly fell asleep. Woke up in the slums of Medellin. The driver then tells me there are hundreds of buses to my suburb and I’m definitely not on the right one. Very kindly he stops another bus going in the opposite direction and tells the driver where I’m going. I jump on and discover it’s just me, a guy in a hoodie and some weird guy behind the screen on the passenger seat doing some weird high-pitched manic laugh the whole time. Absolutely terrifying. Oh, add to this the cracking headache I have that’s rendered me entirely unable to think straight. The driver then stops, tells me the number of yet another bus I need to get, and chucks me out onto the now dark and rainy streets. He didn’t charge me though, which was nice.

So I’m on a busy street, no idea where and with no phone credit. I decide I’ve had enough of buses and flag down a cab. The first one points and says something that I took to mean flag one on the other side of the road. So I cross over and start flagging. One by one the cab drivers tell me no, they can’t take me there. Almost in tears I see a bus with the number I need. Run for it. Miss it. Then another bus turnss up, I squeezed myself in among the 3,275 people also on the bus and told the driver to tell me where to get off.

Finally get home to find Juan, the homestay coordinator, waiting for me. My head was in so much pain I almost cried at the thought of having to make conversation, especially in Spanish. I popped a pill, gave the family their gifts while I had the chance and have never been so relieved to go to bed.