The Super Todo Mickey Mouse says it all: This little tienda by our apartment contains everything we love about Medellin. It has a name unlike any other; it's a beehive of activity all day long; cajeras are muy amable; STMM has everything we need, from leche, to nueces, to mantequilla, to carne, pescado, café, jugos, even boletas de lottery! And they deliver! STMM is just one reason nos encanta Medellin.
Free bicycles! We can 'borrow' a bike for a day, use it to go wherever we want, then deposit it at day's end anywhere there's an 'Encicla' rack. The free bicycles are just one feature of Medellin's effort to decrease transportation snarls, and address the sometimes poor air quality caused by more than 2 million commuters a day. Other efforts are world-class Metro & light rail service, mandatory LP gas usage by the 40,000 taxis in town, and limitations on daily driving based on license numbers, the Pico y Placa initiative.*
El gente es muy amable. This fellow stands guard outside the Hotel Inntu on Segundo Parque Laureles. But don't let his rigid appearance fool you, he's incredibly friendly, even warming up to gringos like us. Just like the rest of the folks in Medellin!
Los flores! Flowers seem to be everywhere here. And they're muy barato! Our typical arrangement of three or four birds of paradise, five or six lilies, a bunch of carnations and greens to go with them cost around $4.00. So the apartment always has fresh flowers.
History, culture, pride & progress. The picture below is of Pueblito Paisa, a rebuilt village atop Cerro Nutibara in the middle of Medellin. Pueblito Paisa is how Medellin and all of Colombia once looked, and how Colombians lived & worked years ago. An interesting part of this venue is that the buildings are constructed of actual homesteads that were to be submerged by the creation of a dam project east of Medellin. The buildings were dismantled and transported to Cerro Nutibara, and the Pueblito Paisa venue opened in 1978.
*Medellin is located in the lush Aburrá Valley. Because the city nestles in the middle of a bowl like valley, and because there are thousands of vehicles, poor air quality in Medellin is an increasing concern. Public officials have begun to address it. The Pico y Placa standard dictates when cars may be driven, based on license plates etc. Taxis, for example, may be used only between certain hours, again based on their assigned numbers. Drivers found in violation can be fined up to $100.00 USD, a hefty sum for people whose average monthly salary is around $300.00.
Look for more about Medellin, the City of Eternal Spring right here.