This first part is about my experience in Medellin. Click here to skip straight to the food.
Actually when I am bored, I think about food, I plan food, I shop for food, and I eat. I have been in Medellin for nearly a month now, and I feel that I have to make one thing clear. Medellin is not a boring place if you have the money to pay for activities. There are tons of things to do in Medellin. Street food tours, nature hikes, coffee tours, art classes, cooking classes, salsa dance lessons, graffiti tours, tours of nearby towns, ATV tours, soccer, and even paragliding, are a huge number of the things you can do here for under $100 per person.
I don’t have any extra money to spend in Colombia so these things are out of my reach. The way I have my budgeting set up, is that in South America and Mexico, I live on a very tight budget, so I can live a little higher on the hog while in the EU. I have had to figure out ways to stay busy, here in Medellin, which are different than what I am accustomed to. In the other towns I have lived over the past year, I have been able to find things that were free or only cost a dollar or two to do. Two of my favorite things to do is walk the city and take photos. Ecuador was nice since the museums were free. In Warsaw I went to museums on the free days.
Walking in Medellin is something I try to limit as much as possible. Crossing streets is very challenging. If I could afford it, I would be catching cabs around town to explore. I have been spending most of my time in my AirBnB, which is nice enough that it is no hardship. I do still have some investments in the US that demand a lot of my attention. So I often find myself on the computer for most of the day. When I am not doing working, I have been writing on my novel, occasionally working on blogs, and studying Spanish.
My free time is spent reading books on my Kindle, playing games on my iPad, and staying in touch with my friends around the world via social media. For exercise I walk back an forth in my apartment while listening to podcasts.
When I do go out to do my shopping, I enjoy the the best thing about Medellin; the people. I lived in Hawaii for 13 years, but I have to say the friendliness of the people of Medellin makes the Hawaiians look down right crabby. If you have experienced how friendly Hawaiians are, you know how highly I regard the people of Medellin.
I am having trouble with the Spanish here. My ear doesn’t pick up the accent very well. That doesn’t bother the locals. They keep talking. I guess they figure if they say things enough times, using different words, they will eventually use enough words that I understand, what they are saying. For the most part it works. In the big supermarket, there are women in the aisles whose job seems to be to help shoppers. The other day I had three women helping pick out some eggs.
Est-ce que tu parles français?
No hablo francais!
Habla usted Inglés?
Si, muy bien.
Yo hablo Espanol muy poco!
Once the four of us settled on a mutual langrage, I walked away with my, doce huevos extra grandes.
This sort of interaction happens everywhere. Everyone is so friendly and wants to talk to me. At the nearby grocery store, I was shopping for vegetables when the guy from the meat counter came over to give me another Spanish lesson. He gives me one every time I buy my chicken. When I was checking out the security guard came over and helped me bag my groceries. So when I go out I know to allow time to talk. The cashiers like to give me Spanish lessons while they are scanning my purchases.
Food here is cheap and very good. There are lots of food delivery services. I use Uber Eats and Domicilios. There is also a medium sized grocery store two blocks away, and a very large one about seven blocks away. I can buy most of what I need at the nearby store and only go to the large one occasionally. I have decided that it will suit me best if I get my food from a mix of stores and delivery.
One day I spent a lot of time picking out a nice big order from a local restaurant, which would last me for two or three days. Some time after I ordered Uber contacted me and informed that the restaurant was closed. I don’t understand why it wasn’t grayed out with the other restaurants which were closed on that day. By the time that Uber got back to me on that, it was getting late. I was out of food and it was too late to go shopping. I made an order to Papa Johns. It wasn’t as bad as Papa Johns in the US, but it was just as over priced. The pizza above cost me as much as two or three days of food from a Colombian restaurant.
When I ordered out again, it wasn’t a national holiday, so I had my pick of restaurants. I was craving fried chicken. I ordered a whole fried chicken with sides. As you can see below, it smelled so good, that I took a bite out of a leg before taking the photo.
I finished eating that leg and then ate the order of French fries for my lunch. I took a bite of each item in the order to decide which things would keep best. The two cups of soup I left wrapped up. I knew they would keep well, and didn’t need to be tasted, because … well, soup!
I love French fries above most other foods. I was surprised to find that when eaten head to head, I liked the cassava fries below better. The cassava fries have the added benefit that they are good cold and the next day, and the next.
Above are the things, which I knew would keep well, as I was ordering my meal. A bowl of gizzard soup with an arepa and crema, a bowl of ajiaco soup with an arepa and lime, and a bowl of cold slaw with pineapple.
For desert I ordered ripe plantain with cheese and dulce de leche. It was very different than the plantains I have had before. I saved it for breakfast (three days running.)
When I pulled the chicken out of the box to put it into the fridge, I was surprised to find roasted potatoes and more arepas under the bird.
They tickled my southern heart by sending honey packets with the fried chicken.
In subsequent days I cooked a pot of rice to go with the two soups. This one is the ajiaco soup. I forgot to take a photo of the gizzard soup.
Though I have had great success getting food delivered for the most part, the two national holidays, showed me that I should have some shelf stable things on hand just in case. I was begriming to crave some vegetables. I went down to the big grocery store and bought the things the nearby store doesn’t have. Later I went to the nearby store and bought the haul above fore less that $18 USD. The chicken, one bag of potatoes, carrots, onions, and parsnips are on the stove cooling down to be put in the fridge right now. I have eaten a lot of chicken stew on my travels.