We have finally reached the Mecca of all Colombian voyages: Cartagena is the most beautiful city on the continent. I'll post some pics soon to prove it, but first, a dose of reality from a portly Italian gentleman we met in the bus station on our way out of Medellin.
Jaime is a big guy, speaks English well enough to incorporate phrases like "butt-ass naked" into his vernacular, and has lived all over the world for business. This includes Mexico, Colombia, Japan, Germany, Texas, and everyone's favorite All-American City: TACOMA, WASHINGTON. I almost launched into my old high school debate standby of how underrated my hometown is, but he beat me to the punch with his own opinion.
"For all the dangerous places I have ever lived, and all the warnings people have given me about Central and South American cities, I have never ever lived in a scarier place than Tacoma. Oh my gott, is it terrible there."
*I want to point out here that my poor father's nerves are absolutely frayed this year-- with one daughter in South Korea (thisclose to Kim Jung-Il, that crazy a-hole) and the other traipsing around FARC-filled jungles without a man to protect her, the man has been stressed out and just wants the whole family back at home where they belong. Once he hears that the most dangerous part of our lives, statistically, was actually when we were at home as kids, his whole paradigm is going to shift majorly.
The Italian then went on to tell us that his house got broken into and his car got stolen on two separate occasions during his stint in TacTown. "I would rather live in Bogota or Mexico City than Tacoma any day," he added.
This makes me feel two things: a sudden affection for the place I was born, and a feeling that the world is way, way smaller and less scary than a lot of people think. Tacoma's like the younger sibling with a learning disability in the Puget Sound family... and darnit, don't you just love it all the more for that?