I got a number from a mom today; well, not hers, but her daughter’s. I hiked up to the Ecopark at Cerro El Volador (hill of the flyer), the big brother of the much more popular Cerro Nutibara. At the top, I stopped by a concession stand for some fresh juice. As I chatted with the three older women who were working there, I ended up breaking out my Spanish workbook to show them what I had been working on: putting together a scrambled Pablo Neruda poem. One of them, Dora, asked why I had come to the Cerro alone. I told her all of my friends work during the day and I like exploring the city on my own. I thought maybe she was referring to the safety on the hill to which I pointed out the obvious police presence in the park. “No no,” she replied, “you can’t really sit back and enjoy the views here without a companera, you know?” Ah, to which she suggested I give her daughter a call as she passed me her number, very slick.
This isn’t the first time an older Paisa has tried to set me up with their daughter. I think they are excited to talk to a gringo who can actually hold a conversation, but it’s also this fascination with the “other;” much like the gringos who are coming here and end up dating Paisas. As many jokes as I hear about Colombian women looking for green cards or goldigging, this hasn’t really been my experience. I’ve never taken a mom up on her offer (maybe this time I should), but the daughters have sounded quite independent; for example, Dora’s daughter is a lawyer (27) and works for the Mayor’s office. I don’t know, either my Spanish is becoming more charming or maybe the older Paisas just swoon for Neruda. Back to the Cerro:
The views are amazing, you can see the whole span of the valley, city sprawling through it with eagles and birds hanging high on the thermal winds. It reminded me a lot of Griffith Observatory in LA minus the observatory, mainly for its location. Almost directly in the center of Medellín, there are trails winding all around the hill, allowing you to descend to virtually any side of the city. There’s also a big jogging scene here, on the weekends crowds flock around the scenic loop, stopping at the hydration stations or “park style” gym equipment for sit-ups.