rOSE COLORED GLASSES

Rose colored glasses... My great friend from the SF Bay area,Lindsay, finally called my bluff and asked me what was the Catch in Medellin? It is not for everyone for retirement or for visiting... so here was my reply...
Lindsay is very happy for me and sees that I have really got it good. But she rightfully asked "What's the catch? Can it really be like  heaven on earth., the portrait you paint?"
Well, it has a very nasty reputation... 25 years ago there was Pablo Escobar.

 Is there still drug related crime here? Is there still drug related crime in California? 

Does it have the woes of a city of 3 million? Yes, but it has won international PRESTIGIOUS prizes for urban planning, livability, and care for its poor, for Progress from a time when the reputation was deserved, and that makes Medellin even more amazing.

Are tourists in danger here More than elsewhere? When tourists get in trouble in San Francisco it is usually late at night after partying. They show off their wealth, they are loud, they have very bad luck. Here, same thing plus add tourists of all ages who come here for drugs and sex and deal with the underworld/// oh, they do in San Francisco too? … and are also without street smarts and are very unlucky.
Is there poverty? Yes, most of it is suffered by displaced persons coming to the city to escape the US-caused drug war. Peace with Farc... which operated in the border jungles,not in the cities... we hope will stem the flow. Poor neighborhoods are the special attention of the city for new parks, schools, libraries and unique transportation systems to integrate them into the life of the city. So, we have a reason for economic disadvantage, What is the reason for poverty in the US? 
Is there racism here? You find that the leaders are lighter skinned. In the US of course.... nevermind.
Does it rain daily? There is always a chance of a cooling, cleansing thunderstorm in the afternoon, maybe two times a week, more in December. We have virtually no drizzling days.
There is govt and private sector collusion and corruption. Does that exist anywhere else?
Sometimes the sounds of the birds are loud and beautiful. ... Do these people party, sometimes too late for a seventy year old's taste...? Sure, Sat nights sometimes especially after soccer wins.
Does everyone live in five star luxury? No, but you can with your Social Security etc pensions and not much more. Sell your Bay Area house, come to Medellin and live in the best home in the best neighborhood doing the best things for the rest of your life.
My apt costs me a MILLION COP per month! Four br, great neighborhood, three baths, beautiful street, balcony in the trees... That is $350 US Dollars. The internet went down yesterday... happens maybe twice a year. It is 40 minutes to the airport by cab. Cab costs $20 USD. Believe it or not some gringos complain about that high price ??? even though there is no tipping.
There are lines at the socialized medicine and pharmacies... but I can
avoid them by opting for great rates going private. At my farmacia, with lines, the total of my monthly medicine cost is about $1.87. NOT each med, total!
 There are lines at the bank since the folk don't trust online banking even though it is available. 
WE have no screens, no heating or cooling bills. I don't have a car. I don't miss or need any of that. We have a housekeeper twice a week for $25 per day. Downside? I feel bad that that is the going rate for a ten hour day.
Because I am an American international banking is hard to come by. But my pension is put in Citibank in the US and can be retrieved at any ATM here, incl Citibank. Foreign fees tick me off, but if I had a gold card there would be none.
Some people would be saddened by the no-tipping policy in restaurants and cabs, heheheheee....So I round up which means a few cents.
Sometimes the beauty of the city and the surrounding countryside leaves me breathless. Would that be a catch for you? We lack the incomparable vistas in San Francisco, but so does the rest of the world, and ours are pretty darn good..
Restaurants are the best in the world… in San Francisco. Here there are many really wonderful dining experiences to be had however according to Anthony Bourdain and Martha Stewart and me. All dining is casual, mostly al fresco… Dinner with wine for two will be one third of the cost of the equivalent in the Bay Area. Concerts, opera.. one fourth of the cost or less. We do not have the same intensity of world famous names come through but when they do, which is often enough.. Well, Lang Lang… best seat $50. Juilliard String Quartet, $30… Madonna, Bocelli, Academy of St Martin in the Fields… same. Home grown talent is superb… I love the local choruses, and I am a professional choral singer.
We are a mile high in an Andean valley which means you have to take care with UV exposure. So hats and parasols are necessary.
What else... oh yeah... I miss you so it's not perfect, but for $500 or sometimes less I can fly to San Francisco from this, the closest nation in South America to the US..
Please let me know if you hav

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