A Spectacle, a spectacle: Iguazu falls!

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I have been a bad blogger lately, not updating sufficiently. Here is a brief recollection of the last week or so.

In Medellin, we went to an artificial lake that had some of the most outstanding views I have seen in my life. I know, ¨artificial doesn´t really inspire beatiful images in one´s head, but trust me on this one, beautiful. We took boat–which i drove–through the vast lake, which covers a bunch of tree-covered green islands. On the way, we saw the late great(in terms of drug dealing) pablo escobar´s estates sitting vacant on the shores of the lake. Apparently, back in the day, this area was the exclusive playground of Escobar. After the fresh breath taking lake tour, we slept and made our way to the airport in the morning to catch a long flight to Buenos Aires. Wait, sorry, I forgot to write about the paragliding.

Medellin is a center for paragliding. THe city itself sits within a vast andean mountain valley, and once outside the city, it is spectactular mountain scenery. All the better to see from the unadulterated air!

We drove about an hour outside of Medellin, watching the city far below with a starry eyed lust that one gets when drinking in the fantastic. I walked up to the top of a hill, which had a small landing and take off strip. A short walk in any direction on the top of this hill would lead you to a cliff overlooking the wide, deep valley. After waiting for 45 mins, a woman told me it was my turn. Two boys, about 10 or 12 years old, put my gear on. At that point, I wasn´t sure who my guide was(I didn´t rule out that it was one of the boys). Thankfully it wasn´t. My guide was a regular, run of the mill friendly colombian. There was a touch of hesitancy in the guide´s demeanor when I told him how much I weighed. They all had a laugh, and I asked if it would be a problem. Nope, ready for lift-off. They told me the following: Once the parachute is up, you have to keep on running. I did this, and then, voila, I was flying, gliding over the valley and seeing something everyone should see at least once in their lives: the ground far beneath with your sneakers the only object obscuring the view.

That´s it for Colombia.

Then Buenos Aires. I will write in more detail about this later, but I will now comment on South America in general. Buenos Aires is, aesthetically, a European city. Most of the people are White, Europeans. But, unlike in most of Western Europe, and even Eastern Europe to an extent, Buenos Aires still held the jarring, desperate poverty that I have seen throughout the Americas south of the American border. It is saddening. In fact, i have been shaken twice this trip. Once, in Medellin, an elderly man came up to me. I expected the usual plea for cash. Then he said ¨I´m sick, I have aids please give me money¨while he put his arm on me. I know aids is not spread through a mere touch on the arm, but it shook me nonetheless and I quickly walked away from the man, kicking myself for not giving the poor guy some pesos.

Then, in Buenos Aires, I was walking down the pedestrian street. On the side of the street there was a woman sitting against a wall going back and forth while she held her child. I walked on, waiting at the cross walk. I felt a tap and looked to my side. A girl of about 10 or 12 years old looked up at me, in tattered clothing and no shoes. The whites of her eyes were a clear yellow. It was scary, like she was some walking undead or something. This time, however, I reached into my pocket and gave her money. Sorry for the downer post, but it had to be done.

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