Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fashion and Models: ColombiaTex in Medellin

Fashion and Models: ColombiaTex is in Medellin

Did you know that Medellin is the fashion capital of Colombia? Did you know that Medellin is also the model capital of Colombia? I would even go as far as stating that Medellin is the BEAUTY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

There is no city in the world where the number of models per capita is higher than in Medellin. There are beauty contests taking place all over the city all year long. Girls start participating in these beauty contests at the tender age of 14 or 15. Their biggest dream is to become one of the big models like Natalia Paris, who happens to be the most famous model in Colombia. The ones who are serious about realizing their dream typically work at the big fashion fairs like Colombia Moda or ColombiaTex which take place in Medellin once per year.

Even if you're not in the fashion industry, check out the beautiful girls at ColombiaTex. Make sure to bring your camera. The models love having their picture taken. You might even dare to ask them for their telephone numbers.... everything is possible in Medellin! You might end up flying home having a real model as a girlfriend.

Enjoy ColombiaTex and enjoy Medellin!

Monday, January 25, 2010

South American Olympics in Medellin

The South American Olympics will take place in Medellin in March 2010, which is yet another demonstration that Medellin is back in the circle of safe, respected and reputable cities of the world.

The most important sports event on the American continent, the 9th South American Olympic Games will take place in Medellin from the 19th to the 30th of March 2010. 15 Countries from Aruba to Venezuela are going to celebrate this big sports event in our city.

The history of this event reaches back to 1978, when the South American Olympics took place for the first time in La Paz, Bolivia.

During the games, 5,040 representatives are expected to be hosted in Medellin. 72 Billion Colombian Pesos (about 36 Million US Dollars) were invested to improve the sites where the sports events will take place. Surrounding cities like Envigado, Copacabana (Copacabana is not only a beautiful beach in Rio de Janeiro, but also a city in the north of Medellin) and Itagüí also remodeled their sports arenas to be able to accommodate this fascinating event.

Just like the Assembly of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which took place in Medellin in March 2009, having a sports event of this scale in the city is yet another demonstration that after a wild past, Medellin has successfully established itself as a safe, trusted and reputable city.

Please watch the promotional video for the Olympics, which also shows some of the beautiful sites of Medellin.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is the Murder Rate Down in Medellin? Is Medellin Safe or Unsafe?

Is the Murder Rate in Medellin Down....or Up? Is Medellin safe....or unsafe?

Well, the answer to this important question seems to depend on who you listen to. If you listen to Gabriel Silva, the Colombian defense minister, the murder rate in Medellin is on a 30 years low. According to Silva, there are now 22 homicides per week in Medellin, which would be a significant improvement.

However, there are some doubts that Silva has his numbers right. The local ombudsman Jairo Heran claims that the homicide rate doubled to 2,200 in Medellin in 2009 from 2008.

Anecdotal evidence seems to confirm the ombudsman's view point: friends of mine from poor neighborhoods like Manrique tell me that these neighborhoods are still "hot", which means that there are shootings which at times keep taxis from going into these neighborhoods at night.

This new violence has been ongoing for about a year now and it a direct consequence of some of the biggest mafia- and drug-bosses being arrested. Now a follower's and territorial was has begun between rivaling drug gangs. It's the irony of the situation that huge successes against violence in Medellin now generated more violence.

So is Medellin safer or unsafer for the foreign traveler? In my personal opinion and from my observations having lived here for almost 2 years Medellin in 2010 seems just as safe as in 2008. The new violence is stricly contained to the poorest of the poorest neighborhoods, essentially gangsters killing other gangsters. It does not affect areas like Poblado, Laureles and other, where the majority of the tourists and ex pats live and party.

Are you considering visiting Medellin? Let the negative press and more importently the public opinion about Medellin outside of Colombia not hold up your plans. Medellin is gorgeous, the people are wonderful and the city is safe, as long as you're not doing anything particularly stupid.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No, this is NOT Manhattan!

A client of mine visited me in Medellin the other day and, looking down from my balcony, he was all but astonished.

He told me: "I had no idea that they had things like, well, houses with more than 2 stories, good roads, all that stuff we call CIVILIZATION here in Colombia! Look at this! This resembles Manhattan more than anything!".

Well, it's not Manhattan. It's Medellin. More precicely, it's El Poblado, the most upscale part of Medellin. Specifically, it's the view from my apartment.

These photos show what my client saw when he made these comments. Astonished too? Is this how you had imagined COLOMBIA?