Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Friendly Paisa

A constant conversation among guests at the hostel is how nice Colombians and especially people in Medellín are. Travelers observe a distinct difference between Colombia and many of the other countries they’ve traveled through either on their way down or up. Aside from the fact that Colombians have generally not followed the common trend of taking advantage of foreigners, they also go out of their way to help you and ensure that you are having the best possible experience in their city. In Medellín I think that citizens are especially cognizant of their dark history and are eager to ensure that visitors are exposed to the new and improved version. This city has something to prove as it enters the global consciousness as a travel destination rather than the playground of Pablo Escobar.

My favourite friendly Paisa story is a time when Miles and I were searching the center without success for a table lamp. We asked in one store that didn’t have what we were looking for. Rather than sending us on our way, the woman came out from behind the counter and escorted us two blocks to another light shop that she thought might be able to help. Talk about going above and beyond! We hear similar stories from guests all the time and judging by this, I’d say locals are doing an excellent job of promoting their new image.

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