Eating Criolla in Plaza Major, Medellin Center

We had lunch yesterday in the Plaza Major…while the PA announcers repeatedly tested the mikes booming out over the squares, in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Feria de las Flores, a huge flower parade. The group was seated at a very long table…with TV crews and journalists from Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Dominican Republic and the UK. Our guides sat on our end and told us some more about Colombia.

“The rich subsidize electricity for the poor,” said Juan Jose Del Real Ibanez, a big man who speaks animatedly and easily in English. “Most of the city has internet connections…the government sells computers very cheaply and lets people pay for them in installments like their electricity bills. “Most poor people here pay about $5 for all their utilities. All of the public services are available as pay-as-you-go, people can put $10 down like they do for cellphones. So we don’t have the problems of stealing electricity you see in other countries.”

We ate Criolla–Colombian food. One dish was a large yellow colored soup served with an avocado and a banana which you slice up and put in with the meat and broth. “You can drink the tap water here,” Juan said proudly.

On the way from the airport, our guide waxed enthusiastically about her President, Uribe. “He works so hard, gets up at 4 in the morning and works till 11.” The President himself was in the stands when we watched the Silleteros, or flower bearers, trudge by with their burdens of racks of flowers. We saw the helicopter over head dumping flower petals, and on the way out, we saw the official Presidential bano, a portapotty cordoned off for Uribe’s use only.