I found a couple of Streptocarpus plants at a street fair several months ago. I wanted to see how they do here in Medellin. Turns out they do very well. I got a bunch of seeds from one last week and planted them. They are starting to germinate now. It looks like the germination rate will be near +90%. Great plant for this area. A friend told me they also do well at elevations similar to those at the finca (2400 meters.)


The seedlings were up and green as of Monday 28/09.


Plans for a New Trolley System

Medellin is planning to implement four trolley lines for medium volume transportation. This will supplement the existing high volume Metro System.

Ninety years ago Medellin had trolley lines which served the city well. The demands of modern city life have resulted in planning the rebirth of this heritage transportation system.

At the Metropolitan

Medellin’s Metropolitan Theater is presenting an adaptation of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” for children on Sunday, September 27. This is part of their family series and tickets are going for the equivalent of +/- $US 5.00, 7.50 and 10.00. Although shortened, this version is fully staged and directed by Guerassim Voronkov.

Santa Elena: People are Unhappy

Riding into to the finca in the collectivo Saturday morning we got an earful about peoples dissatisfaction with how the Mayors office in Medellin is handling a regional development project and legalization of peoples proprieties. One of the local towns, Mazo, held a demonstration Saturday afternoon to protest the way things are being handled. The two guys with us in the cab were livid.

The folks in Mazo are pretty well organized and I think they are the fuse to the powder keg. They are concerned about their homes being condemned and torn down. The context is a regional tourism development project and a city administration trying to implement planning procedures. Colombia and Medellin need good planning laws and regulations, no doubt about it. Most people in our area however bought their homes when these did not exist or were not enforced. Hence there are lots of properties without proper documentation. This problem goes back for generations and a heavy handed approach will cause a lot of hate and dissention.

The City needs to reassess their approach now before irreparable harm is done.

Update: 24 September 2009

It turns out that the main concern people have is widening the road through the area. More than 100 houses will have to be condemned and destroyed for the road. Improved transportation is critical to the development project so it is likely that the condemnations will occur.

Rainy Season


Here we are in mid-September and it looks like the rainy season is getting started. We had nice gentle rains the last two nights and right now we are having a good soaker. I’m glad to see it arrive! We will have to get some leaks in the roof fixed but the rains make Colombia a very green country.


The rains continued on and off throughout the day. Nice soaking rains that we have not seen since May. Talking with a cabbie on the way home we shared our appreciation for the liquid gold. He is from a country background. He understands that the rain is our wealth. We don’t eat without it.

In the mid-afternoon I went for a short walk. Everything was damp and smelled very fresh. It was cool and humid. Easy on the nose and skin. All the plants were the fresh green they attain only just after a good rain. Peace and abundance. Gentle fertility. May you be filled with loving kindness, may you be well.

Street Vendors Learning English

The following is a note from RCN News via Twitter:

ColombiaNews Street vendors from Medellin are receiving English lessons so they can give a better attention to their costumers….

The Metro: Nice Touch

Over the past few days I have noticed that they are announcing which cars are least congested. Good move. It sure increases ones chances of getting a seat during the lead up to peak travel hours. During the peak periods at least you don’t feel like a sardine 😉

The Metro Culture

The Metro light rail system is seen by the city as more than just an effective means of transportation. It also is viewed as a means of cultural transformation. It is  set up as a model for people to emulate in the rest of their civic life. Sometimes people here have not been careful about littering, have considered the commons as their personal domain or have not taken law and rules seriously. Some of these characteristics are still prevalent in day-to-day city life but inside the Metro system people hold themselves to a higher standard. Even when the trains are full at peak travel times and a couple more need to get on, an effort is made to accommodate them politely. There is a lot of smiling and commiseration but rudeness or selfishness is rare. The elderly disabled or pregnant are generally offered seats. The stations are spotless and the service is cordial.

The following is my translation of the systems explanation of “The Metro Culture.” It reflects the social orientation which permeates much of Colombia’s efforts to move the country forward.


The Metro Culture is understood as the compendium of the social and educational management model the Metro has built, consolidated and delivered to the city. It is deemed worthy to be adopted in its entirety or in parts by other cities and institutions which propose the development of a new civic culture including harmonious coexistence, good behavior, solidarity, respect for the basics norms of use of public goods, self respect and respect for others.  In 1994 the process of user education was officially incorporated into the mission of generating a new culture in the inhabitants of the Aburrá Valley (Translators note: the valley where Medellin is located), using the Metro system as a pretext for the community to adopt rules of behavior and coexistence.

At the same time, a Community Relations process was stipulated in order to consolidate positive relations with station neighbors and generate a sense of belonging and an attitude of care and preservation of the Metro as a natural response to the benefits obtained by the community from Metro service, improvements, urban works and improvements in the quality of life.

User education is a work based on believing in people’s goodness, in their capacity to follow rules and assume responsibilities and participate actively in the delivery of a service that is successful to the extent to which the user himself participates actively.

The Metro

I added a page on Medellin’s Metro light rail system under Day-to-Day Life (subpage Transportation). This can be accessed along the left hand margin of this page. Links on the Metro page (in orange) take you pictures of the system and more detailed information.

Rainy Season

Well we are on the cusp between the mid-year dry and fall rainy seasons. The fall rains generally increase slowly after mid-September and are in full swing in October and November. By mid-December they have pretty much stopped and the early dry season begins. The term “dry season” is relative as we do get some rain during these periods.

IDEAM, the national weather bureau is expecting slightly lower than average rains over much of the country due to the developing El Niño conditions. This would be welcome around here as last years La Niña brought excessive rain with lots of flooding.

Right now we have a good thunder bumper cranking up. These are very common between about 1500 and 1700.

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