Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Colombia?

It´s been a hectic couple weeks because I moved from Quito, Ecuador to Medellìn, Colombia. The reasons are numerous for my move, but the main reason is that I was unable to ride my bike in Quito. And since the biking portion of the race consists of about half the time, I needed a much better location that was conducive to training overall. Luckily, I am still able to work with Catapulta remotely while in Colombia.

Medellìn has a horrible reputation since it was the headquarters of the Pablo Escobar era; however, it has turned around dramatically as has the rest of Colombia. It´s safe to say that it´s a LOT safer than Quito (no pun intended). It also boasts a true Olympic sized pool, miles of road to ride a bike (including a 15 mile stretch of highway that is closed off every week specifically for bikers) and to put the cherry on top the weather is perfect year round at 70-80 degrees.

Another reason Colombia as a country was so easy to choose was its people. I have never visited a country where its people go so out of their way to make you feel so welcome. While visiting, I was approached at least once a day by a random stranger not because he or she wanted anything from me, but rather because they just wanted to make sure we were enjoying our time in their country. At the end of our conversations they would always give us their contact information and tell us not to hesitate to call them if we needed anything. We were even invited to a wedding party!

Also, I love how the society is based on trust. This was evident from the moment I stepped off the plane. During my cab ride, I told my driver that I´d be paying him in dollars and when I told him the exchange rate he said, "Are you sure, I thought it was lower?" When I told him I was sure he said ok I trust you and that was that. Also, I have run into the situation numerous times at a corner store where they didn´t have enough change and they told me to pay them later. In each of the situations, I always wondered how events would have unfolded if we were in New York. The longer I stay here, the more I´m convinced that everybody in the world can learn something from Colombians. The country´s tourism slogan is "The only risk is that you´ll want to stay." You won´t find me suing them anytime soon for false advertising.

PS - This link has absolutely no credibility because Colombia is not on it.

To find out why I am running the Ironman Triathlon or to donate to my cause, please click on this link

No comments: