Medellin’s Feria de las Flores—The Festival of Flowers—has been fun. Excessively fun. The whole city is on sensory overload, with fireworks in the sky, gentle crowds in the streets, and an endless supply of alcohol to ensure good times continue long into the night.
Vendors sell entire bottles of the regionally famous firewater, Aguardiente Antioqueño, as easily as touts handout coupons on street corners. Beer is sold in big gulp cups. Paisa, the local brew, is chanted everywhere by entrepreneurs with coolers, much like frogs chirping in surround sound at dusk. Bars spill into the streets, with impromptu dance parties until 4:00am. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any flowers but I haven’t been participating fully in the all the cultural activities either….
I’ve been sick with stomach problems after a weekend of too many beers, too many politely accepted shots of the sugar cane liquor guaro, and too little sleep. My new cyclist body, strong from conquering mountains, is weak before the all powerful Medellin bar scene.
Much like an alcoholic’s moment of clarity, this recent binge has given my trip renewed purpose. The party lifestyle—especially when contrasted against the healthy virtues of bike travel—has reminded me why I decided to travel in the first place: to live unique experiences I’ll remember forever. As fun as excess can be, I doubt I’ll look back from my deathbed upon fleeting bar moments, remembering with a smile that classy woman who nearly vomited on my shoe.
I’m not renouncing alcohol—I love cold beer. I’m not putting myself on a pedestal for pulling personal meaning from drunkenness. I’m not advocating my way or the highway, as my mom so cutely says when trying to be stern. None of the above.
I just want to spend my time more wisely.
I’ve implemented some changes, effective immediately. For example, I attended my first ever yoga class this evening. Tonight I’m one step closer to wall-worthy photos after thumbing through my digital SLR camera manual.
Perhaps most importantly though, I rewrote my blog’s “Donate” section, with an emphasis on what I call “Charitable Donations”:
CHARITABLE DONATIONS will be given in their entirety to the organization or individual of your choice. They will not be used in any way to fund my travels.
Please feel free to click on the “Donate” section for more information. If you know friends, family, or strangers who would like to help the less privileged in South America, please pass along this information.