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More Downtown Medellin

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Buying drugs over the counterI was sick one week and decided to go to the pharmacy to buy some drugs. I had been on a few big nights out, and was also suffering from pretty bad acid re-flux as a result. I had some tablets left from my Doctor, but I thought would see if things were different in Latin America and I could get some without prescription.

I headed downtown and after plucking up the courage (given my fairly poor Spanish) I approached an old guy in a tiny little Pharmacia. I walked out with some Imodium, re-hydration tablets, and four boxes of prescription drugs for my stomach.

The old guy was very helpful, and really patient with me and, as I departed, he shouted “algo mas (anything else), Valium, Viagra……” and something else that I didn’t recognize the name of. It appears that anything goes here and, as long as you have the money, you can buy almost whatever you liked.


Bathroom scales for sale in medellinOne afternoon, I was walking across Balotelli Square, and I noticed something that I shall never forget. I saw three vendors, completely independent of each other, all selling the same, strange item. The first one caught my eye because of what he was selling, but to see a second one selling the same item no more than 50 yards away, followed by a third another 50 years away will stay with me for a long time. Each guy was standing in this tourist packed square with nothing but a set of used bathroom scales between their feet, each crying out to entice buyers. As I walked off in amusement, it dawned on me the importance of selling anything, just to put food on the table.

There was a small park in the centre of downtown which I would often walk around in interest. Most of the time, it was busy with homeless or drug addicts looking to pass the time (there was always a reasonable police presence here) but it was interesting to watch the events unfold.

There are too many moments to capture, but my particular favourites include two older homeless guys (perhaps in their 50’s or 60’s) trying to repair a bike’s flat tyre whilst clearly under the influence of illegal substances. They wobbled, chatted, pointed and basically got nowhere as the crowds watched and enjoyed as much as I did.

Another trip saw me walk by two teenage (homeless) boys passing the hours with a homemade game made from empty matchboxes and some dirty pebbles or stones. They too, had taken something they shouldn’t have, but were content in throwing the matchboxes at each others feet to see who could get closest to the target made of pebbles.

About Adrian Britton

Sometimes I will talk about things that are interesting, and sometimes I won’t. Sometimes it will be a bit of a laugh, and sometimes it will just be a downright rant about something going on in the world – I’m often accused at moaning a lot, and I consider myself quite good at it !!



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