Working and Playing in Medellín
After a fun week in Cartagena I rode south to Medellín. This was my first taste of the twisty congested roads that were in my future. I passed 18 wheelers, dodged smaller bikes, and discovered that the weather can change quickly in Colombia. At one point a trucks back doors flew open and two giant containers of gas and oil smashed down on the road. This shut the highway down for almost an hour as everyone scurried to figure out how to get them off the road (with a rope tied to the truck). As I rode toward Medellín the weather got worse. A small drizzle turned into a full downpour and then that turned into a brilliant thunderstorm. Lightning was crashing down on the mountains to my sides creating brilliant flashes of light, shaking my body, and threatening to burst my eardrums. Flash, BAM!!! FLASH, FLASH, FLASH. Boom, ka-boom, BLAM!! Rain was falling so hard it was stinging my skin through my heavy armored riding jacket. I felt like Lieutenant Dan strapped to the top of that shrimp boat. But after all was said and done I made it without a scratch. Before I got to Medellín I posted a plea for help on my Facebook page. I needed a studio to shoot a few videos to finish a series I’m creating for AdoramaTV. Samuel Caracushansky immediately sent me a message and told me his studio was available. He even helped me find a model and schedule everything. A couple of weeks earlier, when I’d first arrived in Colombia, two Londoners on vacation had seen that I was in Cartagena. Gavin and his wife Orla sent me a note on Facebook and the three of us met for a short dinner. And now I learned that they had also come to Medellín. What luck!Gavin, Orla, Samuel, and I met up for dinner and drinks. We ended up staying out very, very late. Samuel showed us all the fun places near Parque Lieras (the happening spot in Medellín). After a bit we visited Samuel’s studio and then returned to the restaurants and clubs for more fun. At some point along the way Gavin tricked me into putting my fingers under a beer, trapping me and creating quite a laugh. I’ll be using that trick in the future. I spent the weekend working on research, writing scripts, and streamlining my Mark On A Bike video process. I also worked hard to get the blog in shape and figure out how to get content published faster, that was mostly a matter of figuring out a routine and getting into the right mindset. I spent Monday shooting new videos for Adorama TV. I shot three new episodes that continue to focus on basic studio lighting principles. My model was Maria Isabel and she was terrific. Samuel ran the video camera and we were able to shoot three new episodes. The following few days was spent editing videos, creating animations, and continuing my quest to update Mark On A Bike. I planned to leave after my work was finished but I just kept meeting new friends and discovering how wonderful Medellín is. The climate is perfect, the scenery is terrific, and the coffee is yummy.Almost a week after I’d arrived Samuel invited me to come to visit his studio while he was shooting some models. That sounded like a lot of fun and so I stayed another day. Then I learned that a few of my Wild Card friends were in town. So I stayed a bit longer to see them. I was able to see Ryan, Sarah, Anna, and Simone one more time. We had a terrific night catching up on our travel stories and reconnecting. I think connecting with new and old friends really helped clear my writers block. Suddenly my Mark On A Bike content was flowing out and the blog was being updated regularly, videos were coming together, and I got my mojo back. I was tempted to stay in Medellín even longer, but I’d heard rumors of some troubles in the south of Colombia and decided it was time to move on. Little did I know what was in store for me.