My Coke-Free Visit to Escobar’s Home Turf

My Coke-Free Visit to Escobar’s Home Turf

“Don’t go there!” yells Valentina, a 27-year-old designer living in Medellin, when he tells her he plans to visit the Pablo Escobar Casa Museo, a museum dedicated to Colombian drug lords.

A quick Google search changed my mind. Admission to the museum is $30. This is expensive in a country where a full meal usually costs less than $5, and most museums are donation-based or free. Moreover, online reviews judged it to be a collection of rip-offs, nonsensical personal belongings, shoddy reproductions, and revisionist histories.

But that wasn’t why Valentina told me not to go. A native Colombian, she felt it was disrespectful for a tourist like me to waste time, energy and money on an individual who brutally killed and intimidated so many of her compatriots.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what tourists do. For many, but not all, it is one of the main reasons they come to Medellín in the first place.Colombia has charmed travelers with its twisted admiration for Pablo Escobar for decades, but the number of drug travelers has increased dramatically after the release of Netflix Narcostransformed the kingpin from a fading memory into a vibrant pop culture icon.

While the Netflix series Colombians, who have boosted Colombia’s tourism industry and, by extension, the economy as a whole, are rightfully aware that one of the most hated figures in the history books has become the country’s de facto international ambassador. I am angry.

“For many of us, Pablo is our Hitler,” one person in Medellín told me. “For some he was a hero, but for the most part he brought a lot of evil to our city. Just as the Germans never get rid of their history, so do we get rid of the stigma. I really despise people who buy and sell Pablo t-shirts, mugs, etc. It’s like going to Berlin to sell a Hitler t-shirt, get arrested before you sell the first one. will be done.”

“I have an uncle I never met who died in his famous bombing,” added another. “I completely despise any mention of that man.”

I personally want to endure Narcos Partly responsible for creating, or at least reactivating, this reference to Escobar. In classic Hollywood fashion, Netflix made him slimmer, more handsome, and more charismatic than he was in real life. (They also cast a Brazilian actor instead of a Colombian, but that’s another story.) Besides all this, the show’s focus is on his success and his power. Come away Narcos Ruminating how he was in his prime at age 7th He was the richest man in the world and controlled 80% of cocaine. What they don’t realize is that while he was active, he took entire countries hostage through a campaign of domestic terrorism, blowing up apartment buildings and commercial planes, and killing a single person for miles. is that he killed hit list.

Instead of Casa Museo Pablo Escobar, Valentina urged me to visitMore Vario 13A huge slum built on a hill overlooking Medellin, Barrio 13 was one of the most dangerous areas in all of South America until the Colombian army invaded in the early 2000s. Things have improved a bit since then. It’s still a complete mess. There’s no city planning, no roads for cars, but instead of public executions, there’s music, graffiti, and the occasional Red Bull BMX challenge you’ve seen on YouTube. But most importantly, residents seem to make a decent living from tourism.

Graffiti Artist at Barrio 13 / Photo Credit: Tim Brinkhof

While ordering an IPA that I later found out contained a ton of THC, I told the guy who brought me there, a local called Jason, that the people in Barrio 13 had a show like asked how he felt about NarcosAnswer: No. When I thought, “I want to see the real Escobar,” Jason told me, El Patron del Mar, or “evil boss”. This isn’t a blockbuster, it’s a Latin soap his opera, but if you ignore the overly dramatic plot and music, you get what he’s trying to do.First and foremost, played by Escobar Colombian The actor looked overweight and unattractive. Patron del Mar It also struck me as being more authentic in its Colombian representation. The Medellin that the characters lived in was the same Medellin I saw when I looked out the window of his tiny Airbnb, full of energy and color.they drank Aguardiente and devoured Paisa, a typical Antioquian dish of rice, beans, avocado, ground beef and fried pork, served with warm arepas. But most importantly, the life of crime wasn’t all that glamorous in this show. NarcosEscobar’s true form was a con man with no conscience. It wasn’t his intelligence that got him to this point, but the fact that he was willing to do things that other people couldn’t stand.

Navigating the maze of Barrio 13 can be tough when you’re sober, or when you accidentally get high on a craft beer. As I stood in line for the only outdoor escalator in the country, I began to notice how Colombian society deals with the scars of drug terrorism. The building, once smeared with blood and bullet holes, is covered in gorgeous graffiti his art that helps remind people of something other than drug-related violence. In one of his latest murals in the barrio, Jason shows us Pachamama, the Andean goddess of the earth itself and a symbol of Colombia’s cultural heritage much older and more powerful than Escobar. It’s a thing.

I have not been to the Casa Museo Pablo Escobar, but I have visited the Hacienda Napoles, one of the many homes where he acquired his fortune. Located near the town of Puerto he Triunfo, roughly halfway between Medellin and Bogota, the hacienda initially included modest pools, landing strips for small planes, and a menagerie full of black market-bought animals. rice field. After Escobar’s death, the estate itself fell into chaos. The villa was looted and eventually raised to the ground. Animals let their fate die or, in the case of hippos, escaped into the surrounding wetlands, where they thrived and became invasive species.

Hippos at Hacienda Napoles Zoo / Photo by Tim Brinkhof

For years, the states of Colombia have fought to confiscate land from Escobar’s relatives. When they were successful, they turned the hacienda his Napoles into his theme park. At first I thought this was done to take advantage of the drug tourism trend. Once in public hands, haciendas like Barrio 13 have been remodeled to remove all traces of their past crimes. For this reason, today’s Hacienda Napoles is related to Escobar’s Hacienda Napoles only by name. The rolling hills that once helped hide the kingpin’s trades from the outside world now feature roller coasters and pools. The theme park theme is Africa. This is thanks to the larger and better zoo that replaced the previous one. Visitors – mostly Colombians vacationing in their own country – come to see pairs of elephants, lions, tigers, flamingos and absolutely gigantic boa constrictors. In Escobar’s own zoo, where zebras rode minions and ostriches hand-fed cigarettes, the hacienda’s current animals live in spacious enclosures and are at least warm in temperature. In terms, they enjoy a climate not far from their native savannah.

Cartel members riding one of Escobar’s zebras / Photo by Tim Brinkhof

The only reference to Pablo Escobar within Hacienda Napoles is a small museum tucked away in the innermost corner of the park. Partly reconstructed from the original villa, the museum is dedicated to the victims of drug terrorism. Inside, learn more about the history of the Hacienda, Escobar’s inevitable downfall, and the barbaric lengths he went to to prevent that downfall. White walls are adorned with portraits of politicians and police officers he has killed, and pictures of bloody children being dragged from the rubble of collapsed buildings.

What struck me more than these images was that most of the visitors around me had just gotten out of the pool, were half-naked walking through the museum, soaking wet, drinking beer and eating pizza. At the time, their behavior and appearance made me feel inadequate, and even a little hypocritical to complain about gringos smoking blunt at Escobar’s tomb in Medellín. thought. After a few days, I realized how wrong I was. As a foreigner, I especially traveled to Puerto He Triunfo to see what has become of Escobar’s former home, but the average Colombian can’t help but swim in pools, ride roller coasters, and watch animals. They seem to come here to see For them, Pablo Escobar is just an afterthought rather than the main event of their trip. This is, as far as I can tell, a good sign that after decades of suffering, this country is breaking free from the stranglehold of drug lords.

Tourists check out the drug terrorism museum / Photo credit: Tim Brinkhof

With two decades of dedicated experience, Nuggs is a seasoned cannabis writer and grower. His journey has been a harmonious blend of nurturing cannabis from seed to harvest and crafting insightful content. A true expert, they've honed strain-specific knowledge, cultivation techniques, and industry insights. His passion shines through enlightening articles and thriving gardens, making them a respected figure in both the growing and writing facets of the cannabis world.

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