Medellín vs. Bogotá

A lot has been said by Bogota’s lack of a metro system. In Colombia it is strange that Colombia’s capital city as well as most populous city (10.7 million) doesn’t have a metro system while Medellin (population 3.8 million) has its own metro system.  What Bogota has done to ease its embarrassment of a lack of a metro is to install the “Transmilenio.” The Transmilenio has been called the “Burro Gusano” (Stupid Worm) by the people who live in Bogota. My own personal name I have invented for the whole Transmilenio system is, “2 People Get off, 25 Get On.” It seems every time you try to go anywhere on the Transmilenio there are always people standing in front of the turnstiles text messaging, when the bus doors open there are always people blocking your way who aren’t even getting on the Transmilenio and there always seems to be large numbers of people getting on the bus right when you are trying to leave. But, on the other hand there are a lot of people in Bogota and obviously they have to get to work somehow. So, considering the amount of people in the city it could be a lot worse.Image

One technique I have used to try and get on Transmilenio buses that are the same route but are drafting off of each other. The bus that is drafting usually has 50% less people the the Transmilenio bus in front of it. This happens because most people riding Transmilenio are always late so the always rush to get onto the first bus into the station. But, as long as you pay attention to the boards and you have an extra 2 minutes to wait you can find a Transmilenio bus less crowded that will get you to the same place in few minutes later. And, another advantage of taking the Transmilenio bus drafting off the other, is that the one in front will pick up a lot more people on the way and will make it tougher to get off of at your stop later.

The Transmilenio is basically a glorified bus that has sheltered stops that are fenced in by glass. The system is not all bad. It is cheaper and faster to build than a subway and it is also more flexible to operate in terms of adding or subtracting buses. The passengers are all very calm when they ride the Transmilenio. I have delivered some massive elbow into people’s heads, shoulders and arms and the people never get mad. Usually they apologize for their head running into my elbow.

So, while the people in Medellin are efficiently guided through the city by metro, the Bogotanos are left to sit in traffic, while dodging elbows from the passengers and cursing the paisas (Medellin people) under their breath. The thing I enjoy most about riding the Transmilenio is being able to stare down other passengers if they are gazing too long at a roadside accident. The public transportation system is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of rivalry between Bogota and Medellin. This is a condensed list of the major differences between the two cities.

1)    Medellin’s temperate climate (between 65 and 85 degrees 99% of the time) beats Bogota’s year round cold and drizzly climate.

2)    The women in Bogota are more cosmopolitan.

When I asked a girl from Bogota who she thought was more prettier, the Paisa girls (Medellin) or the Rola (Bogota) girls.

“As a Colombian woman I can tell you the first problem many foreign men have when they come to Colombia is going for the fake girls, fake paisa women come in pretty packages but they’re full of air. You have been warned!
Rolas for example don’t go around showing off their boobies and butts as much as the Paisas but they are more intellectual and have more brain matter. If you are in love with Medellín, then your best bet  is to go for the paisa women that have some education, preferably university education. Are you really ready to date a girl who probably speaks her own mother tongue 10 times worse than you and looks like a Colombian version of Barbie? These girls are usually big gold-diggers, some don’t expect anything better than wild sex but no reassurance besides that.
Believe me, in comparison to any Euro or Anglo American we Colombians are extremely passionate and sensual even if we don’t all go dressed in skimpy dresses. So yes, there are Colombian women that are not flaky and with enough brains to go beyond the superficial.”

3)    The fashion industry is centered in Medellin. The latest fashions always arrive to Medellin first and then filter through the rest of the country like tomato juice being poured over ice cubes.

4)    The more famous artists and musicians are from Medellin: Juanes and Botero. There is a noticeable lack of great artistic talent that comes out of Bogota based on its size.

5)    Medellin has better plastic surgeons for augmenting or slimming your body.

6)    The Bogota accent is the clearest and easiest to understand of all the Spanish speaking world. Bogotanos speak Spanish like Torontonians speak English.

7)    The cost of living in Medellin is a little cheaper than Bogota in terms of transportation, housing and food.

8)    The big bonus for foreign people living in Bogota is the potential of working in the TV and movie business. These opportunities are pretty difficult to find in Medellin.


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