The video below is of small children playing on the spinning benches in the play area (I hesitate to call it a park) next to the Planetarium, which is itself next to the Botanical Gardens.  We wanted to go to the gardens, because it supposedly had an "orchidareum" of all kinds of rare and hard-to-find orchids.

Fun fact about Medellin that you probably didn’t know: Every year they have a huge "Festival de los Flores" – a testament to the fact that the climate and rich volcanic soil allow them to grow mass quantities of flowers for export.  And yeah, I know where your head just went, and sure, they probably do still grow all manner of other valuable plants in & around this area, but let’s not dwell on that right now.

The botanical gardens were a disappointment, because the air there was awful – about 2 carbon-monoxide points shy of locking yourself in the garage with a running car.  Really.  I swearta Christ, it was a real throwback to my days in Caracas, when just walking down the street was an assault on the sinus cavities, and it was common to see people standing on the streetcorners, waiting for the bus, eyes as red as tomatoes, weeping muddy tracks from all the soot and diesel particles.  So yeah, the gardens were not exactly the peaceful, verdant refuge I had hoped for – although there were some wacked-out beauty queens getting their pictures shot standing next to fanged sacrificial goddess statutes.  There’s something symbolic in all that, but I don’t have time to get into that just yet.

I wish that I had an entire afternoon to write about all the wonderful people we’ve met down here, the great places we’ve stayed, but the schedule here has been completely insane – I have tomorrow as a full day yet at El Tiempo – the most advanced paper in the country, and one that could teach most American papers a thing or two about convergence.  And then after that, I have to sweat out a huge article about Schibsted for the NAA, and right after that, I’ve scheduled a slight nervous breakdown on the plane back to the U.S. – probably about the time that the Homeland Security goons at Miami airport take a gander at my passport, note that I’ve spent a month in Colombia, after several trips to Russia and some time in Amsterdam, and hit the red call button for the heavyset matron with the surgical gloves…