Booking Tickets to Medellín
are a number of things I definitely take for granted in the UK,
one of them being online booking facilities for flights.
took six attempts and returns to the travel agent on campus to finally
purchase and receive our tickets, in total taking over three hours.
When we thought it was all arranged, I got a phone call from the
airline the day we were flying saying there was a problem with the
tickets and we had to return to the agency to change them.
to the airline misunderstanding
4.30pm Juliet & I went to the Miss Universe building, where
the travel agent was located. On arrival we were acknowledged and
sat and waited... and waited... and waited.
30 minutes, we were seen and eventually the tickets were changed
almost an hour later. A bit of miscommunication occurred as the
assistant informed us our flight was at 7.30pm not 8.30pm as previously,
we began to worry that we were going to miss the flight. It was
now already 5.30pm, we weren't packed and it takes up to an hour
to get to the airport.
they handed our tickets back to us, there was a bit of relief as
the assistant had in fact meant that we needed to be at the airport
by 7.30pm. The strange thing was, almost an hour later, the tickets
that they gave us appeared to be exactly the same, leaving on the
same flight at the same time and everything.
in the departure lounge
Juliet & I got to the airport in good time. Added to all the
previous panic, we were then offered a free return flight anywhere
in Colombia if we went home and took the flight the next morning.
we were tempted but we decided the possibility of more complications
and problems simply weren't worth it. Having such a stressful afternoon
with the whole ticket situation, we should have guessed our flight
would have been delayed anyway. We finally took off 1.5 hours later.
Avianca, the airline, did kindly provide sandwiches and drinks due
to the delay and we were kept entertained by three bats circling
in the departure lounge.
and coincidences in the air
the flight was underway, we began talking to a woman sitting next
to Dan called Maria. She is in charge of the purchasing of menswear
for Éxito, one of the major department stores and supermarkets
here in Colombia.
started telling her about our work here and we wrote down the contact
details of the Éxito Foundation in charge of working with
charities and providing donations. The head office is in Medellín
and if we had time, she offered for us to meet up with her, although
in the end as we had such a busy schedule she promised that she
would help us anyway she could.
was really nice, and such a coincidence she was sitting next to
Dan. Maria also informed as that the fifth top supermodel in the
country was sitting a few rows behind us. Medellín is known
to be one of the top fashion centres in Colombia and South America.
the director of a cargo carrier
named Rodrigo sitting in front of Maria turned around and began
speaking with us as well. After finding out about us, we learned
that he works for Tampa Cargo, an airline that specialises in transporting
goods (specifically flowers) around the world.
gave us contact details of the office in Bogotá and suggested
that if there is room on a flight we will be able to ship goods
for free. If this materialises, there is so much potential for us
to get international in-kind donations - we are really excited about
the possibilities. Even more of a coincidence: both Maria and Rodrigo
had been staying in the hotel opposite Juan K's apartment where
I am living.
Medellín airport, we hit some turbulence and appeared to
be flying into an electrical storm. At first it was just to the
left of us and for the last 20 minutes of the flight it appeared
to be getting closer and closer on either side.
would have been ironic if something had happened to us on the plane
because we'd avoided the 14 hour coach journey due to the route
down from Baranquilla to Medellín being known as a more dangerous
drama over, we landed safe and sound, got a cab and descended down
in to Medellín. The airport is high in the mountains at 2500
metres, with the main city 1000 metres lower. (Check out a map of
got the taxi to a landmark in town and were collected by the local
AIESECers. Arriving in a new place made all of us appreciate how
great it is knowing people locally.
got to the hotel at around 1am and met the other trainees - the
other international people working through AIESEC in Colombia. We
planned our next few days and there was so much to look forward
by James Eder
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