Friday, February 20, 2009

The Beauty and the Beast

We’ve arrived in Medellín seven weeks ago, and we would have thought that I should have my temporary visa (called “conjure”) by now; after all, I’m the spouse of a law-abiding Colombian citizen.
Ahh, but Colombia’s beautiful face shaped by its people, its landscape, and its climate changes to a repugnant grimace as soon as one is forced to deal with immigration and security administration officials.
“The only risk is wanting to stay” is the slogan of an extensive Colombian tourist ad campaign, and boy, is it true: as soon as you want to stay legally, you are subjected to a degrading and convoluted process with whimsical and senseless demands designed to intimidate you and to extract money from you in the form of fees; not to mention the waste of time, emotional energy, and paper. No wonder the rain forest is being decimated!
It is absurd that on one hand Colombia invites tourists and investors with open arms, and on the other drives them away with these obstacles. And whenever something makes no sense, following the money often provides an explanation: Curiously, there is this industry of “tramitadores,” people who help people with the red tape the government flings at them; for a fee of course. And the more you are involved in this, the more you wonder whether 1) it is the tramitadores lobby which strives to keep Colombia’s government processes as archaic, confusing, and demeaning as they are, and 2) part of the tramitadores fees and expenses go into the pockets of the officials they deal with?
If this were true, it’d be called corruption and be a disgrace. We actually have experienced this on our journey through Mexico and Central America.
So, “new Colombia,” if indeed you want to set yourself apart and be as modern and progressive as you like to present yourself these days, you’d be well advised to wipe out this scum that’s soiling your image. Heck, Colombia, you’ve made progress by leaps and bounds in recent years, you can do this, too!
But we’re almost done with this mess. Since our last post, we have taken time to enjoy the real people and the real country, going flying and looking for places to settle down. We’ve found new slopes and continue looking for our ideal place. The photos show the beautiful Colombia which brought us here, especially so from a slope pilot’s point of view.


bob said...

Hi guys,
glad to finally hear from you. was packed and ready for rescue mission. Looks like wonderful flying sites, wish I were there too. Goog flying to you keep us posted with new updates more frequently OK
Bob and Sue

David Leitch said...

Hey guys

Hope it all works well. Seems like in a troubled world Colombia is as good as the next place.

Great blog including some lovely photos.

David Leitch

Marcela and Dieter, ShredAir said...

Thanks for the comments, David, Bob and Sue!
We're making progress at about half the rate we expected, just like during the drive down here; but progress it is.
We hope to see y'all down here, ya hear?!