Friday, February 29, 2008

Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain Adventure Chef, visits Medellin March 5

Anthony Bourdain to visit Medellin, Colombia

Best-selling author, reluctant food celebrity guy, culinary adventurer, drinker, smoker, hedonist ... the list of descriptors could go on and on. But one thing is certain: In this food-obsessed world, Anthony Bourdain has carved out a distinct place as a gastronomic Indiana Jones. His quest for the perfect dining experience was smartly documented in his television series and book, A Cook's Tour. And now Bourdain's journey is shifting to the next course.

In Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, his journey takes him to people and places far beyond the realm of food. Following his wanderlust will take the audience to far-out and familiar places, from Iceland to Vietnam and Tuscany to the Pacific Northwest.

Anthony Bourdain is and has been a professional chef and writer for more than three decades, and his point of view will always reflect that experience. But in Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, this anti-celebrity chef is out of the kitchen ... on the road ... no holds barred.

Bourdain travels the world seeking the authentic experiences and food that flavor the world's cultures. Join him on his journey when he visits Medellin, Colombia on March 5th at Teatro Metropolitano. Anthony Bourdain will speak about tourism, culinary tips, anthropology, and well as sharing his humorous travel experiences from around the world.

Teatro Metropolitano in Medellin, Colombia
Address: Calle 41 No 57-30
Date: Wednesday, March 5th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Teatro Metropolitano, Tower Records (El Tesoro), Prodiscos (Unicentro)
Fee (pesos): $80.000, $110.000, $165.000
Organized by: The Imagen Group
Information: 311 57 00

Watch "No Reservations" Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on the Travel Channel!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Laura Osorno; Colombia Artist Creates Vibrant Characters

Illustrations on Bar Windows - by Laura Osorno

Laura Osorno, a young Colombian illustrator recently found a new way of displaying her excellent and colorful work: in the windows of Bogota bars Mai Lirol Darlin and Këa.

She is a graphic designer working in illustration since 1998. Her work has been featured in many children books, magazines and commercial works for companies as Eje Records, Fedco, Defensoría del Pueblo, Banco de la República, Glowimages and Motel d´amour.

A couple years ago, she has worked creating different characters in cards, posters, “finger muppets”, dolls, pins and t-shirts.
These characters include a rabbit shrink without heart, a neurotic overweighted fairy, and a girl talented making concentric bubbles from snots among others.

There has been a lot of good press as of late regarding Colombia's tranformation, if this is the result of the new Colombia, than we can be rest assured that there are many new young Colombian artists who are prepared to show the outside world that Colombian is also changing with the times, good times for Colombia's future.

To see more work by the amazing Colombia artist Laura Osorno visit her gallery exhibit on flickr.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Speaking of Medellin, Colombia... Welcome To The Medellin ChatRoom Forums

The Popular El Poblado neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia

¡Welcome, Bienvenidos!

To the new Medellin ChatRoom message boards.

The Medellin ChatRoom has been properly linked up to its domain name on the host server and it is now live in cyberspace.

It has taken some work, and after a few false starts, it's finally uploaded. I wouldn't have it any other way, not that I had any choice in the matter.

Today is the official launch date, even though there will be several changes made along the way as we work to improve the message forums, feel free to stop over and contribute or ask questions.

The Medellin ChatRoom Board would like to invite you all to network, discuss, contribute, inquire, share information, photos, travel adventures, personal experiences not just in Medellin, but all of Colombia!

And most importantly, any and all suggestions and comments, are welcomed by the Medellin ChatRoom Board, to help make this a great resource center for all interested in Medellin, Colombia.

The is dedicated to you all, who have made this blog a great success.

Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

Saludos y Bienvenidos a todos,
Medellin Traveler

Friday, February 15, 2008

Five Best Underrated Cities: Medellin Tops The List

Parque Lleras in El Poblado; Medellin, Colombia

Sure you've done the hotspots. These more obscure getaways can wow you, and you'll be the first person you know to visit!

Barcelona, San Francisco, London, New York City… Been there, done that?

Sure they're awesome places, but they're also the most-visited. You're probably ready to visit the less-hyped, more quirky and obscurely cool haunts around the planet, right?

Don't let those big-name A-list destinations totally overshadow the quiet gems that are just as vacation-worthy-in their own unique way. Distinctive with their own quirks and personality, these five underrated cities deliver enough punch to have you packing your bags

Medellin, Colombia

Sure, Colombia has been beaten down with bad press (drugs, kidnapping, Shakira), but it has come a long way by rebounding from its darker days and exposing itself in a newer light. While Bogota and Cartagena shine as the most visited of Colombia's destinations, the small city of Medellin is jostling its way to prove its worthy of your visit. (And not just thanks to that Entourage movie plotline, either.) Chock full of commanding views (it's nestled snugly in the tropical Andes Mountains), year-round weather hovering around 72 degrees, a thriving nightlife and the burgeoning neighborhood of Lleras Park packed with boutiques and trendy restaurants, Medellin is effortlessly Colombia's best-kept secret.

Make sure you try traditional Colombian cuisine with a modern flare at the bustling Basilica restaurant (Cr 38 8A-42 Antioquia). Locals and visitors alike enjoy the spirited nights fueled with live music and traditional dancing. And yes, the gorgeous staff are known to speak our language, if you know what I mean.

For more information on the other four destinatioins (click here)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

U.S. - Colombia's Biggest Tourist Market

Medellin, the city of eternal spring

Colombia's tourism boom to continue...

Bogota – for so long a byword for coke and kidnapping – is stepping out of the grim shadow of the past and striding forward as a Latin American tourism success story of recent years. Increased security and economic growth have combined to encourage a touristic boom, the likes of which has never before been experienced in the northern South American country.

The capital Bogota, the colonial gem of Cartagena and the reborn city of Medellin are the most popular destinations for foreign tourists and Colombia as a whole, according to figures collated by the Banco de la Republica, DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) and cruise-ship companies.

These sources put the total of foreign tourists that arrived in the country in 2007 at 2,100,000.

If you take into consideration that in 2005 only 830,000 tourists visited Colombia the turnaround in a few short years is staggering.

No less striking is the Colombian government's aim to attract an all time record of four million tourists in the year 2010.

In order to stay on target to reach this lofty goal, 2008 needs to see a further increase of almost 30 per cent on 2006, coaxing in a further 600,000 tourists.

The emphasis has been on diversification and tourism bodies have been marketing newer routes such as the Colombian Amazon, and the coffee region.

Proexport, a Colombian institution aimed at promoting Colombia and improving tourism and foreign investment, has set about identifying the kind of tourists that Colombia wants to attract.

Angela Maria Claro, sub-director of information for Proexport, makes their aims clear: "We are looking for a certain tourist who stays for a longer duration and spends more money.

Cartagena: Colombia's magical city rebounds

"With this in mind there have been special efforts to woo film directors to use Colombia's plethora of locations fit for movie productions."

Claro cites 2007's Love in the Time of Cholera as an example of what Colombia can deliver on this front.

When asked about the current economic slowdown in the United States, Claro waved away any worries: "Colombia’s growth is well above world growth and the US is a 250 million person market, one which we have barely scratched the surface."

The US remains Colombia's biggest tourist market, apart from neighbouring Ecuador and Venezuela, delivering 235,000 visitors in 2007.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Incredible Purina Dog Team in Colombia

The Purina Dog Chow Incredible Dog Team in Bogota & Medellin, Colombia.

Featured are 14 of the most incredible dogs I have ever known: Clementine, Bandit, Wee-la, Squirt (aka Chispa), Divot, Indy, Kix, Remy, Pilot, Spy, Eagle, Viva, Dante & Calico and their caring owners/trainers/handlers: Missy, Pam & Chris. Special appearances by our new friends in Colombia. Special thanks to Kicking Cow, Purina in Colombia, Logistica 911, Melissa who brought us together...

The slideshow includes clips of our country houses in both cities and our wonderful menagerie of dogs. Enjoy!

There are some really great images of Colombia on this video, great job!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Another Colombian Crop Takes Off In U.S: St. Valentine's Flowers

Fresh cut roses shipped from Colombia to the U.S.

The expansion has been so successful that Colombia is the second largest exporter of cut flowers in the world after the Netherlands

In the high Andean plains here, Reynaldo Garcia Navas lives in a world bounded by Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day and Secretary's Day.

In the high Andean plains here, Reynaldo Garcia Navas lives in a world bounded by Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day and Secretary's Day.

''This carnation was cut 10 minutes ago,'' Mr. Garcia said, selecting a bright red flower in the cold storage area of his flower farm. ''Tomorrow, it will be in Miami. The day after, in a local florist.''

Coaxing Colombian flowers to bloom according to American holidays is part of a booming new export business.

In the last 20 years, Colombia's exports of fresh cut flowers have soared, from virtually nothing in 1969 to an expected $250 million this year, making it the nation's fifth largest export.

Today, Colombia is the second largest flower exporter in the world after the Netherlands.

The flower industry has taken hold in the high, sunny plateaus outside of Colombia's two largest cities, Bogota and Medellin. In a boon to areas with high unemployment, the labor-intensive industry now directly employs 70,000 people and gives indirect employment to 30,000 more.

In the year-round springlike climate here, millions of roses, carnations and chrysanthemums bloom under tented plastic.

With the eyes of the United States now focused on Colombia because of the Government's war with cocaine traffickers, Jorge Enrique Uribe Salazar, president of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters, hopes to win tariff concessions for Colombian flowers.

Mr. Uribe's target is a 4.4 percent duty on American imports of Colombia flowers. The tariff was imposed five years ago in response to American flower growers who complained that the Colombians were dumping, or selling at below market prices. The Colombians admit that in July and August they are often forced to sell to brokers in Miami for prices that are below production costs. American flower prices traditionally are low at that time of year for a variety of reasons: there are few weddings, many people are on vacation and there are no major holidays associated with flower giving.

''Obviously, I don't want to sell below cost,'' said Mr. Garcia, general manager of Colibri Flowers. ''But flowers grow all year round and they are perishable. I have to sell them.''

To appease the Americans, Colombian growers say they have ended a series of Government subsidies - tax breaks, duty-free imports of agricultural implements and bank loans extended at below market rates.

American officials here do not seem to be moved by Colombia's complaints of protectionism. ''Don't look at the lawsuits, don't look at the arguments,'' said an official at the American Embassy here. ''Look at the final figures, look at the enormous gains for Colombian flowers in the United States.''

The American official noted that Colombia's flower exports to the United States this year are expected to be 20 percent higher than last year's level. #15 Cows or 1.6 Million Flowers but, production here is expanding as more and more ranchers discover that the acreage that supports 15 cows will also support 1.6 million flowers. Several industry analysts say the Colombians should explore new markets.

Japan would be a natural market, but exporters here say they are handicapped by poor airline connections and by Japanese protectionism.

''Japanese prices are so high that Colombian flowers would be very attractive,'' said Mr. Uribe. ''But they have a very high level of protection. There are no duties, but when the flowers arrive at Narita Airport, they are inspected one by one.''

Another solution is to induce Americans to buy more flowers. Americans buy only $15 worth of flowers a person each year. Europeans buy between $35 and $65 worth of flowers a person.

''I compare flowers to wine,'' said Mr. Uribe, warming to the idea of a joint Colombian-American effort to promote flower consumption in the United States. ''Twenty years ago, Americans really didn't drink wine. Now you have flowers entering America's mainstream - they are sold in supermarkets and chain stores.''


This is COLOMBIA; Live On YouTube

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Catalina Estrada - Artist and Designer

Catalina Estrada is a graphic designer and illustrator. She was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. There she studied graphic design before moving to Barcelona, where she has been living for the past 7 years.

Estrada’s artwork brings all the colors and power of Latin-American folklore and refines it with a subtle touch of European sophistication. Her ability for creating fascinating illusive worlds, full of colors, nature, and enchanting characters, bursts in all of her works: art, graphic design and illustration.

Her work has been featured by Communication Arts and Computer Arts magazines, Die Gestalten Verlag, Swindle, DPI, Ppaper and Graphic Magazine. Some of her clients include: Paul Smith, Coca-Cola, Nike, Honda, Custo-Barcelona, Salomon, Chronicle Books, among many others. She currently works freelance and also teaches illustration at IDEP (graphic design school in Barcelona).

Follow the jump to read an interesting interview with Catalina, along with more of her stunning imagery.

How long have you been drawing and did it take long to find your personal style?

I was basicly doing lots of graphic design when I finished my studies, however when I started volunteering for the help fundations in Colombia I started doing lots of illustration and liking it more and more, I started developing my own graphic language and this alowded me to get more illustration commissions. I did lots of flyers for Dj's, disco's and bars and this also allowed me to do lot of illustration work.

I've always loved drawing and painting and with illustration I sort of found a way to combine both graphic design with art. I've always loved colour, I've always loved emotional images, so I guess I put lots of both emotion and colour into every image I create. Some years ago I started doing some volunteer work for foundations in Colombia helping kids with AIDS and kids in Colombia’s countryside.

The illustrations I created for them were sort of the beginning of this style I guess, I tried to put lots of colour, love, hope, lots of light in them so that they would really get people's attention. They worked great so I was really happy with the results. Those were very inspirational projects, and it was sort of the beginning of my illustration career.

Your work has been featured in many exhibitions. Can you tell us a little bit on how that got started and what it means to you?

Once I was that happy with my illustrations for the volunteer works for Colombia I started sending them to different publishing houses, blogs, magazines etc, and tried to get some sort of self promotion by publishing them. Ten they started to get published gradually. Also my web page helped a lot since people could check out the rest of my work there.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Investing in Colombia: The Largest U.S. Trading Partner

Medellin, Colombia

With the Bush Administration moving forward to sign a trade agreement with Colombia, there may be investment opportunities in that country.

Some facts about Colombia:

The U.S. has been Colombia’s largest trading partner.

Colombia’s exports to the U.S. are approximately $5.4 billion.

Colombia imports from the U.S. are approximately $3.3 billion.

It is the fifth largest destination of foreign direct investment in Latin America.

Its products and services include oil, coffee, apparel, flowers, mining, energy, automotive, infrastructure, pharmaceutical, consumer products and financial services.

It has the second largest population in South America.

It is the largest Spanish speaking nation by population in South America.

The Happy Planet Index ranked Colombia the second happiest country.

Inflation has been below 6% for the last three years.

Cruise ships began returning to the country in October 2007.

It is number 27 of all countries for GDP purchasing power parity.

It produces almost twice as much oil as it consumes.

There have been many bi-lingual programs developed to make Medellin the central business hub in all of Central and South America.

Colombiatex 2008 - The Most Important Tradeshow in Colombia

Colombiatex January 22-24, 2008
20 years on display for business in Central America and the world

Due to its geographical location, Colombiatex trade show is ideal for the business fair trade show for exhibiiting the large variety of products and new technologies, COLOMBIATEX is today the most important meeting place for the tradeshow business in the Americas.

The dates for Colombiatex this year were from January 22, 23 and 24, 2008, it was hosted in Medellin's Plaza Mayor, the select and specialized group of manufacturers and merchants from the textile sector where invited to participate.

The Tradeshow Exhibit: Colombiatex

20 Years! The exhibit had on display various textiles, supplies, outsourcing technologies, full manufacturing equipment packages, equipment accessories, and services for the apparel Industry.

On January 22th, from 9:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m, the Fair was opened exclusively for buyers and journalists at the Plaza Mayor in Medellin - Colombia.

Exhibited products
Fashion, home and industry line: Natural-base, synthetic, and blended fabric.

Textile supplies: fibres, threads and yarns. Apparel industry supplies: buttons, buckles, zippers, ribbons, lace, interlining, tags, labels, collars, fabrics, etc. Machinery and other sector-related services.

Along with 460 exhibitors from all over America: Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

The 9 exhibition and service pavilions where separated as followed:

Pabellón Sourcing
Centro de Convenciones (Conventions Center): textile manufacturing supplies and complements.
Pabellón Blanco (white pavilion): textiles and textile supplies.
Pabellón Azul (blue pavilion): raw textile materials.
Pabellón Rojo (red pavilion): machinery and technology.
Pabellón Amarillo (yellow pavilion): textiles, textile supplies and Full Package.
Machinery and technology pavilion.
AFIN Knowledge Pavilion: academic programming (Teatro Metropolitano).
New fabric developments in: Natural, synthetic and blended fibres. Textile supplies: fibre, threads and yarns. Supplies for manufacturing: buttons, buckles, zippers, ribbons, linings, brand labels, labels, woven necks, etc., machinery and other sector related services.

9.000 national and international buyers and visitors attended
12 conferences in the AFIN knowledge pavilion
280 national and international journalists were present at Colombiatex, 2008