Colombia has been practicing “self-isolation” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 20th 2020. Self-isolation was originally supposed to end on April 13th but got extended until April 27th, then until May 11, then until May 25th, and now until May 31st.

No International Flights Through August 31st

Even if self-isolation actually ends on May 31st, things will be far from “normal” in Colombia this summer. For the month of June, domestic flights will remain grounded and land travel within Colombia will remain prohibited.

All international flights will remain grounded through August 31st! I always intended to stay in Colombia until things went back to “normal,” but hearing this still came as shock. Knowing I can’t leave the country feels a little different than choosing not to.

The United States government has been offering special flights from Colombia to the USA, for US citizens only, on Spirit airlines, every week or so. However, these “humanitarian” flights cost nearly $400, probably more if you want to bring a bag, or breathe, it is Spirit after all. And they only fly to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Taking an expensive flight, on the worst airline known to man, during a worldwide pandemic, to wind up 1,300 miles away from Chicago and 2,500 miles away from Las Vegas, sounds awful to me. Plus, as much as I consider those cities home, I don’t really have anywhere to go there. Sure, I could crash with friends or family for a while… but indefinitely? That doesn’t feel right to me.

I came to Colombia intending to make Medellín my home. Even with the COVID-19 restrictions, that is what I am doing.

I Moved!

A few things will start opening next month, like libraries and museums (yippee!) But many businesses, including bars and sit down restaurants, will remain closed. Chances are, I will still be in the house most of this summer. Realizing this, I decided to move.

My first apartment was great. It was nothing special but I really loved it and the neighborhood it was in. But construction, manufacturing, bio-security retailers, and take-out restaurants started to reopen this month… and I swear, every business on my old block fits into one of these categories. (I’m still trying to figure out how the banquet business across the street managed to turn it self into a bio-security retailer, selling everything from masks and hand sanitizer to plastic body suits and face shields, but it did.)

So life outside my window got lively and loud while I remained stuck in the house. The increase of both noise and people in the street was intrusive.

Even if the noise and people passing by my window hadn’t gotten to me, I would have still been hankering for a change. I had been in that apartment almost 24/7 for nearly 3 months!

Luckily, I found a great new spot easily and quickly. It’s more modern, much quieter, more private and I will save money in the long run!

My friend Michael, who I mentioned in the tostada story, is still here and moved into the new apartment with me. I am so thankful for him. I imagine this whole experience would be much more difficult without him here.

Medellín Self-Isolation Photo Gallery

This post is a bunch of random photos I took while out and about in Medellín over the last few months. Most of the photos were taken at the grocery store, or on the way to/from the grocery store, because that was pretty much the only time I was out of the house. Several of the photos were taken from the balcony of my first apartment in Medellín. Each of these photos gives a little insight into what self-isolation has looked like in Medellín, Colombia, through my eyes, thus far.

March 16, 2020 - 4 days before self-isolation began - Sending a photo to my friends and family in the States, letting them know Colombians aren't hoarding toilet paper.

March 16, 2020 – 4 days before self-isolation – I send a photo to my friends and family in the States, letting them know Colombians aren’t hoarding toilet paper.

March 17, 2020 3 days before self-isolation began A man at Exito (Colombian Walmart) in full COVID19 mode- mask, gloves, shopping for dried beans (I hope this man eventually learned how goofy latex gloves are in this situation.)

March 17, 2020 – 3 days before self-isolation – A man at Exito (Colombian Walmart) in full pandemic gear- shops for dried beans.

March 17, 2020 - 3 days before self-isolation began - A woman at Exito buys enough cleaning supplies to clean the Taj Mahal for the next five years.

March 17, 2020 – 3 days before self-isolation – A woman at Exito buys enough cleaning supplies to clean the Taj Mahal for the next five years.

March 17, 2020 - 3 days before self-isolation began - Soaking up street art in Poblado, knowing it will be my last time there for awhile.

March 17, 2020 – 3 days before self-isolation – I soak up street art in Poblado, knowing it will be my last time here for awhile.

March 19, 2020 - the day before self-isolation began - watching the police confront the always busy street-side restaurant across the street.

March 19, 2020 – the day before self-isolation – I watch the police shut down the always busy street-side restaurant from the comfort of my balcony.

March 20, 2020 – hours before self-isolation – Maybe people aren’t hoarding toilet paper but they aren’t forgetting to buy it either.

March 20, 2020 - hours before self-isolation began - Maybe people weren't hoarding toilet paper but they weren't forgetting to buy it either.

March 22, 2020 – self-isolation day 2 – Maybe people aren’t hoarding toilet paper but they aren’t forgetting to buy it either.

March 22, 2020 - self-isolation day 2 - Maybe people weren't hoarding toilet paper but they weren't forgetting to buy it either.

March 22, 2020 – self-isolation day 2 – Maybe people aren’t hoarding toilet paper but they aren’t forgetting to buy it either.

March 22, 2020 - self-isolation day 2 - First signage I saw explaining that people over age 60 get a designated time to shop.

March 22, 2020 – self-isolation day 2 – I see this sign for the first the first time. It explains that people over age 60 get a private time to shop.

March 26, 2020 - self-isolation day 6 - woman walking to work wrapped in plastic

March 26, 2020 – self-isolation day 6 – A woman walks to work wearing a plastic body suit.

April 2, 2020 – self-isolation day 13 – I see this sign for the first time. I do not know what it means… I attempt to enter the grocery store. An English speaking man in line behind me explains the “pico y cédula” system to me when I fail to present my ID to the store clerk upon entry. My ID ends in a 2, so I can shop today. I chat with the guy for a moment in the store. He tells me he is Colombian but lived in the US for most his life… guess where? Las Vegas.

April 6, 2020 – self-isolation day 17 – Floor signs at Exito to ensure we don’t get too close in line.

April 14, 2020 - self-isolation day 25 - A very empty "Calle 70." This street is usually one big party.

April 14, 2020 – self-isolation day 25 – A very empty “Calle 70.” This street is usually one big party.

April 24, 2020- self-isolation day 35 – The line to get into Exito is the longest I have seen yet.

April 29, 2020 – self-isolation day 40 – I find out that we’re allowed to go on a one hour walk everyday from 2pm to 3pm. It is the hottest, sunniest, part of the day but I appreciate the freedom. I stop to take a photo because I like the graffiti.

May 3, 2020 – self-isolation day 44 – A man uses a pulley system to collect his delivery.

May 4, 2020 – self-isolation day 45 – A woman uses a pulley system to collect her delivery.

May 5, 2020 – self-isolation day 46 – I buy papaya from street fruit vendors.

May 8, 2020 – self-isolation day 49 – A line forms to enter Estadio Metro Station. Police stop everyone before they can enter.

May 8, 2020 – self-isolation day 49 – Noted.

May 8, 2020 – self-isolation day 49 – An abandoned building.

May 10, 2020 – self-isolation day 51 – It is Mother’s Day. Food deliverymen swarm a popular Colombian restaurant.

May 10, 2020 – self-isolation day 51 – It’s Mother’s Day. I appreciate the beauty of a street corner I had walked by many times before.

May 10, 2020 – self-isolation day 51 – It’s Mother’s Day. I walk by the ice cream shop I went to just before self-isolation began. The door is closed. There is caution tape.

May 13, 2020 – self-isolation day 54 – This tattered movie poster inspires me to check out this Colombian film.

May 14, 2020 – self-isolation day 55 – The banquet business turned bio-security retailer across the street from my apartment.

May 22, 2020 – self-isolation day 63 – A red squirrel.

May 22, 2020 – self-isolation day 63 – I like this red squirrel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 22, 2020 – self-isolation day 63 – An amazing view of Medellín from one of the apartments we looked at.