Travel memory #2

by Ruby Brunton

I was 15 when I went to Medellín, Colombia. I was there for a poetry festival my father was performing at.
We were housed in a magnificent 19th century hotel in the city centre. The beds were hard, but there was a definite charm to the place. We were provided with 3 buffet meals a day. All the poets, translators, volunteers and indigenous representatives convened to eat and discuss the latest readings.
We spent some of our time at a finca outside of the city. Everything looked like a painting. There was a talking parrot, but he only spoke Spanish. Three sisters lived there, and we had arepas with queso blanco for breakfast every morning.
The festival was wild. Each event boasted a high quality PA. Some readings drew crowds of 2000. University students flocked to the plazas, cafes, bars and even the psychiatric hospital to hear the poets read. The poets were treated like rock stars. The muchachos and muchachas lined up around the block to have their commemorative collections signed. The poets were cheered on. Young children danced. Old women stood up and closed their eyes as they listened.
On the last night there was a party. Rage Against the Machine competed with salsa music for the revelers’ attention. The muchachos flapped like chickens. The muchachas taught the poets to dance.