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March 12, 2022

Medellin: the preening queen

Colombian Monomania-Episode 1

Sneaking around the international barriers to fly from Kunming, China to Medellin, Colombia

  • With all the flights and stopovers, starting at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, April 5th in Kunming and ending on Friday, April 8th at 10:40 AM in Medellin, it will take three days, seven hours, and ten minutes.

  • I will land in seven intermediate cities, including Shanghai, Taipei, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Bogota, and Cali.

  • I will fly on four airlines, including China Eastern, China Southern, United, and Avianca.

  • I will need to stay overnight for changing flights, both in Shanghai and Taipei.

  • The total cost is an amazingly low $1215.

Two factors made it problematic

  • The first was the severe reduction in available flights because of COVID along with the dysfunctionality of websites that I had relied upon before to book my tickets, like and This time I found, a Chinese-based website, to be reliable.

  • The international tensions between the United States and China accounted for not being able to find flights from Los Angeles back to Shanghai. I was able to get around that by routing through Taipei.

What's the plan?

I plan to visit Medellin and Colombia for five weeks, probably doing some two-days trips to Bogota and Cali.

On the first day, I will find an English-speaking university student to be my guide and interpreter.


It will be a working holiday. Normally I speak with my USA clients between 6:00 AM and 11:00 AM my time in China. Since Colombia is the same time as New York City, I will be coaching my clients between 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM from Colombia. The 2:00 AM get-out-of-bed lark that I am will have to become a late-night owl for my time there.

I love Kunming and have no desire to leave. However, maybe Medellin would be a better "best city in the world" choice for me. Getting a retirement visa there is a cinch. And I'll be checking out the prices of apartments and hiring personal assistants and housekeepers. I'll organize and lead my "English Corner Class for the Curious" one or two times while there. I'll also have some dates with a few Colombian ladies. I already signed onto for a month.

The weather is great there, although a bit on the warm side for me. By the way, 28 Celcius is 82 Fahrenheit.














High / Low (°C)

28° / 17°

28° / 18°

28° / 18°

27° / 18°

27° / 18°

28° / 18°

28° / 17°

28° / 17°

27° / 17°

27° / 17°

27° / 17°

27° / 17°


5 days

7 days

9 days

13 days

16 days

13 days

11 days

14 days

14 days

15 days

14 days

10 days

Why and why now?

​I've had a visit to Medellin on the top of my holiday list for a long time. Because of COVID restrictions, it was on the back burner. I decided to stop waiting and put it on the front burner. It looks like I'll still have to go through two weeks of quarantine in Shanghai when I return. But I'm not going to wait anymore. I'll make the quarantine an adventure too.

My good friend Phil Blackmon has been living in Medellin for over a year now and he loves it. Unlike other places I've visited, I have extra good reasons, because of Phil, to believe that I will be fascinated with Medellin and Colombia and the Colombian people.

Two reasons to visit

Both reasons would be sufficient by themselves to take this trip.

The first is just to enjoy the adventure of a new, very different holiday. Although I've visited two border town cities in Mexico before, I've never been to any part of Central or South America.

The second reason is to vet Medellin as a backup city to move to in case there is some reason I don't think it's viable to continue to live in China. After I check it out, it may turn out to be advantageous enough over Kunming for me to move there more immediately. 

Six criteria

In general, I have six minimal criteria to consider a city as a more permanent place to live.

  1. Getting and keeping a visa is not too difficult.

  2. Good weather all year round.

  3. Low prices given the exchange rates of the country's currency with the U.S. dollar.

  4. A big city: minimum one million people.

  5. A good electrical and Internet infrastructure.

  6. I'm going to be seen as special because I'm an English-speaking foreigner.

Currently, China and Kunming satisfy these six criteria, although it does get a bit cold here in the winter.

How well does Medellin meet these criteria?

  1. The visa is a piece of cake. If you can show that you receive at least $900 per month, you can get a retirement visa in Colombia.

  2. Although it may be on the warm side for me, Medellin has got good year-around temperatures. Bogota might be better for me in this regard.

  3. Prices, at least for personal assistants and housekeepers, are even lower than Kunming. When I visit I will check out leasing prices on apartments.

  4. Medellin is big enough with two million people. Bogota might be somewhat better with seven million people.

  5. Phil reports that there is no problem with electrical and Internet infrastructure.

  6. From what Phil says, I will be seen as special there. But that awaits my personal assessment. 

Other criteria

After the first six criteria, other factors will either add to or take away from a country's or city's attractiveness, but they are unlikely to be deal killers.

Start of Colombian Monomania

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