Bottles, Botanics, and Boteros

I realized after my last post that I write a lot about drinking.  I, and many friends and family members, enjoy a happy hour drink and drinks during lunch when on vacation, but I am more and more aware these days of the effects of excessive drinking.

You can’t go into anywhere without seeing signs like these, which are marketed to women and sold as “art.”

They’re all over social media, too.

Now you know me—I’m not one to be cynical—but is there some plot afoot by the Wine Bottlers Association of America to get women to drink more?

According to “the experts,” one drink per day should be the limit for women.  That seems restrictive.  That’s on average, right?  So can I have two drinks per day three days in a row and then just one more the rest of the week?   Does it mean I’m an alcoholic that I am asking these questions?

Before saying our good nights in Park Lleras, we conferred on the plan for the next day.  Ricardo, Roxana, and Gaby were going shoe shopping at a mall.  Lynn and I exchanged a nano-glance and declined to join them.  But we would meet them the next evening for another meal.

I was fixated on visiting the Botanical Gardens.  In the depths of winter, I become obsessed with plants.  I buy plants at the grocery and make plans based on whether there’s a greenhouse nearby where I can buy plants.  I repot the plants that have barely lived through winter, spreading dirt and tools and rocks all over the kitchen floor. My bedroom is so full of plants that the windows fog up.  Still, I want more.

First we had to find the Metro Station again.  Lynn and I managed to walk to Park Lleras, then using my unfailing sense of direction, we struck out in what I thought was the path we’d followed with the guide the day before.

Of course we got lost, but we saw some great plant sights along the way.

I asked for directions, in Spanish, and actually understood the simple answer.  It’s times like these I am so grateful for the four years I studied Spanish.

In minutes the Metro had whisked us to the stop for the Botanical Gardens, where we appreciated yet more murals—these were on pillars under the train platform.

The gardens turned out to be a work in progress.

“It’s not exactly the Lost Gardens of Heligan, is it?” Lynn commented.

The much ballyhooed orchid house held only a few puny specimens, although the building itself was impressive and I’m sure it’ll wow in time.

There was one column full of enormous Stag Horn Ferns.

Of most interest were the yoga class and photo shoot for … a quinceanera?

We had read that these gardens were home to “more than 1,000 living species and 4,500 flowers.”  I thought flowers were living species?  Regardless, we highly doubted if there were anything near that many species, unless—which is entirely possible—we missed some huge swath of the park.

There was a bamboo forest.

I have this plant at home but it’s about 1/10 the size.

The ever-popular unfurling fern photo.

After half an hour we headed for the restaurant, which had plant-covered pillars.

It was a very good restaurant and we spent a couple hours there consuming yet more ceviche and fish main dishes and a bottle of wine.  The girl in the fancy dress and her family—the women attired in bedazzled dresses and the men in suits right out of The Godfather—were seated at the table next to ours.  It turned out the young woman was graduating from college.

We hopped back on the train and returned to the square with all the Boteros, which had a museum we hadn’t had time to visit the previous day.

We saw this sign from above.  Hatikvah means “hope” in Hebrew and is Israel’s national anthem.  I had seen several stores with Jewish names but when I asked Daniella if there was a Jewish community in Medellin it was as if she had no idea what Jews were.

There was a collection of (surprise!) Boteros inside, including this voluptuous sculpture.

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