Krithika Narayan, Class of 2020
Colombia was a whirlwind of 360 Boothies living their best (or alternatively most hungover) lives. Landing in Bogotá on Friday, (shoutout to the Boothies stuck in Toronto) we had the chance to experience the joys of MPP - aka bumping into Boothies all the time - on a different continent. Many of us realized our high school Spanish would absolutely not be enough to get sim cards and quickly latched onto that one friend who could pave our way to mediocre Colombian 4G and Google Translate. Over the next two days, we took in the sights and sounds of the city, hiking up Monserrate for stunning views and walking around the vibrant neighborhood of La Candelaria with hole-in-the-wall chicha (corn liquor…I think) bars. Modo organized an incredible Saturday night at the Restaurant Andres Carne de Res slightly outside of Bogotá, where they hosted us with great food, great music, and some strangely dressed animal-head figures who sported BDSM paraphernalia and periodically showered us with confetti.
Bright and early the next morning, with face glitter everywhere, we packed our bags to head to Medellín. The city is best known for being the home of Pablo Escobar, who even today remains incredibly divisive among locals. Boothies took tours around Plaza Botero, with its oversized statues, and Comuna 13, which was formerly plagued by drug and gang wars. The Comuna continues to transform its violent history into creativity and progress, prompting many to take the graffiti walking tours and see for themselves the revitalization effort. Some of us visited a local coffee farm, where we acted briefly as free labour as we harvested coffee beans, and enjoyed the views of the surrounding hills from the roofs of our Jeeps.
Day 4 saw all the Boothies climbing the stark El Peñon de Guatapé, a massive stone rising over 650 feet out of the flat ground and boasting stunning views of the surrounding Peñol -Guatapé reservoir. In true B school style, we ended the day with the first of three yacht parties, complete with free-flowing guaro, the signature #modoColombia playlist and 350 of our best friends.
From Medellín, we continued on to Cartagena, the charming beach town with the most colourful, vibrant streets. Rooftop dinners and parties were the order of the day, along with brilliantly fresh seafood, very humid warmth, and cooling sunset drinks. Modo’s Float Fest was a particular highlight. They organized the entire group onto ~20 boats and took us out to the beautiful Islas Rosarios for a day-long beach party.
We ended the trip with a relatively relaxed day and yacht party #3, embracing the warm night before we headed back to the 30 degree weather of Chicago. The trip was an incredible experience, and the trek leaders and modo travel did a fantastic job of it! (So many unnecessary #FyreFest emojis.) We walked away with the best memories, strengthened and new friendships, and best of all, a great tan to hide under our coats. #modoColombiaOUT