Appliance Shopping In Medellin

“Would you like the same table as yesterday?” the maître d’ asked as I entered the dining room this morning.

“Black tea with milk?” the waitress asked as I sat down.

“Two eggs scrambled?” confirmed the omelet guy behind the buffet.

The Hotel Park 10, where I’m staying this week in Medellin, is a charming boutique hotel with a pleasant courtyard and comfortable, well-appointed suites. But you can get those things at lots of places. What is very hard to come by is the level of service one enjoys as a guest at the Park 10.

I’m in the city to get the renovation of our recently acquired apartment in El Poblado off the ground. As I said to Marion, my assistant, who is here with me, translating and otherwise facilitating, “It’s hard work spending money in a flurry like this.”

The truth is, we’re not spending that much money. Many things, we’re discovering, from parquet floors to hand-painted tiles, are an absolute bargain.

Other things–anything imported–can be crazy expensive. I don’t understand, given my experience in the five appliance stores we’ve visited to date, how the average guy can afford to buy an oven in this town.

Carlos, my general contractor, says he knows another place…where the prices are much better. We’re headed there this afternoon. Meantime, the apartment has been reduced to a concrete shell with great piles of rubble in many of the rooms. If I didn’t have faith in Carlos and the plan for what comes next, I might well be fully panicked…

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