Thanks Medellin! Especially, to the young, nameless Paisa woman who came to my assistance and to the Metrocable attendants at Line L who then recovered my phone.
This dramatic (for me anyway!) incident happened on our visit to Parque Arvi, a nature area situated just outside of Medellin in Colombia. The day trip involved a Metro ride to Acevedo station, from where we would take the Metrocable K up over the working-class barrios to San Antonio station.
From here transfer to Metrocable Line L which goes non-stop to Parque Arvi. Line L is a one-way cable car trip of just under 20 minutes. The views are spectacular as it makes its way up and over the top of the hill and the valley of Medellin disappears.
Views of Medellin replaced by small farms. Which also soon disappeared, and what remains are magnificent valley views and the jungle with its majestic trees.
I was captivated and took pictures with both my camera and my phone.
The journey was soon over.
We hopped off at Parque Arvi and headed straight across to arrange a guided walk.
At the entrance there was a market of fresh produce and local souvenirs. It was scrupulously clean and neatly laid out. With rows and rows of colourful fruits and delicate handmade products.
As we were wandering through, I reached down to my pocket for my phone.
It wasn't there!
As I frantically ripped open the pockets of my rucksack, I had a desperate sinking feeling. My phone had been left on the seat in the gondola.
I ran back to the station office to find that my limited Spanish didn’t get through to the cable station attendants. Darting around like a headless chicken, I then ran to the information desk to see if there was anyone there that could help. No luck!
As I stumbled through my Spanglish explanation, I was met with blank stares. As I realized that my attempts at communication were failing second by second my level of desperation was ramping up.
At this point I must say that during our travels my phone was my essential travel tool. Used for maps, translations, pictures, bookings, expense tracking, communication and more.
Without it I would be lost!
Colombian Kindness and Help
As I stuttered my way through my request for assistance a young woman turned and with an accented voice said in English, “I think I can help you”.
I felt like an angel had been sent!
With that we turned and as we raced back to the cable station, I explained what had happened. She was Colombian and in Spanish helped to get my message across to the cable station operator. After explaining the situation, we were told that the gondola we had been in was still on its way down.
I thought that we’d been in gondola number 66 and during the wait communicated this to the attendant who spoke to someone on her radio. After a few minutes, the attendant's phone rang and as she listened to the call a puzzled look came over her face. There was no gondola number 66 on this line!!
Twenty minutes had passed and the attendant at the lower level was now looking into each gondola as it arrived. Her phone rang again, and she smiled – he’d found the phone and it was on its way back up in a sealed gondola.
The young woman and her boyfriend who had stayed until this time were now showered with my gratitude and “muchas gracias” thanks.
A few minutes later the gondola arrived wrapped in chevron tape and alone on the seat sat my phone.
Through all this time I had never even got their names, but they'll never be forgotten. Their assistance had been critical in getting back an integral part of my travel life.
Thanks again to my young Paisa saviour, and also to the cable attendants at Metrocable Medellin – I’ll never forget this day.
P.S. I later remembered that gondola number 66 was the first gondola we’d taken on Metrocable K!
I also recommend this trip and a walk around the park.