Saturday, April 29, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

Today’s a clear sunny day.

Among new US movie releases there isn’t anything I want to see.  Locally, there isn’t anything I want to see.

I left the apt at 8:35, walked downtown where I bought a Q’hubo newspaper for Chuck, then stopped at La Abuela Isabel where I bought a cake for the 4 of us to share.

I got back just in time for the Today show, I watched the first 30 minutes then Teresa and I left the apt at 9:35.

We arrived at Jose’s house right at 10am.  Jose and I played a game of chess which I won in the endgame when he blundered.  In the second game I blundered in the endgame and he won.

Jose’s wife Maria made us a delicious lunch.

We left there about 3pm, quickly caught a taxi and through heavy traffic we got back to the apt just before 4pm.

Back at the apt I found we didn’t have any wifi.  I reset the router and after that it worked intermittently. 

The Bears traded down in the 2nd round in order to accumulate more picks and then chose TE Adam Shaheen from Ashland.

In Chess Magnet School I was promoted to Duke.


T-shirt of the day: If you don’t want a sarcastic answer don’t ask a stupid question.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The day is finally here, the 1st day of the 2017 NFL Draft.  Tonight we have the 1st round, tomorrow night rounds 2 & 3 and Saturday rounds 4-7.  The first 3 picks go to the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears.  All 3 teams need a franchise quarterback but this isn’t the strongest year for quarterbacks so it might not make sense to pick one so high in the draft, or perhaps it would just be better to wait until next year.  On the other hand, when the 2nd round comes around the top QBs could be gone.  The Bears signed Mike Glennon from the Eagles but that could just be a stopgap measure until next year’s draft.

Per the experts Texas A&M’s defensive end Myles Garrett is the best player in the draft so the Browns might be crazy not to take him with the first pick, especially since they have another 1st round pick – the 12th where they could take a QB.  The second pick in the draft goes to the 49ers and most experts expect them to select Stanford’s defensive end Solomon Thomas.  The Bears, with the 3rd pick, are expected to choose LSU safety Jamal Adams.  
However, any team could trade down, if another team wants to trade up, in order to acquire more picks.  Anyway, it should be interesting and it all begins tonight at 7pm Chicago time.

I was looking at the Direct TV directory and it appears the NFL draft will be broadcast tonight on ESPN 3.  I wonder if it will be in English or Spanish.

The day started out a little overcast but it soon cleared up.

We left the apt at 8:30, and at euro in Mayorista we bought $135 worth of groceries.  We were back at the apt by 10:30.

Teresa told me she would be busy later because she has to make lunch, have her nails done, and go to the gym.  I told her if it would help I could have lunch in El Poblado.

I left the apt at 11:30 and got off the bus outside Barbacoa restaurant.  I looked at their menu and it was almost all burgers so I went next door to Parmessano.  I had their mixed lasagna which is with ground beef and chicken.  It was very tasty and included some hot bread slices with olive oil and a salad.  I also had a coconut lemonade for a total of 33,212 (about $12).

Across the street I took out some cash from a Citibank ATM.  Walking down towards MBE I felt the need to pee.  I stopped in the new Starbucks at One Plaza but the restroom door was locked.  The (whatever the fancy word is for the person who makes drinks; barrister?) told me that someone was cleaning it and should be out in 5 minutes.  I waited 5 minutes then went next door but I didn’t see a bathroom in Dunkin Donuts.  I went into the One Plaza office building and asked a security lady for the restroom.  She told me it’s on the first floor.  (And here I thought I was on the first floor. Lol.)  I got in the elevator and the floors were marked top-to-bottom “2, L, S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6”.  I guessed I was on “L” for “lobby” so I pressed “2” but the elevator didn’t move.  I pressed “S1” and it went down one level where I soon found the restroom.  I guess there are 6 sub-floors which probably include parking.

At MBE they gave me 3 medium-sized boxes – a little too big for me to carry.  I shook the smallest box and the rattling confirmed my suspicions so I opened it and found the soap container I had ordered, and Amazon had sent separately, so I put it in my tech bag.  I paid 37,400 (about $13) extra for the shipping for the 3 boxes.  I also paid 45,000 (about $15) for May’s rental charge.
I quickly caught an Envigado bus and struggled to get on with my packages and pay the 2,000 pesos fare as the bus started moving right away.  I got off at Oviedo mall and at Cava de Quesos I saw an American Bagel sign on a window; I thought they had taken it down.  Inside I didn’t see any bagels – figures.

Outside I waited 5 minutes for a Sabaneta bus and had to drop my packages on the front seat (empty, luckily) to fish out another 100 pesos for the bus driver.

I got off a block from my street and walked the last few blocks back to the apt.

I opened the first box and it contained my Lipton iced tea bags – the one I had ordered just before I noticed they sell them here in Exito.  The second box contained 2 additional soap containers (can’t they count?), a letter puzzle book for Laura, a bottle of Tums and my new sleeping mask.

I was surprised I didn’t have any new emails until Laura came home and told me our internet is out again.  I sure hope the NFL draft tonight on Direct TV is in English!

Our internet connection seems to be intermittent and not very strong at that.

In the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears select … Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina.  They traded up one spot with San Francisco to make this selection.  I’m still waiting to find out what they gave up to make that earlier selection?  Wow! The Bears gave up picks 67, 111 and a third-rounder next year to move up one spot and draft Trubisky No. 2 overall in the 49ers’ spot.

I don’t think SF was really interested in him, I’m pretty sure they were outbidding another team – Cleveland? – for the rights to draft him.

I watched the first hour of the draft on Direct TV with all the analysis done in Spanish.  After that I watched it all on my Slingbox.


T-shirt of the day: I hate it when the voices in my head go silent…I never know what they are planning.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I slept well only waking up once at 5am finally waking/getting up at 8am.

1 more day!

Another overcast day.

I only did 17 of the 18 exercises at the gym because I had to leave at 11:30.  Today, the man who doesn’t speak English, came in and tapped me on the shoulder and said very clearly “good morning”.  Maybe he’s going to study a little.  Seeing a wound on his leg I asked Andres if he had an accident.  He said he was coming home from a party and fell asleep on his motorcycle and fell, injuring his leg.  I told Jose another joke so I’m sure he’ll be expecting a new one everyday now.

I did an Internet speed test using Speedtest.net and I only got 3.87 Mbps download and 2.17 Mbps upload.  (In comparison to test results of 5.13 & 1.06 that I got, respectively, on June 17, 2016.)   I wonder if the upgrade was supposed to be immediate?

The MBE website still shows I have 3 packages at their office in Medellin.  I wonder why they haven’t sent me the usual emails?
I understand we’re going to Euro in Mayorista tomorrow morning for a food run and in the afternoon I’ll go to MBE to pick up my packages.

I finally finished lesson 11 in Rosetta Stone.

I watched The Shawshank Redemption on Youtube; my favorite movie and #1 on imdb.com.


T-shirt of the day: If I had a dollar $$$ for every time $$ I was distracted … I wish I had some ice cream.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Update: Medellin Furnished Apartments Rental Costs - Medellin Living

2017 Update: Medellín Furnished Apartments Rental Costs

Medellin Furnished Apartments
To more accurately answer the question about what the current Medellín furnished apartments rental costs are, with the help of my Colombian wife, we recently surveyed the rental costs of 350 available furnished apartments in several neighborhoods in Medellín.
We only looked in the five most popular neighborhoods for expats living in Medellín: El Poblado, Envigado, Laureles-Estadio, Sabaneta and Belén.
We also only included apartments that have hot water and Wifi available. Several hundred apartments in Medellín are listed on the Airbnb site. And we did not include apartments on the Airbnb site in our survey if they did not have positive ratings, as they are riskier to rent.
Without a surprise, most of the furnished apartments we found in Medellín are located in El Poblado – 70 percent of the furnished apartments we surveyed this year were found in El Poblado.
There are three main websites to find furnished apartment rentals in Medellín
  • Airbnb – has several hundred furnished apartments in Medellín listed, but many of these have no ratings.
  • Casacol – has >100 furnished apartments in Medellín listed.
  • Apartment International – has many apartments listed.
Some furnished apartments are listed on one of the rental company websites as well as the Airbnb site. If an apartment is listed on more than one website we only included it once in our survey.
We also looked for furnished apartments on some Spanish language websites that cater to Colombians for our survey. However, be careful of apartments on Spanish language sites, some have not that many furnishings, some do not have hot water and some do not have Wifi.
Most furnished apartment rentals in Medellín are priced in U.S. dollars. For apartment rentals priced in pesos we used the exchange rate of 2,903 pesos to the U.S. dollar.

Some Initial Survey Findings

Pricing for some furnished apartments in Medellín increases during the popular times of the year such as Christmas, New Years and Feria de las Flores (the Medellín flower festival). We used the low season rental prices in our survey.
Most Medellín furnished apartments rentals we surveyed in the city have a minimum rental period of 1-3 days. But some Medellín furnished apartments we looked at have a minimum rental period of 30 days (less than 10 percent of the apartments surveyed).
For apartments with both daily and monthly rates, the longer-term monthly rate usually reflects a discount to the daily rate. Over 80 percent of surveyed apartments offer a discount for monthly rates compared to daily rates.  The discounts for the monthly rate ranged from 3.3 up to 60 percent compared to the daily rate.
Most furnished apartment rentals in Medellín require a security deposit; 70 percent of the apartments we surveyed required a security deposit. The security deposit charges ranged from $98 to $1,030 and averaged $236.
Many furnished apartment rentals also require a cleaning fee; 78 percent of the apartments we surveyed had a cleaning fee listed. The cleaning fee ranged from $6 to $129 and averaged $26.
We didn’t include security deposits or cleaning fees in our below rental cost survey results.

El Poblado Furnished Apartments

El Poblado is the most popular neighborhood for foreigners living in or visiting Medellín. It is the most upscale neighborhood in the city and is where the most hotels and furnished apartments catering to foreigners are located.
In my first few visits to Medellín in 2007 to 2009, I rented furnished apartments in El Poblado.
El Poblado is primarily an Estrato 6 neighborhood with 74 percent of the households rated at Estrato 6. It is also where the most expensive real estate and most expensive apartment rentals in the city are located.
El Poblado survey of 246 furnished apartment rentals results:
  • 132 apartments were 1-bedroom or studios with rents ranging from $29 to $132 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $871 to $3,770 per month.
  • 56 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $36 to $252 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $851 to $5,700 per month.
  • 38 apartments were 3-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $47 to $278 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $980 to $6,670 per month.
  • 20 apartments were 4-bedroom to 8-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $195 to $839 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $1,627 to $21,000 per month.
Average Furnished Apartment Rental Costs in El Poblado
Average Furnished Apartment Rental Costs in El Poblado

Laureles-Estadio Furnished Apartments

Laureles-Estadio is likely the second most popular neighborhood for foreigners visiting Medellín. It is primarily a residential neighborhood with many areas with tree-lined streets and fewer high-rise apartments than are found in El Poblado.
Laureles-Estadio is primarily an Estrato 4/5 neighborhood with 99 percent of the households rated at Estrato 4 or 5.
Laureles-Estadio survey of 46 furnished apartment rentals results:
  • 32 apartments were 1-bedroom or studios with rents ranging from $14 to $61 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $337 to $1,800 per month.
  • Seven apartments were 2-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $34 to $63 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $750 to $1,349 per month.
  • Seven apartments were 3-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $44 to $91 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $947 to $1,191 per month.
Average Furnished Apartment Rental Costs in Laureles-Estadio
Average Furnished Apartment Rental Costs in Laureles-Estadio

Furnished Apartment Costs in Other Neighborhoods

Our survey also found furnished apartments in Envigado, Sabaneta and Belén with a summary of these results as follows:
Envigado is another popular neighborhood for foreigners visting and living in Medellín. It is less commercial than El Poblado and like Laureles-Estadio has many areas with tree-lined streets and fewer high-rise apartments than are found in El Poblado.
Envigado survey of 25 furnished apartment rentals results:
  • Four apartments were 1-bedroom or studios with rents ranging from $15 to $76 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $328 to $2,294 per month.
  • 10 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $26 to $100 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $644 to $1,979 per month
  • Eight apartments were 3-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $35 to $89 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $627 to $2,127 per month.
  • Three apartments were 4-bedroom to 6-bedroom with daily rates of $40 and $139 and monthly rates of $1,075 and $5,675 per month.
Sabaneta is a separately administered municipality within the Medellín metro area that is rapidly becoming popular with expats.  It is located directly south of Envigado. Sabaneta is much smaller than El Poblado with a population of about  55,000.  I currently live in Sabaneta.
Sabaneta is primarily a residential community. In Sabaneta, you will find several neighborhoods similar to El Poblado with high-rise apartment buildings but they tend to be a bit more spread out. Also in Sabaneta you can find some quiet streets lined with one-story, two-story and three-story attached homes.
Sabaneta survey of 16 furnished apartment rentals results:
  • Three apartments were 1-bedroom or studios with rents ranging from $29 to $49 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $707 to $1,024 per month.
  • Seven apartments were 2-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $35 to $43 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $529 to $1,015 per month.
  • Six apartments were 3-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $33 to $110 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $789 to $2,838 per month
Belén is a neighborhood that is increasing in popularity for foreigners living in Medellín. Belén is where I lived for about four years in three different barrios (Fatima, Loma de Los Bernal and Los Alpes).  I rented a furnished apartment in Belén for three months as a trial of living in Medellín in 2010.
Belén is more of a working-class community with 98 percent of housing in Estrado 2 to 5 and only 2 percent in Estrato 1.
Belén survey of 17 furnished apartment rentals results:
  • Eight of the apartments were a 1-bedroom with rents ranging from $18 to $49 per day.  The monthly rates ranged from $483 to $1,176 per month.
  • Five apartments were 2-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $24 to $55 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $691 to $1,315 per month.
  • Four apartments were 3-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $35 to $58 per day. The monthly rates ranged from $836 to $1,391 per month.
Apartment buildings in El Poblado near Santafé mall
Apartment buildings in El Poblado near Santafé mall

The Bottom Line

There is a wide range of Medellín furnished apartments available for rent ranging from economical to luxury. El Poblado is where most of the furnished apartments in Medellín are available but El Poblado is also where the most expensive real estate in the city is found.
Medellín furnished apartments are more expensive to rent on average in El Poblado than in the other areas of Medellín. You can save on a furnished apartment rental in an area outside of El Poblado, such as Laureles-Estadio, Envigado, Sabaneta or Belén.
There are now more Medellín furnished apartments available outside of El Poblado compared to our surveys in previous years.  As a result, you now have more choices available.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2 more days!

Despite getting up twice during the night I felt I slept well waking/getting up at 7:30am.

It’s a very overcast day looking like it might rain later.

Still no wifi.

Uh-oh, I checked my notes and it appears that El Viejo y El Pancake is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so I guess we’ll be going somewhere else for lunch today.

I left the apt at 9:15 and immediately caught a bus.  I only had to wait a minute for a metro train and again caught a metro train at San Antonio without any wait.  I arrived at Liga de Ajedrez at 10am.

We played 2 games winning one and losing one.  We had some off and on rain while we were playing.  I gave him the bad news that El Viejo y El Pancake is closed on Tuesdays.  We walked out to 50th street where we caught a taxi to Laureles.  The driver dropped us off at Alicate restaurant behind McDonald’s on Avenida Nutibara.  I thought they would have lasagna on their menu but I guess their lunchtime menu is more limited.  I had chicken breast Italiano and Jose had beef Italiano.  Our plates came with cole slaw and French fries.  I had a Te Hatsu and he had a soda.  The total came to 60,000 pesos or about $11 apiece.

We walked to Mall Laureles where we played 2 more games both of which I won.  We walked to Avenida 80 where we said goodbye and I caught a Circular Sur 302 bus.  Traffic was slow and the bus didn’t move very fast and with all the people it got a little warm inside.  At Aguacatala station I waited about 15 minutes for a train but at least it wasn’t overly crowded.  At Envigado Station I waited on the Metro bus for about 10 minutes for it to fill up.

I got back to the apt at 7pm and found we have our wifi/internet connection back.  I understood the Une guy was here and of course he told Teresa we could get wifi, internet, and a landline phone for less than we pay for Direct TV.  I told her no thanks.  I have over 100 emails to catch up on.

We got some rain in the evening and overnight.

I watched a special about Albert Einstein on History channel.


T-shirt of the day: Sometimes I wake up grumpy.  Other times I let her sleep.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

3 more days!

Despite getting up twice during the night I slept well waking/getting up at 8am.

It’s an overcast day.

Still no wifi.

I called Jose Cruz and told him I haven’t had wifi since Saturday night but I can meet him at Liga de Ajedrez tomorrow at 10:15.
I had Laura call Une and later I was told they should be here tomorrow afternoon at 2pm.  I also asked her to ask them to increase our speed from 5Mbps to 10Mbps so we’ll see.

I watched the first 15 minutes of the Today show and left just as the weather report came on.

There’s a man with a stand selling snacks outside Exito.  If you get there early as he’s just about to open you can see him doing his “warmup” exercises which remind me of the mating dance of the sandhill crane.  Lol.

It took 2 hours and 5 minutes to do all but my Glute exercises.  I told Jose and Oscar a joke as Jeison soon joined the listening group.
Back at the apt I won another game against Shredder at the Patzer level.

About 3pm Teresa left with her mother to look at material for the old couch.  I guess blue doesn’t go well with the new flesh colored material.  I left to go pick up a few things from Exito.  On my way back I saw very dark clouds to the south.  It looks like Sabaneta is going to get poured on.

I played another game against Shredder at the Patzer level and this time I lost.  I played him again and lost again.  I played a 3rd game and won that one.

Teresa came back at 6:45 and told me that they want too much money (300,000 pesos) to reupholster the couch.  She also informed me that I bought the wrong type of arepas.  Uh-oh.  Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve bought arepas and I didn’t remember what they were called.

I watched the first episode of Genius on National Geographic Channel of Direct TV.


T-shirt of the day: ALCOHOL – because no great story every starts with a salad.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

4 more days!

Still no wifi.

I understand Teresa really doesn’t like the television in the living room with all its wiring.  It sits on a table and on the shelves underneath there is the Direct TV box, the cable box, the Wifi router, my little TV Listener box, and now my SNES box.  Each has at least a power cord leading to the power strip.  I know it’s unsightly but if we can find the proper table we can at least get the cables out of sight.

Jose invited me via email to meet him Tuesday at Liga de Ajedrez.  This time I’ll take my own chess set so we can have lunch at El Viejo y El Pancake.

We lost our wifi signal so that limits the things I can do.  I asked Teresa about Tuesday and she said her mother has a doctor’s appointment but they can do that together.  I did a couple Rosetta Stone lessons and then, for the first time, I started playing some chess games against Shredder.  He pretty easily killed me at his normal grandmaster level so I handicapped him with the strength of Drunk and I beat him easily.  I changed his strength to Moron and won easily again.  I set him to Patzer and won that one easily also.  I tried Tit-for-tat and it gave me a fairly close game that I won in the endgame.

About 1pm Laura went out to Frisby and brought back chicken for lunch.

We left the apt just before 4pm, quickly caught a taxi and arrived at Santafe mall just after 4.  Teresa and Laura went to check out Zara and I went to buy tickets for Fast and Furious 8 3D.  There weren’t any decent regular seats left so I bought 3 preferred seating tickets for 70,500.  I already had 2 sets of 3D glasses so I only had to buy one more for 2,800 pesos.  I made a quick trip to the ATM for a little cash and found the ladies in Zara 20 minutes before showtime.  We had our snacks 10 minutes early (47,000 pesos) so we sat down in their café for a few minutes. 

In our seats we had to wait through 30 minutes of coming attractions (The Wall, Guardians of the Galaxy) and advertisements.  Teresa and I were both bored with the movie but Laura got to see her idol – Jason Statham.  I can’t believe how many cars and trucks they destroyed to make this movie – unless it was movie magic.

There was still no internet when we got back to the apt.

I won a close game against Shredder at Patzer level.


T-shirt of the day: The beatings continue until morale improves.