Posts Tagged ‘Valle de Cauca’

Spent the weekend in Buga (Valle de Cauca) – just outside of Cali.  I didn’t get any photos but it’s a beautiful little touristy town (and one of the oldest in Colombia so it has that ‘Cartagena feel’).  Buga is mainly known for a famous Basilica – blessed by a former pope that attracts three million people a year.

I spent most of Saturday in the office with one of Colombia’s hard working vascular surgeons, Dr. Jhon Jairo Berrio.  That Saturday he saw about 40 patients between his office in Tulua and his second office in Buga.

Dr. Jhon Berrio with his wife, Maria Victoria on a Sunday morning in Buga

The majority of patients were referred for venous problems (varicose veins, venous stasis disease) but there were a few patients with peripheral arterial disease as well.

I got a chance to meet his lovely family which includes his wife, Maria Victoria.  She is a dentist and they share a spacious office (with several exam rooms, X-ray, etc.) at the Buga location.

Sunday, he had multiple surgeries scheduled – but alas! I was scheduled to come here, to Medellin for a few days before returning to Bogotá.  However, it was still a good opportunity to see the doctor in action.

Toured the hospital in Tulua as well, which was formerly the Hospital Occidental.  As an interesting side note – this hospital was previously supported with funds from narco-trafficking.  When the government attempted to close the hospital – the outcry from local residents who rely on its services was deafening – and prevented it’s closure.   It was then converted to a state facility, but derives much of its technology and equipment from its previous financial backers generosity.

Cali (and surrounding areas) themselves were different from what I had anticipated; Cali is less sophisticated than Medellin or Bogotá – by still has its distinct charms.  The weather is definitely better than what I expected.  While hot, it was not oppressive and the promised afternoon breezes arrived from the mountains just as reported.  The visits to Tulua and Buga were a great way to experience life outside the big city.  (Sometimes when you are living in Bogotá – it feels more like London or other global cities.)

It is however, very much a tropical clime – the appearance of large numbers of motorcycles and scooters gives weight to this.  The bikes serve as affordable, convenient and economical transportation for large numbers of citizens in these communities.  It isn’t entirely uncommon to see an entire family; husband, wife and child on the back of one of these bikes.  While certainly dangerous – for many of the lower class – it is the most reasonable option.  It’s not uncommon to see riders with their pets or large packages in arms as they criss-cross the city.


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