Tuesday, May 25, 2010

53 little things we learned in Colombia (Wednesday, May 5)

In no particular order:

1) Little pickled, salted carrots are the best chaser for aguardiente.

2) Wine is generally terrible.

3) Do not trust people.

4) Trust people.

5) A gram of pure cocaine can run you $3 USD.

6) Do not drink too much aguardiente (see #1).

7) Medellin is the plastic surgery capital of Colombia, and quickly becoming the plastic surgery capital of South America. For their quincineras, girls often get their boobs and their butts done.

8) Newly done butts can "burst" during sex. It is inadvisable to have sex soon after plastic surgery.

9) There are only 3 TV channels and 2 newspapers, all of which are owned by companies that also have extensive commercial interests. This is bad.

10) Manzana Postobon is perhaps the best soft drink ever invented.

11) Bandeja paisa is for serious.

12) Hot water is NOT overrated.

13) Yerba buena is not mala.

14) "Cogalo" means "grab him." As in, "He snatched my bag, cogalo!"

15) Do not try to buy dairy products.

16) Water is cheaper when you buy it in a bag, not a bottle.

17) Exito is a backpacker's best friend.

18) Contact solution is obscenely expensive.

19) Transmilenio is our jam.

20) Cazuela de mariscos at Casa de Socorro in Cartagena is worth every penny.

21) The Cartagena breeze is the world's gift to us.

22) The weather in Medellin is the best in the country, maybe compensating for the fact that despite its extraordinary advances, Medellin remains the capitol of all of the dark undercurrents in Colombia.

23) The Kiwis and the Germans run the best, cleanest, most efficient hostels.

24) EVERYBODY cares about soccer.

25) Andres Carne de Res is like a Disneyland of meat and decadence.

26) Aguardiente appears, and then it disappears (see #1 and #6).

27) Colombianas. This may require a separate list.

28) Don't try to get anything done between 11:30-2:30. Or after 4.

29) Fuck Bancolombia.

30) Depending where you are in Bogota, a llamada can run you 150-250 COP a minute.

31) EVERYBODY gets their nails did.

32) Parque Independencia is the parque for us.

33) Aguila!

34) We like onces, the midafternoon coffee and snack.

35) Yes, it is possible to eat cereal and mangoes for dinner for 10 weeks.

36) The Swiss have the coolest passports...

37) ... and they're not part of the European Union.

38) Gabriel can't say "huevos revueltos."

39) Squeaky white queso fresco is best eaten after soaked in a mug of hot chocolate.

40) Squeaky white queso fresco is next best eaten heated up and smothered in oozing, warm arequipe.

41) Spending every waking minute with your spouse leads to the development of some very weird habits.

42) There are good arepas and there are bad arepas.

43) Killing a chicken ... not that big of a deal.

44) Castrating a bull ... a very big deal.

45) There is a giant white bull named Toby living in southern Colombia.

46) People are not shy about staring at Asians.

47) Colombia fought in the Korean War, which was the first international conflict after Colombia was accepted into the United Nations.

48) Less than 2 percent of the country is wired for high speed Internet.

49) Sometimes a PR campaign is just PR.

50) Law & Order SVU and House can be watched at any hour of the day.

51) Gabriel can indeed get motion sickness, at least in the mountain range between Cali and Ibague. Also, puking in a dark bus toilet while winding through mountain switchbacks at an alarming speed is difficult.

52) The roadside cafe outside of the bus station in Zipiquira has perhaps the best pollo asado in all of Colombia.

53) At clubs, you can hire an "angel" to drive your car home for you. Drunk driving rates have been cut significantly. Los Angeles should do this.