‘Colombia has so much to offer – the best coffee in the world, cuisine that takes carbo-loading to the next level, weird looking yet tasty fruits you can’t find anywhere else, magnificent handicrafts from different indigenous groups, a Caribbean coast with the vibrantly colored colonial (and party) town Cartagena, Cafe Havana, breathtaking (literally) landscape 4000m above sea – and I know I have only scratched the surface. And the music! People live and breathe music. There’s music everywhere you go – in the bus, stereos blasting on the streets from people’s homes, even at Immigration! The immigration officer was listening to salsa and moving to the music as she went through my passport!!! Most importantly though, it’s the friendly and happy people that made my trip unforgettable. Until next time!’
This was the post my friend wrote on her way out of the country. I couldn’t have put it better myself so I have re-posted this here. Critics of my blog have complaint that I only give Colombia a bad rap, that I only complain, that I should just go home (jaja!). Rather, I am more about telling the truth and saying what I think. Full stop.
And the truth here is, I have heard a lot about how foreigners who after having travelled around Colombia, decide that this is their favorite country in Latin America, usually to their surprise (and to mine as well!). Having lived here for more than 3 years now, (which makes me a ‘senior expat’ because most foreigners cannot stand more than 2 years of Colombian problems, a lot of which are featured here on this blog), the Colombian pride might have brushed off on me, and I may be biased. There’s definitely a lot of cool stuff here, but I generally don’t believe ‘the best’ exists. Though after having a chitchat with Colombians you just met, you will probably notice the undeniable pride among them for their country. ‘We have the best coffee!’ ‘We have the most beautiful women!‘ ‘We have the best salsa!’ ‘We have the most beautiful landscapes!’ ‘We have the best arepas!’
The bottomline is, come and see it for yourself! I’m sure there’s a lot more in Colombia than you would expect, and certainly not the white powder that you’re thinking about and my advice is not to mention it if you speak to any Colombians, who hate it as the cause of their bad rap.
NB on the ‘favourite status’: I believe the precious status was attained due to a total lack of expectation of what Colombia might offer, plus the rather off-the-beaten-track condition since Colombia had been regarded as ‘dangerous’ and had been on the ‘travel warning lists’ for quite some time.. As a result, tourist sights are still relatively untarnished, frequented by mostly domestic tourists. The problem of writing about how great Colombia is would be the risk of making it more popular and therefore more travelled and less special..
Also, the favorite status is reserved just for the travelling bunch for sure. As one might suspect, it’s totally different travelling in a country and living in one. Yes, I prefer Mexico city, Buenos Aires and Havana. Most likely because I am not living there!
Travelling through a country gives you a postcard impression of a place while living there means confronting the daily drudgery that is reality. On the other hand, Colombia really is a destination that interests me.
BA may be cool, but many Argentinians take a LOT of pride in their country, so gloating over national achievements is certainly not confined to Colombia.