Category Culture

An exemplar of High Maintenance

Well, last week, Miss Colombia was crowned Miss Universe after 57 years of Colombian absence from the throne (One good thing that came out of this competition is surely the correct spelling of the country’s name. Columbia no more!). So it’s about time to explain why Colombian women are seen as beautiful. After doing some anecdotal research (which includes […]


Phone ringing.. ‘Where are you?’ ‘I’m coming.’ *Did I ask what you were doing?*   ‘Where are you?’ ‘Around Calle 85’ *But where? By the way the 85th is 1 km long*   Calling again.. ‘Where are you?’ ‘I’m coming to get the keys!’ *AGAIN?*   ‘WHERE are you??!’ ‘I’m at Calle 95!’ *AGAIN?*   In […]

How can I send my postcard?

We were just talking about finding postcards for tourists. Let’s say you finally got yourself some dainty postcards, and you’ve set aside time to write them. Now, you need to post them. But how? There’s no postal service in Bogotá. Or, let me correct myself. There’s no efficient and reliable postal service here. The publicly run 472 will […]

Yesica, nice to meet you!

  Non Bogotá residents may be surprised at the fact that such a picture merits a post, whereas Bogotá residents will know how it feels to have a miracle dawn on you when a Colombian spells your very ordinary foreign name right, and in my case, not ‘Yesica’. This miracle occured at Starbucks. However much I’m against big […]

Get shitted on because you are standing under a shitting bird

Friday is special discount day on wines at Carulla – the atrociously overpriced supermarket. So the other day I went to exercise my customer right of paying fair prices. I was delighted and proud when I found a Viña Tarapaca 2010 Gran Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for an unusually reasonable price – at COP 30.000 / […]

Another reason to party

So, another year, another Halloween, except that every year Halloween craze just gets bigger and bigger. Last year, I had the chance to see how lively the streets gets, as everyone goes out for a bit of fun in their costume and makeup. However, I don’t seem to recall that people actually have Halloween parties at the offices! So […]

Monster fruit! Curuba

I’ve covered a few different exotic fruits before. The variety of fruits here can be rather bemusing, especially when they are not commonly found elsewhere and many of their names in at least 4 syllables. There is granadilla, maracuya, guanabana and pitaya (perhaps the easiest to remember by far!).. Indeed, there are so many of them that going to the green […]

When ‘On my way’ doesn’t mean on my way

Colombians’ time perception translated – for the benefit of newly arrived foreigners who are still acclimatising to the culture here. I’ve often been deceived (perhaps unintentionally, in their defence?) when meeting the locals, when the person I’m supposed to meet says ‘ya voy en camino’ (I’m already on my way). The expression actually means something really […]

How to say no in Bogotá

Foreigner: My dear, let’s go to the cinema! Bogotano: We’ll see.   Foreigner: Can we go to the supermarket to get some tea? Bogotano: Er..   Foreigner: It’s Sunday! Looks like it’s gonna be a nice day! Shall we go to La Candeleria and have tamales and go to the Museum of Central Bank? Bogotano: Let’s […]

Who the f is this?

Colombian phone calls The phone rings You pick up the phone, ‘hello.’ ‘Who am I speaking to?’ WTF? YOU called me, and you’re asking me ‘WHO I am???’ Is there something wrong with you?! This is quite a typical phone call that you will receive here. I’m yet to understand how this phone etiquette came into being. When […]