Okay, so now that we’ve been here in Colombia for quite some time, we have come to realize that our «10 interesting things”-list that we posted a while back was way too short. Therefore, here comes part two (probably of many more to come):
1) Colombians truly love soda, and it seems as if their affection is towards soda in general. When ordering it, they simply ask for gaseosa (soda), and rarely specify what type they prefer. Soda is soda, right?
2) Etiquette is important in Colombia, but some gestures can be hard to get a hold on. For example, some people, mostly women, substitute shaking hands with holding forearms. It took quite a while before we understood that this was a custom, and not just an awkward handshake-gone-wrong situation.
3. Colombians, especially Colombian women, do not hesitate to change their bodies if they’re not satisfied. According to sources, only four other countries worldwide perform more cosmetic procedures than Colombia. This is also reflected on clothing store mannequins, who are voluptuous so say the least.
4. Traffic in Colombia is crazy! Of course, there are traffic laws, but the locals more or less practice their own laws. Honking is a great way of getting right of way, greeting people you know, giving attention to an attractive person or for whatever cause you feel like. Motorcycles or bicycles are by far the most practical vehicles to get around by. In Bogotá for instance, going by car 10 km, can easily take you an hour or more, as the streets are jam-packed most of the day.
5. No credit on your phone? No problem! On every street corner, you can pay to use someone’s cellphone to make personal calls. Very practical, as prepaid plans are the preferred cellular plan here and you easily run out of minutes, as calling is expensive.
6. Hot tip – always carry toilet paper! Many public bathrooms do not provide toilet paper, and those who do usually have toilet paper outside the stall itself, on the wall next to the sinks.
7. Here, as in many places around the globe, pointing your finger is considered rude. Colombians solved this by creating a new gesture – pointing with your lips. Simply pout your lips in the direction you seek attention to, and everyone will understand it as pointing.
8. You can get anything delivered to your house; groceries, movies, pharmaceuticals, drinks… you name it. If your store/restaurant doesn’t have a delivery system, you can use an independent domicilio (home deliverer) who will go to the store for you and bring you whatever your heart desires directly to your door.
9. You can buy anything on the street! As mentioned above, traffic here is often very slow, permitting street vendors time to sell their products at any given street or intersection. Anything from food and beverages to board games and laundry baskets - literally anything!
10. Manicures and pedicures are very cheap here, and it seems, practically mandatory for women. What’s surprising is that it’s just as common amongst men to get their nails done. Whilst women usually prefer colorful nails with patterns and figures, men usually go for a more modest expression, simply a coat of transparent polish, for sparkle and a fresh look.