When you think of Latin America there is nothing more that comes to the mind other than corruption and disorder. Many have even gone as far to say that part of the charm is the disorder. That charm may be the case when you are visiting for two weeks, but when you are living in a country that’s the last thing you want to deal with. Colombia has blown me in terms of efficiency. So far every place I have been has been quick and orderly.
VERY PROPER & CLEAN -
Why is South America a mess? Because no one follows the rules. Taking driving for example, a two lane street turns into a 4 lane street. In Puerto Rico, and even here in Medellin, they honk when they are driving near an intersection at night to notify everyone else they are not stopping.
It surprised me how much order there is Colombia. There isn’t a sense of ordered chaos like in Argentina, it is by far more orderly. The streets are extremely clean and when I even tried to litter a Colombian asked me what I was doing!
The people are extremely gracious and have proper manners every where you go. Instead of having that awkward moment in the elevator, you are greeted with an “hola” or “buenas”. Walking randomly on the street at 2am? Drunk? No problem, you will still have a friendly hello if you cross paths. Who knew there were cool drunks in the world?
FAR FROM DANGEROUS:
I mentioned this in my preparing for dangers in Colombia post, I do not feel threatened in Colombia. I don’t look over my shoulder and pay attention to who is following me. When someone randomly bumps into me I don’t immediately put my hands on my wallet and camera to make sure no one is trying to rob me. It’s really nice to be in a country where you can place your cell phone on a table without worrying about someone trying to steal it.
MEDELLIN ONLY: JEANS AND SNEAKERS:
The climate is gorgeous in Medellin, on some days it gets a bit warm but for the most part it is a cool 60 degrees F (15 C) at night and in the 70′s (21 C) during the day. Even when it gets very warm in Medellin, no one wears shorts or sandals. Its all about the latest style in Colombia, shorts and sandals are either for the tourists or the coastal cities.
GRINGO IS KING:
Normally cash is king but in Colombia, Gringo is king. When I say Gringo, I mean any white foreigner that comes to the country. The country absolutely thrives on tourism and everyone caters to the foreigners as well. A recent club that I went to on a Wed night actually had more Gringo’s in it than Colombians. I do plan on staying away from Gringo areas and heading delving more into Colombian culture.
Now what can I say here. Most of the women in Medellin and around Colombia really know how to cater to their men. They very passionate and romantic from day one and love attention from… well… Gringos. They are very old fashioned as well as they expect you to take them out and have a good time. Did I mention they were gorgeous? When I visited the center of Medellin for the first time I was breaking my neck looking around everywhere. By the end of the day, I knew there would be more where I was headed so I saved my neck the torture.
In 2nd and 3rd world nations smoking is rampant! After living in Buenos Aires, I really thought I was going to have lung cancer by the time I was finished with my tour around South America. In Colombia, laws restrict smoking in certain indoor locations and have only seen a handful of people smoking while I have been in the country for the last 5 days. Hoorah Colombia, Hoorah!