You may or may not have seen Huffington Post’s excellent article detailing 21 reasons Colombia is the happiest country in the world. Well, as a group of international travellers that have lived here for many, many years, we thought we’d bring you some extras.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of people here that are happy, but they’re made even happier after a bottle of ‘guaro’. Knocked back with a group of friends in a cheap bar, there’s nothing that says friendship like a good old bottle of Colombia’s favourite liquor.
Bringing together generations of Colombians, vallenato stands as a musical representation of national pride… Even if it’s not actually that good. The thing is with vallenato, it’s not what’s sung nor even how it’s sung, but that it’s distinctly Colombian. That’s what gets the locals embracing after a night on the booze.
Tiendas are quite possibly the best thing in the world. Hankering for a beer (or coffee, or sandwich, or buñuelo)? Wherever you are, you can guarantee that within 5 minutes you’ll find a tienda full of friendly locals.
Donde hay Poker, hay amigos…
Drinking beers and chatting with friends, who could ask for more?
Fine, telenovelas are objectively bad. Awful, even. But you watch them and you feel a lot better about yourself, your normal life and your normal friends.
Sloths are awesome. End of.
Whatever you may think about Colombian food, it’s certainly fresh. More than anything, however, the reason it makes Colombians so happy is because so many locals really love it with an outrageous passion that, many times, can seem to overpower common sense. A Colombian rice and chicken dish might seem relatively basic for many, but for many of my local friends it’s a gift from the heavens.
Pictures of food
And it’s not just actual food, either. I know from experience that posting a picture of Colombian food on Facebook will get me more likes than any other thing.
Colombian Spanish is so excessively polite that you can’t help but be put in a good mood. I especially love it when they call me ‘Don Paul’. Yeeeeeeeeh.
Old fat men with their t-shirts rolled up
Who wouldn’t be happy if all they had to do was live in a beautiful Colombian pueblo and drink beer with their t-shirt rolled up just above their belly? Where do I see myself in 10 years? With any luck right there with them.
Everyone loves them
Everyone loves Colombians. That’s just science.
Colombians love music. They sing on buses, they sing in bars, they dance in the street and they dance by themselves.
Ok it’s hardly like everyone has a finca, but it would be remiss of me to overlook the sheer joy that must come from owning a flat and a country house.
Minutos a celular
Need to make a phone call but got no credit? FEAR NOT. Somewhere near you will be someone selling ‘minutes’ on their phone. You go up, you ask them for a certain network, and you make the call. Easy.
Whatever you want is nearby
Kind of following on from the minutos. Colombia is a country where some things are furstratingly difficult to find (curry ingredients, for example), but others are right on your doorstep. My friend asked me if I knew anywhere to buy shoelaces – sure enough a guy stands on the end of my street selling shoelaces. I was hungry at night after drinking – sure enough a lady walks down the street selling sandwiches at 3am.
A quite plausible explanation is that everyone is on a sugar rush, since everything down to the bread has a touch of the ‘dulce’ about it.
There’s no arrogance or obnoxiousness about it, but Colombians are generally extremely proud of their country, to the extent that you wonder if every day some people don’t get out of bed with a beaming smile on their face, thrilled only to be Colombian and to be facing a day in their beloved country. Won’t find a Brit doing that, let me tell you.
For years it was negative, now press is uniformly positive
Ok fine, articles about Colombia still have the seemingly obligatory opening few lines about how the country used to be dangerous and blah blah blah, but magazines and papers as distinguished as TIME, the Guardian and NatGeo are all bust scribbling away about the virtues of Colombia. It’s nice to see.
With the Pacific and Atlantic oceans both lapping away at Colombia’s shores, a beach holiday is never far away.
We, as foreigners, are happy
Expats and travelers come to Colombia at times not knowing what to expect, but having spent time among the locals, having enjoyed the country’s spectacular scenery and having had a slice of life in Colombia, most of them fall in love. It’s a country many foreigners are passionate about, and they aren’t afraid to tell the whole world about it. Just look at us.