Sometimes I like to think that, after nearly a year in this beautiful country, I´ve gone pretty native. I´m pretty handy on the old chicken bus, (even if I do say so myself), I´ve started doing all the things in this list, and I can even make a pretty mean ajiaco. However, whenever I catch myself getting all complacent about my magnificent progress towards complete Colombianisation, I remind myself of the following habits I can´t bring myself to do, and I realise that I´ve still got a pretty long way to go.
Which should make you ask yourself, ¨How Colombian am I?¨ If you´ve managed to pick up all of the following habits, please let us know, and we´ll be happy to grant you a See Colombia Travel Honorary Colombian Identity. Or, failing that, we´ll be fairly impressed, if a little sceptical…
Serviettes are Essential for Eating.
Colombians love a bit of serviette action. No Colombian house is a home unless there´s at least one ornate serviette holder on display, and boxloads of these handy grease-wipers in stock. If you´ve ever watched a native of this country eat an empanada, piece of cake, or, really, anything that I´d instinctively use my bare hands for, they´ll have a barrier of paper between their skin and the tidbit in question.
I´d like to think that I don´t use serviettes in this manner because I want to limit my use of paper, but then I´d probably use twice as many to clean up the mess I´ve made because I just can´t do it Colombia-style.
Drinking Piping Hot Coffee With a Straw is Fine.
I don´t know why I can´t drink coffee using a straw, but I can´t. It´s like it goes against my very nature or something. I try to reassure myself by saying that a plastic straw would obviously melt in such hot coffee, and thus be impossible to use. I do this while blissfully stirring my coffee with the exact same straw. Did I ever claim to be a consistent person?
The Concept of a Queue is a Very Loose One.
I´m a bit of a queue Nazi. I look askance at people who let even one friend into a line ahead of other people. I feel that they haven´t done the required waiting to justify their advancement, and so should get in line like everyone else. Such actions just bring the very concept – and, by extension, civilisation – into disrepute. And, when I go to a busy shop, there´s no way I´d even say anything to the shopkeeper before everybody else has been fully attended to. I often spend a very long time in shops here. Just imagine my distress in the Bogotá Transmilenio Bus ¨System.¨
Chewing the Seeds of a Grenadilla is Just Weird.
I don´t know why I chew them, and I don´t know why I can´t not chew them, but that´s just the way I am. If it wasn´t, then why would I say I am? Mmmmmm… chewy seeds!!
Pretty Much All Food Needs Salt. A Lot of It.
I just can´t bring myself to pour rivers of salt on everything, and thus, my process of Colombianisation has reached a bit of a hurdle.
The Sound of a Car Horn Causes No Reaction.
It must be the way that I was brought up. Even after all this time, whenever I hear a car horn, I instantly swivel around to the direction from which the sound is emanating, convinced that whoever honked it is ready to have a fight with me. I´m not paranoid, alright? Why does everybody keep on saying that?
You Can Never Have Too Many Plastic Bags.
Alright, so here is where I get up on my soap box. I´ll happily admit that my reasons for not having picked up the above habits are completely irrational and, let´s face it, a bit silly. But there is one thing I still stand firm on. If you go to the supermarket and buy a bottle of soft drink and a bucket of icecream, you DON´T NEED TWO BAGS. The enthusiastic and generous manner in which plastic shopping bags are flung at shoppers, and the blissful calm in which they are received, still gives me the heebie-jeebies. Where are those sexy reusable canvas shopping bags? Surely this is something that can be changed, Colombia?
Sorry about that, I just got a bit worked up. Anyway, how did you do? Are you more Colombian than me? Go on then: prove it. And leave that shopping bag where I can see it.
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