Because I’m bored. I’m bored of people only relating Colombia to drug trafficking and jungles.
Yes… it’s a stereotype, yes… most of countries have a stigma… yes, we had big drug cartels in the 80’s and 90’s, but there are far more interesting things to know and learn about Colombia.
My fellow countrymen and I have had lots of problems because of this. To tell you a few, airports are a nightmare when you proudly show your Colombian passport; you are at least getting stopped and missing your connecting flight. My brother had all his trainers stabbed at Panamá, all of them (so every time it rains a great memory comes to mind). Some friends have been stopped for hours and scanned with X-rays, I saw when someone in the queue had lots of souvenirs and tablets of chocolates opened and destroyed into tiny pieces -“Ok, no drugs here, carry on”-said the officer- Thank you! Lastly… I’ve heard the comments… -so your teeth are white because of cocaine? – there are plenty of silly comments and stories but I’m going to stop here, because this post is not about the bad.
Don’t get me wrong, we have our problems and every country does, although I don’t like news, documentaries and now tv series promoting the bad for years and years. There is nothings else to say? Come on people!
Instead of getting to know about Escobar, I will teach you other surnames so next time you meet a Colombian you can establish a proper conversation with a different topic.
Keeping with the sporty spirit after the Olympics. Why don’t you Google Nairo Quintana? The first Colombian in history to win both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. Have a look at his documentary called “Little Big Man“.
Have you read any Gabriel García Márquez books? His Noble Prize winning novel “One Hundred Year of Solitude”? According to Vox, this book has the greatest opening of any book ever (ahhhh now you are feeling like reading, aren’t you?) If you aren’t the book worm type, read one of his short stories A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings and get an idea of his extraordinary work.
Not all Colombians are short, have a look at the power of long legs. Clic on the link and watch Caterine Ibargüen winning the women’s triple jump Olympic gold medal in Río.
Have you seen the latest video of Shakira and Carlos Vives? Let me rephrase it, have you danced “La Bicicleta”? It has a great rhythm and you can go for a stroll around Barranquilla (a city on the coast). Yes, we do have cities and shopping centres.
Nevertheless if your mind keeps calling for Medellín you should get to know about ‘Boterismo’. Have you stumble across a fat sculpture in an airport or a square? If so, you have found Fernando Botero‘s work. We call it “Las gorditas”, people and figures in large, exaggerated volume, which can represent political criticism or humor, depending on the piece. Botero’s sculptures and paintings are exhibited in NY, Paris and several places around the world.
Start remembering other Colombian surnames, like QUINTANA, GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, VIVES, BOTERO and not even just surnames of famous people. I know many Colombians that make me proud, starting with los TOLOSA, a fantastic family that likes spontaneous trips and have always been there for me. J.P. SALAZAR, founder of the first team of wheelchair rugby in Colombia, promoting social inclusion and encouraging many people with disabilities to get involved with sports, M. GARCIA, brave enough to start her food business in London, D. VARGAS exhibiting and selling breathtaking paintings, V. ALBA and her spectacular fashion at Bendita Seas, talented art directors, planners, engineers, doctors, …
There are many Colombians with an interesting life story, they are the ones that can teach you the real Colombia. Happy, strong and imperfect and that’s how I love it.