On our second episode of the Medellin Podcast, I took questions from people online about Colombians.

From left to right: Felipe Quintana, Me, Joel Duncan, Jason Agudelo.

Why Medellin?

The first question is “why do you live in Medellin?” If you’ve read my blog before you may have come across my blog post on the 5 Reasons Why I Love Medellin.

At minute 6:45 I mention that Medellin is a very livable city. What I mean by that is that even though there is some traffic problems, it’s nothing like Bogota or Los Angeles; furthermore, it’s affordable ESPECIALLY for someone that makes dollars. Right now the dollar is basically 3 to 1.

Why are Colombian Always Late!?

On minute 13:58 I ask, “Why are Colombians always late to things?”

Jason, who is Colombian says, “It’s in our veins.” But I disagree; I’m 100% Colombian, but I grew up in the United States, and I hate being late to things, including something as small as watching the previews before a movie. If anything, I think it’s in Colombian’s culture to accept being late.

I really liked Felipe’s opinion that he thinks that those Colombians that are typically late are generally selfish.

Our conclusion was that it’s safe to assume that people are going to be late, so if you’re habitually on time, don’t freak out if someone is an hour or more late to your meeting.

Why Do Colombians Point With Mouth?

On minute 21:03 I ask, “Why do Colombians point with their mouth?”

It’s a funny quirk that many don’t notice, but in fact, Colombians will use their mouth to point to something when they want to be discrete.

Jason explained that when he was a kid, his mom would scold him when pointing with his finger. So it was something that is cultural.

Why are Paisas so Friendly?

On minute 29:29 I ask, “Why are Paisas so friendly?”

When you compare Paisas (or Colombians for that matter) to many places in the world, they are more friendly.

I come from Orange County, where road rage, self-checkout lanes at the supermarket, and not knowing your own neighbor’s name are commonplace. Therefore, it’s refreshing to be in a place where people go out of their way to help you when you’re lost, say hello and goodbye on the elevator.

Why Do Colombians Hate Slamming Car Doors?

At minute 38:00 I ask, “Why do Colombians hate when you slam the car door?”

First of all, if you’re new to Medellin and/or Colombia, please remember not to slam the car door shut. Taxi drivers and Ubers absolutely hate it.

We all had pretty much the same idea. It is because acquiring a car in Colombia is very difficult for people. Having a job that allows you to save up enough money, or having the credit rating and bank history required to get a car loan is not something everyone has. Therefore, people take very good care of their car when they get one, so slamming their door feels like you’re trying to ruin something very valuable to them.

Why Can’t Colombians Sit Still When They Hear…

On minute 41:42 I ask, ‘Why is it hard for Colombians to sit still when they hear “En los anos mil siecientos…tan, tan, tan?”‘

Those are the lyrics to a very famous salsa song by Joe Arroyo called “La Rebellion.”

It’s a staple at any Colombian party, nightclub, etc. I think it transcends Colombia, where any salsa lover will get up and dance when that song is played.

Why do Paisas say Que Pena?

On minute 43:48 Joel asked, “Why do Paisas say Que Pena for everything?”

“Que pena” basically translates to “I’m sorry.”

To someone that doesn’t know the culture here the expression “que pena” may sound almost insincere and at times even condescending. When you understand the use of the word, you realize that the word is actually being used to mean that I’m very sorry and ashamed.

What is Colombia Famous For?

On minute 45:48 I asked, “What is Colombia famous for?”

Apart from Pablo Escobar, cocain, and Narcos, Colombia is famous for emeralds, Coffee, soccer, it’s bio-diversity, the rainforest, flowers, the myth of El Dorado, the Andes mountains, beautiful women, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Fernando Botero, and a very large variety of birds.

Why is Colombian Food so Bland?

On minute 56:18 I asked, “why is Colombian food so bland?”

Many foreigners and maybe even some locals feel this way because they’re only used to the food made in whatever region they live in.

For example, if you live in Medellin, and you don’t have the budget to eat at great restaurants, you’re probably going to $8,000 peso lunch spots that don’t have a wide range of ingredients. So you’re eating a thing piece of meat, white rice, and soup.

However, if you have the budget you can experience a plethora of flavors that are not brought on by millions of immigrants (an advantage first world nations have), but that are indigenous to the region.

The best way to actually know Colombian food is to visit each region and try their food. Then you will truly know the diversity of Colombian food.

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