An interpreting assignment in Bogotá was offered so I jumped on it. I flew to Medellín on Saturday, and today my wife and I came to the capital. It’s great to be back in Colombia even if it’s just a week.

Following are some curiosities that I found worthy of a picture.

Yesterday’s menu referred to chicken wing drumsticks as “colombinas de pollo” (chicken lollipops).

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On our way to the airport today we passed this load of bricks. They tend to be hollow here and are used for structure rather than siding, although they may be exposed and varnished.

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This itinerant vendor was offering pineapples for CP$2500 (90 cents US) apiece.

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Colombia, Food, Language, My life, Spanish, Travel

A week in Colombia

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12 thoughts on “A week in Colombia

  1. Is that a slice of plantain above the lollipops? That would be a rare treat here.

    Hollow bricks make a lot of sense. Weight, insulation, cost… Any idea how they produce them? Is there a core to the mould that gets removed (could be sticky, and may require steeper draft angles than obvious in the pic, and release agents, and other fiddly stuff) or do they have a core of something like straw, which burns out when the brick gets fired?

    • There is a brick factory by the river below where we lived outside of Medellín. We used to go down and watch the workers. The brick mud was shoveled into a hopper where it was whipped smooth and extruded through a nozzle that created the holes. It came out in a long serpent, and the workers cut it by hand with thin wire mounted on a gizmo that had a stop so that two or three bricks were cut exactly to size. That was 40 years ago. It is probably more automated now.

  2. I do hope there will be an answer to the genesis of those bricks. Duncan, you are asking the right person at least. I’m assuming his knowledge of Spanish contains an enhanced vocabulary of construction/masonry terms. Mine in Hebrew is similarly skewed. But with plenty of coarse adjectives for a local cement block which falls apart when hit with a medium-weight feather.

    • Back in the day, roof tiles were created one by one by a man with a rectangular frame made of 1x1s and a length of broomstick. He tossed a lump of mud into the frame and smoothed it out with the broomstick, screeding off the excess. Then he slid it off the edge of the table onto a hand-held curved mold, shaped the rectangle down around it, and carefully unloaded it onto a cart, sliding the mold out the end of the tile. When the cart was full (it had several layers of shelves) it was set aside to dry for a couple of weeks, and then the tiles were taken to the kiln. He let us try. It was harder than it looked.

  3. The “chicken lollipops” look tasty—and I must say, meat portions abroad are generally a lot smaller (and more sensible) than they are here. Hollow bricks used structurally sounds kind of odd, though.

    With all what’s going on here, I keep thinking more and more about maybe expatriating one day, but the question is where? Every place on earth is going crazy. Brazil would have been my first choice in Latin America, but it’s at the front of the loony bin. Based on the headlines we’re used to here, one thinks of drug cartels and guerrillas, but Colombia might not be so bad a choice. Unrest and misgovernance aside, I think only Paraguay would give me pause—that’s supposed to be a nutty place from the creation.

    • My goal is to have a place in or near Medellín and one in Dallas, and split my time between Colombia and my grandkids. The cities are fairly safe in Colombia, as are most tourist areas. But all that could change if the wrong idiot got elected.

  4. Good to reconnect witcha!
    I ate iguana while on a cruise stop in Roatan, is that a thing in Colombia?
    ps it didnt taste like chicken, had more if a beefy flavor. Definitely worth picking through the many bones

    • I have never seen iguana on the menu but there are probably oddball places where it’s a thing. I have had caiman a time or two, and delicious meat from a 7-foot catfish.

      Roatan is awesome. I took a short yacht cruise there in 1984.

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