Jul 27, 2011

The Top 5 things Colombia is known for.

Since I left Colombia almost seven years ago, as an expatriate, I’ve had the chance to meet and talk to literally thousands of people from every corner of the world. When I say that I’m from Colombia, almost always people react in a positive way… then they think a little and say whatever they know about Colombia. So these are the top 5 things people first say about Colombia:

5. In Colombia a lot of women have plastic surgery (read: breast implants).

4. Colombian coffee.

3. Colombia football: typically Valderrama, Higuita, and the murder of Andrés Escobar.

2. Shakira.

And, lo and behold! In position number one:

1. Cocaine and drugs!


I would say 90% of people I meet, the first thing they say after I tell them I am from Colombia is some lame joke about cocaine. It ranges from calling me a drug lord and a relative to Pablo Escobar to the following:

Tanai: Hey, where are you from?
Random Person: I’m from XXX, and you?
Tanai: Colombia.
RP: Wow, Colombia!!! [Excited, big smile… think for a second]
RP: Cocaine!!!
Tanai: Yeah! I get that one all the time. [Then I lean in and whisper to his/her ear]
Tanai: How much do you want?

It usually gets a big laugh. Truth be told, I don’t give a fuck.

Nonetheless, everyone I have met that has been to Colombia say wonderful things about the country and their stay in there. So, it’s not so bad, not bad at all!

Jul 25, 2011

The Obsession by Charles Baudelaire, sonet

Great woods, you frighten me like cathedrals;
You roar like the organ; and in our cursed hearts,
Rooms of endless mourning where old death-rattles sound,
Respond the echoes of your De profundis.

I hate you, Ocean! your bounding and your tumult,
My mind finds them within itself; that bitter laugh
Of the vanquished man, full of sobs and insults,
I hear it in the immense laughter of the sea.

How I would like you, Night! without those stars
Whose light speaks a language I know!
For I seek emptiness, darkness, and nudity!

But the darkness is itself a canvas
Upon which live, springing from my eyes by thousands,
Beings with understanding looks, who have vanished.

Charles Baudelaire
Translated by William Aggeler
The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)