Brian arrives and we consider the next steps in our relationship with Colombia

9 Sep

We’ve been here over two months now. Time has flown, and what was once a dreaded dot on the horizon has become a fully-embodied nightmare: Brian has arrived.

And, somehow, nothing has changed.

He made it in yesterday in high spirits and we are glad to have him. We were originally going to head over to Mu in the Poblado to eat our weight in ribs and steak-cut fries, but we realized that the first game of the NFL season was going to be playing, and we began to hunt down a restaurant that might serve delicious food and also play gringo-sports.

Lucky for us, we were in the gringo-est of gringo neighborhoods, the super-gringo Poblado. And wouldn’t you know it: we came across a Hooters.

“Do you guys play American football?”


“We’ll take 20 wings and three beers.”

I’ve never been to a Hooters in the US, but I’m pretty sure there are some things that translate from the US to Colombia, and some things that don’t translate.

Things that translate:

  • Hooters as a concept. Colombia is a place where most women are considered as beautiful as the bust and behind measurements that they boast, and men are encouraged to ogle, whether or not they are sitting with their wives. This, then, is the perfect franchise for Medellín, a place with a booming “Health Tourism” industry. And by “Health Tourism” I of course mean plastic surgery. For awhile I kept thinking “wow, the women here in Medellín are so busty, and their behinds are like a capital ‘P’, dang!” and then it dawned on me that neither of those bookends were real. Can you imagine getting butt implants? You can’t sit for two weeks! However, you can work at Hooters afterwards…
  • No women. Well, no women other than moi. For at least an hour I was the only woman in the building who wasn’t actively working at Hooters. And I was eating wings and drinking beer, which I think is a no-no here because women are supposed to sip on some kind of invisible ambrosial liquid and snack on scented air so as not to give the appearance of being human and having appalling needs like “hunger” or “using the restroom“. And they are supposed to never get drunk or sloppy, speak out of turn (or, you know, at all), never wear clothing that isn’t constricting their breath and they are NEVER, EVER supposed to forget to flip their dang hair. I was hit so many times last night in walk-by-flippings that it was like a cat-o-nine-tails on the side of my body exposed to the walkway
Things that don’t translate:
  • The sign “Caution: Blondes Thinking”. Erm, yes, those blondes thinking. Considering every woman working there was an olive-skinned, black-haired beauty, you could probably have foregone hanging that Hooters sign. But given that the percentage of English-speaking paisas is kind of low, the irony is no doubt lost
  • Impromptu dance numbers. Every once in awhile there would be a dance number for ~30 seconds, and then the song would fade out and we would return to our regularly scheduled Bruce Springsteen soundtrack. Yes, Ciara’s “One Two Step” was earth shaking four (eight? I’m out of touch) years ago, but your dance moves aren’t resurrecting that hit anytime soon. Also, I’m watching football and eating wings here; layoff whydon’tya
At first we were the lone gringos watching NFL, but over time you could hear faint smatterings of cheering and a few, lilting “nice play, bros” and I instinctively knew that we were not gringo-lone. Ah, Poblado, white person safe-haven and the only place that has the patience to play NFL games: we’re going to be spending a lot of time together.
On tap for us:
  1. Tonight: salsa dancing.
  2. Tomorrow: Gloria cooking us a bomb lunch with chicharrón, beans and patacones (fried plantain pancakes)(kind of)
  3. Sunday: Revisiting Hooters or another venue in the Poblado with the NFL. Probs Hooters
And somewhere in there we will start planning our awesome adventure to the coast. Somewhere between beers, mouthfuls of beans and bacon and salsa dancing and more beers, we will plan something…right?

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