Inocentes, refrescantes!

8 Mar

Pretty soon after arriving in Medellín we were introduced to micheladas, and we never looked back.

According to wikipedia, micheladas are a Mexican invention that also sometimes involved tomato juice. Note: these are different.

Picture this: it’s hot. Well, let’s say it’s somewhere between warm and uncomfortable. The air is still; no breeze. You’re sitting outside, because there’s no air conditioning inside, and it’s beautiful outside and you never want to sit outside and remember in Boston how you could only sit outside during certain months let’s sit outside (&c).

Scene set. You know that a beer is the way to go, but what if you want to kick it up a notch? Enter the michelada.

Line rim of glass with salt, squeeze ~1 shot’s worth of lime juice into glass, pour in ice-cold beer, enjoy

I should make it clear that this isn’t some manufactured Bud Light Lime or equally dubious beer with lime juice that has an unlimited shelf life (scary!). This is straight up lime + beer + salt = aaaaaaahhhhhhhh.

Micheladas are common all across Medellín, but because we spend our time in Carlos E. we see them everywhere. All of the bars & restaurants have micheladas (ie: they won’t give you the “side eye” when ordering) and even the corner stores that sell beer will make one behind the counter for you in a plastic to-go cup.

And I guess this is as good a place as any to discuss the nightlife culture in Carlos E! The barrio is small. Well, the buildings are kind of sprawled out, but the center of the barrio–where all of the restaurants, bars and shops are–is very centralized and small. When you go out to eat or drink, you’re going to run into your neighbors. Every one of them. No exceptions.

Carlos E. is also right next door to the Medellín’s Nacional University, so there’s an interesting mix of middle-class folks who live in the barrio, their parents (who also live in the barrio), the extended family (&c) juxtaposed with youngins from the Nacional. In the evenings–especially on the weekends–the main walkway is filled with 20 and 30 somethings sitting in every available space; the grass, rocks, retaining walls and everything else imaginable houses the butt of some young Colombian. Some are selling things (jewelry, clothes, food), some are performing (juggling, puppetry) and some are just taking in the sights and people watching.

One thing is for certain, though: all of them are drinking. The majority are shooting back beers (on hot nights, micheladas) and some might be taking swigs from cartons (yes, cartons) of rum. So, if the bar is full and you don’t have a place to go, you can mosey over to the corner store, buy a single beer and make your way back to the bench with your friends.

The first day we realized we could walk around our neighborhood with an open container, I was sort of convinced that someone was pulling one over on me and I was going to get in trouble. You can’t really walk around town with open containers–only in certain places–but the “to go” beer is a great concept and one that I’ll be sad to leave behind.

Ok, time to cut out and enjoy my delicious, home-made michelada. Seriously, you should go make one right now.

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