Visiting Colombia

Visiting Colombia

Raphaël Calame

In May 2011, I came to Colombia. It was the first time I ever came to South America. I kind of lack of words describing the whole experience! The Republic of Colombia is such an amazing country!

During the three first days, I necessitated to find my landmarks. This was not that easy, as I unfortunately do not speak fluent Spanish. On the other hand, the encounters are very comical when you cannot speak the local language. I saw many people laugh once I tried to explain things in Spanish. For example, do not mix up “pollo” and “polla”, the meaning is quite different. But this is only while speaking with locals that you realize it.

There are many aspects of Colombia that really touched me. First of all, you can see that this country has deep values. Even though there is a high-level of corruption, it seems most of the people do wish nothing but seeing the reputation of Colombia improving! The people even if stressed and in a hurry, especially in Bogotá, are very friendly. Many people helped me finding my way, told me the places to avoid etc. I feel grateful to them.

Then my friend whom I came to visit showed me many interesting aspects. He showed me how important the family is for the Colombians, how important friendship is for them. And, even more astonishing for me who comes from a Prostestant area, I felt impressed by the strength of the Catholic religion and faith. There is something, hardly describable, that touched me deeply. It is probably the humanity of this country.

We had a great evening during the inauguration of my friend’s company in Bogotá. Him and his team had prepared a thorough presentation. They explained the history of the company, the importance of learning languages abroad and all the great experiences that it involves. Actually, it was thanks to the fact that my friend, who once had been working in Switzerland, that I had the opportunity to meet him again in his own country. That evening made me realize that even though you really like wine, you are not invincible. Furthermore, aguardiente is to be drunk within moderate quantities. Even if a nice-looking girl encourages you to drink. Do not try to impress her, or you will experience what a hell “guayabo” is.

Another really interesting thing in Colombia is the traditional wedding. My friend was getting married and I kindly had been invited. It is an important moment in a lifetime, so I really wanted to be there with them. This wedding was also a great moment to dance and laugh. Again, I felt really charmed by the warm welcome of all the invited people.

During three weeks, I visited many places such as Cali, Bogotá, Villa de Lleyva, Buga, Santa Marta and the Park Tayrona. But I would love to come back. Colombia gave me many emotions and good moments. I take the opportunity to thank all the people that I met. These were great encounters! Definitely, if coming to Colombia is easy, getting out is far much harder! “Colombia es chévere!”