Tag Archives: vallenato

Distinctly Colombia

I’ve lived here on the coast of Colombia for 13 months now, which has given me enough to time to observe a few trends, customs and oddities of the Barranquilla culture! I thought I’d share a few of the Costeno-isms that I’ve noticed.

1. Walk like a Colombian… women here walk like they’re on a catwalk–whether it’s a crosswalk, the mall circuit or just down a hallway, these women move. Their omnipresent heels don’t hurt the effect, either. In contrast, you can tell a gringo from a mile away–we walk like we’re in a hurry and with bad posture.

2. To the left, to the left…While you’re walking like a gringo, there’s one important thing to know: pedestrians pass on the left. If you don’t, it gets rather awkward, rather quickly. If you forget, it’s also perfectly acceptable to walk very slowly in the dead center of the sidewalk, blocking both oncoming and passing pedestrian traffic.

3. Bus entertainment…There’s a lucrative informal economy in action around: Every few minutes, your bus will be commandeered  by a candy hawker, a pen salesman, a rapper or, my personal favorite, a two-person vallenato duo belting tone-deaf ballads and beating a makeshift drum. Continue reading Distinctly Colombia