Saturday, 21 July 2012

Colombian Men

It's almost two weeks since I've returned from my trip to Colombia and I have become accustomed to living in the UK again. My sleeping pattern has returned to normal and it's no longer a surprise when it's still daylight after 9pm. However, when I first arrived in the UK (or Europe, for that matter) there were a few things that struck me as very different. The most obvious thing to me was that people no longer stared at me! Now, I am in no way a particularly attractive young person but my pale skin, freckles and uncommon hair colour attracted a lot of attention in Colombia. I quickly got used to people looking at me in the street, making comments or asking questions (is your hair natural, where are you from? etc.).

If you are curious about these "comments" that were made, I will share a story with you. One afternoon, I was walking around the town of Pasto by myself. I was walking towards two men outside a bakery. One of them caught sight of me and muttered "Que bonita. Gringuitano?" to the other man. I ignored them and walked on quickly, only for him to shout "¡DELICIOSA!" after me. That was one of many similar comments that were made by strangers during my trip and I'm sure any other British travellers have has similar experiences! It was, however, the first time I have ever been called "delicious" which creeps me out a little bit.

Here are some other things that I remember being said to me across the country (translated into English):

"You are so precious, I will marry you."
"You have the face of a doll."
"Oh no, I have come to the wrong table, maybe because I am in love!"
"How lovely is that girl."

Looking back, I find this pretty funny. I'm sure the men that made these comments were completely harmless. It's also quite interesting because if a man in Glasgow wanted a woman in the street to know that he found her attractive, my guess is he wouldn't use words like "precious" or "lovely". His words are likely to be more blunt or possibly a little vulgar. However, I never get that kind of attention here in the UK anyway because I am pretty average looking and blend into crowds. I stood out significantly in Colombia though! I'm sure that other white British travellers to South America will have similar stories to tell. And if you are planning to travel there yourself, it's something to be wary of!

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