Disco night in Medellin, Colombia 8

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Back to Medellin. On one of the last nights I was there, Scott took us out in the neighborhood we were staying in. Really nice part of town and he lived in the area also, so he knew the spots.

Scott, Garret, Morton and myself, grabbed some good food, and then went to a couple places to get a beer or two. It got to be 1 a.m. or so and Garret and I were about ready to call it a night, when Scott asked if we wanted to go to a local disco, where “the local girls were known to hit on gringos.

Well we weren’t that tired. Of course we had to go.

The place was called Blue. Not Azul, but Blue. Across the street was the companion bar, Red. I wanted to ask Scott where White was.

We walked it and it might have been the most crowded place I’d ever been in before. The place was about 200 feet long and about 40 feet wide, with a bar that took up about 20 feet of that width for most of the bar. If there weren’t 600 people in there, I’d be surprised. Literally people up against each other for almost the entire length of the bar.

The music alternated between U.S. songs from the 80s and native Columbia music. Pretty much about a half-dozen of each straight. Everyone sang along with all of the songs, except us gringos, who had no idea what the hell the Columbia songs were about.

On the other hand, I did belt out the 80s songs at the top of my lungs. Luckily the music was playing so loud, no one could hear my voice.

There were also about five televisions, including one projection TV that were all playing the same thing simultaneously. Endless loops of episodes of the cartoon, “He-Man and Masters of the Universe.” I suppose it fit with the 80s music theme. I felt pretty certain that I’d never see this cartoon again in my life. . . so I think I should subject you to some clips I found on YouTube:

When we walked in, we pushed our way to the bar to order four beers. Right when we got up there, I felt someone’s hand on my left shoulder tugging me forcefully around. Honestly, my first thought was that we were all about to get in a fight. Given that I had three pretty big guys to cower behind and I’d been drinking all night, I wasn’t nearly as much a coward as I usually would have been.

I turn around and there is this little Colombian girl who is obviously asking me to dance. Well, not asking, basically pulling me out to the dance floor to dance with her and her friends. I figured “what the hell” and went on out there and jumped around like an idiot.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t one of Colombia’s most beautiful examples of the female form – and damn, there are many, many of those around. But she was cute and apparently thought I was too – and frankly, there is a lot to be said for that sentiment.

And she spoke not a word of English. As I basically speak about 10 words of Spanish, this was going to be interesting. We danced/jumped around for a while. She introduced herself as Martina. I managed to introduce myself back in Spanish and I told her that I only spoke a little Spanish.

And I told her that about fifteen times in the next hour or so. “Me hablo un poco espansol.” Or however your spell that properly. “Me no say.” And so on. I don’t have many ways to say that I don’t understand, but I was pulling them all out as fast as I could.

She kept chattering. Non-stop. It was actually sort of amazing. I know that she understood that I didn’t speak Spanish, but she kept trying. And kept trying. As if repetition would somehow soak through my beer addled brain and reach understanding.

It didn’t.

She sign languaged some heart shaped thing and pointed to her friends making out. Was she saying that her friends were in love or that she was into me? Hell if I knew. She kept pointing to her girl friend and saying “me amiga” something. I got that. That was her friend. What else she was saying was totally beyond me.

At about 2:00 the other guys were ready to go. I stuck around for about 15-20 more minutes and then said I was leaving, in pidgin-Spanish. “Me salida.” “Me vamos.” Sign language of me walking out the door. She kept nodding. I figured I had explained myself as well as I could and proceeded to walk out.

She followed me out. Unexpected. She was cute. And I needed to answer question #5 on my going-away survey at some point. This seemed like a reasonable time.

My hostel was about six blocks away, so I started walking. She was walking along with me. . . and continued to chatter non-stop in Spanish the entire way. I think I understood that she had lived most of her life in Medellin, but spent a few years on Bogotá. A few more things about her amiga back at the bar that I didn’t understand. Ok, whatever.

We got my hostel. I said, “me casa” and made the hand motion that I was going ot walk in. I got the nod. I go up to the front door, ring the bell, the guy buzzes open the door. . . and she’s still standing out on the sidewalk by the road. I’ve been confused for the last two hours, but no so more than now. I walked back out and said this was my place. She nodded and started talking about her amiga and pointing back to the bar area.

I think I understood. She was just walking me home. Sort of the reverse on the Southern gentleman thing. She had to go back and meet her friends at the bar. It was late. Frankly, and this is probably rude, I didn’t care. I did the kiss on both cheek thing, adios and waved goodbye as I walked into my hostel and soon crashed for a solid eight hours.

When I told Garret about it the next day, he got a good chuckle at my expense and then told me that his quick Spanish language guidebook had a section on dating. He thought I might want to spend some time on some of the phrases. I took a look and completely cracked up.

I shit you not – here are some of phrases in Garret’s language guidebook:


Would you like to do something tonight?
Quieres hacer algo esta noche?

Would you like a drink?
Puedo ofrecerte una copa?

You have a beautiful laugh
Tienes una risa preciosa

I like you very much.
Me gustas mucho.

More unusual for a language guide:

Let’s go to bed.
Vamos a la cama.

I want to make love to you.
Quiero hacerte el amor.

I’m not interested.
No estoy interesado.

What star sign are you?
Cual es tu signo del horoscopo?

I won’t do it without protection.
No lo hare sin preservativos.

Beyond classic:

It’s my first time.
Es mi primera vez.

I can’t get it up – sorry.
Lo siento, no puedo levantaria.

Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself.
No te preocupes, lo hago yo.

It helps to have a sense of humor.
Ayuda tener un sentido de humor.

Ain’t it the truth, brother? Ain’t it the truth?

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About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

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