Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shasay! Shantay!

Keeping up with my blog in Bogota has proven to be a lot more difficult than it was in Borneo. In Borneo, every time I turned around there was something totally bizarre going on. There was vagina chalk, black magic, fish pedicures, and headhunters. My blog practically wrote itself. Life in Bogota is actually pretty normal except for the fact that I don't know what anybody is saying (it might be time to admit that I am just not a linguist). I can meet friends for dinner, I can drink wine, I can go to the movies, and I can do yoga. In addition to the fact that there are fewer things that strike me as bonkers, I also spent the first two months here with no friends and became increasingly certain that the rocking chair in my living room was laughing at me. I had a pretty hard time thinking of a way of how to spin that into stories that were anything close to hilarious. 

However, after a lot of hard work I did find some friends and told my rocking chair to shut the hell up.  I must admit after spending the first couple of months watching lots of internet television I forgot how to go out at night. The thought of leaving my house after 9 pm had become a strange and exhausting concept. However, since I finished watching the entire seasons of Revenge, The Killing, and Mad Men I really had no choice.  

I must confess that my first time going to a club in Bogota I was immediately skeptical. I blame this on the dancers at the clubs who looked a lot like this:

and this:

Am I alone in thinking that little people forced to dress up as clowns and oompa loompas and then dance around do not really create a party atmosphere? This might be related to the fact that I have a lifelong fear of LPs (which I don't support or condone). However, just as I was getting over the LPs dancing around in hot pink wigs, I spied a giant mime. Who the hell was managing this club? Clearly some sort of lunatic or sadist.

I would like to take this time to warn all my fellow grumpy brunettes out there with attitude problems about something. If you go out to a club in Colombia with a Swedish blond who is cute and nice and cool, she may be a little bit more popular than you. You may also be cornered several times during the evening by small Latin American men who, using their best broken English, will demand to know how they can better impress your nice, blond friend. Then they might also look in the direction of another potential suitor and declare that he is a "PAYASO". Since this means clown in Spanish you may become concerned that one of the LP dancers may have overheard and hope that they haven't since their job is clearly hard enough. Then said suitor might also come back from the bar with drinks for everyone but you. It won't be like you will be unable to afford your own $4 dollar beer, but you may in fact end up feeling a little butthurt anyways and consider that maybe your mother may have had a point when she told you that you catch more bees with honey.

It's not like I mind being a wingman, but at certain points I was afraid there might be some sort of riot and I was not sure what my course of action would be. Then some gays showed up. I heaved a giant sigh of relief! Finally, some dudes that usually appreciate ladies with bad attitudes. They were doing a lot of dancing and pulled me onto the dance floor. While it usually takes a lot to get me onto the dance floor I am usually OK at gay dancing. This is because it is all a big joke. I am someone who would never consider sexy dancing for real since I am not a teenager or a pop star. However, the rules are different while gay dancing. The sexy dancing is usually accompanied by a giggle fit since it's all so funny! Make no mistake chicas: Your gay friends love you, but they also find you totally sexually repulsive. Therefore, sexy dancing is all an incredibly, big joke. Since I like jokes, I am totally OK with this. 

However, when I found myself in a gay sandwich something felt off, and not just because I was at a straight club. Where was the giggle fit? Where were the sarcastic faces you make to let each other know that you are all in on the joke? Why was it feeling vaguely serious? I suddenly found myself confused. 

Macho? I get it! No convincing needed!

Then the older guys wanted to dance just the two of us. He wanted to dance really, really close. Again, there was no laughing. He started to try to look deeply into my eyes and I had a sneaking suspicion that I could feel something on my thigh. What the hell was going on? I had this strange feeling that he was trying to show that he was still an hombre, even though he had just finished making out with his adorable boyfriend. Either that or Latin American are just so seriously sensual they have trouble understanding the concept of sexy gay dancing as a goof. Maybe down here sexy is always serious? Aye dios mios! Either way I found myself wishing my Spanish had progressed enough  to say something like "Sir, no judgements here! I am clearly a dedicated sister to the community, but could you please back up off me?" or just flashed him a copy of this photo to prove I was totally down and in no need of proof of anyone's masculinity. I have been to The Folsom Street Fair and hung out on Christopher Street- I'm cool!

It was one of the first times I was confused by my gays! While living in Bogota really is pretty normal, I suppose there are a few cultural differences.  Maybe the G men of Colombia just need to watch a few more videos like this:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hey! Who Forgot to Invite Me to the Make Out Party???

I went out a couple of weeks ago to a bar that featured a tiny little man who looked a lot like a Colombian Woody Allen doing Beatles covers. When I first saw him take the stage, I was skeptical. Not so much because of his small statures, but because he was wearing hiking boots and a Crocodile Dundee hat. However, after watching half of his rendition of "Get Back", complete with high kicks and air guitar, I realized that I  stood totally corrected.

As I watched the show, I couldn't help but notice something else. There was a lot of making out going on. A LOT. This isn't so uncommon in a nighttime/bar setting however it is usually not so common in my country with the type of crowd I was surrounded by. Most likely because there was a cover and the mojitos were about 25,000 pesos (14 USD) a pop, the crowd was sorta old. Many people in the bar were losing their hair and packing a few extra. Back in the USA it is not so common to see people born in the late 60s early 70s french kissing in public. But, in Colombian it is pretty typical.

On one hand, I kinda liked the idea because I myself am sorta old and I like the idea that there exists other social opportunities besides boring dinner parties and Netflix. It was kinda comforting to see some  people who were even older than me who were still out to have a good time and enjoy some tongue kissing in the process. I wanted to believe that it was simply their natural Latin passion that kept them so hot for each other that they couldn't help but make out and cop a feel while listening to a itsy bitsy hombre belt out "Can't Buy Me Love".

However, as usual, the cynic in me had some doubts. Were the Beatles so romantic that these middle aged couples couldn't control themselves? Didn't they have homes where they could do this in private? Was the  bald guy in front of me so turned on by his wife's flannel shirt that he had to touch her butt all night? I couldn't help but think that there was possibly something else going on.

With the help of the internets, I came up with two possible explanations, the first of which was Colombian fidelity, or lack there of. According to the world of Google 8 out of 10 Colobiam men cheat. 8 out of 10?!?!?! Aye dios mio! (You would think with these statistics I would be getting a little more action and watching a little less internet TV.) But, before you try to condem these muchachos you should know that about 3 out of 10 of their ladyfriends are also down with OPP. The very reputable website told me that the reason for all these shenanigans is that the men "just can't help themselves"  and the women get some on the side because of feelings of "loneliness, unfulfillment, or the desire for REVENGE". Apparently, while the rates of infedelity are high throughout Latin America, Colombian leads the region with a total of 66% of all Colombians having cheated at least once. In addition to this, 47.5% have gotten their grove on in a group setting, 51% have hired the services of a professional, and 10.5% would like to get down more than 7 times a week (Is there an 8th day of the week I don't know about???). These stats made me think that perhaps Telenovelas are not as melodramatic as I thought. Maybe they are more like docudramas. I also can't help but wonder if this means that everyone is yelling at each other all the time and constantly feeling overwhelming feelings of rage and jealousy.

It's clear that what Colombian really need is this guy:

For those of you who never watched Joey Grecco on Cheaters, you really missed out. The show filmed Joey and his beady little eyes and leather jacket as he followed people around in his van with their significant other to confront them while they were out romancing someone else. The first time I watched Joey almost incite an African American lesbian riot in downtown Houston, I was hooked. If he set up shop here in Bogota I feel like he would always be busy. Yes, Colombian can get a little dicey, but Joey in NOT afraid of danger! Remember this episode:

But getting back to the old people make out party, after looking at the data I felt that there could be a strong possibility that most of the couples I saw getting so frisky may have left their husbands and wives at home and stopped off for a few drinks  on their way to the No Tell Motel. Or they could have been out recruiting a third. Yikes, stripes.

I also uncovered another thing that could have made the middle aged people start acting like horny teens at the bar. It's called Berranquillo and it's a Colombian Love Potion. I learned about it while on a bike tour last weekend when my friend Erica was in town. It was served up here:

My 8th grade Spanish tells me that this spot is called "The Love Door" and is convenietly located around the corner from the red light district, Santa Fe.

Berranquillo is an aphrodisiac whos main ingredient is the fruit called borojo. Borojo is thought to not only work as a natural aphrodisica, but to increase enegry, "promot hormone generation of all types developing sexual power", encourage cellular regeneration, decrease cholesterol, and revitalize ovulation, as well.

I was actually going to try to try some Berranquillo when we first rolled up to The Love Door, because I really will do almost anything for a goof. However, when I found out that one of the ingredients was live crabs, I had to pass.

To make Berrsnquillo local love doctors put some live crabs in a blender with some oysters, a quail egg, milk, brandy, borojo, and ginseng. After seeing the live crabs creepy crawling all around the glass jar, I just couldn't do it. Besides, I had no hot dates lined up for that evening and am way too square to consider hiring a professional so it seemed like it would be a big waste of jungle fruit and live crabs, not to mention Brandy.

I was very happy with my decision after I learned that live crabs sometimes carry a very dangerous parasite that can give a person symptoms like tuberculosis. SInce it is usually treated as such, the parasite then goes on to attack other organs. It sounded like throwing back some Berranquillo could have turned into a goof gone very awry.

Well, I don't know if it's the cheating or the Berranquillo or good old fashion love that keeps older Colombians so hot for each other they find themselves PDAing all over the place. However, I am sorta into it. Why should pesky teenagers get to have all the fun?