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  1. 8 Crazy Things You Didn't Know About Colombia

    posted by Manita Dosanjh | 38 Comments

    Jul152014

    Colombian Women

    By Manita Dosanjh

    @Manita_Dosanjh

    Now the world cup frenzy is winding down, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learnt over the past month.

    Aside from the obvious:

    • Germany are football beasts
    • Messi is bummed out
    • Brazil have redefined the meaning of the term ‘epic fail’

    There was one little country that stole everyone’s hearts…

    Colombia Football Team

    The Colombia team are so adorable that they broke down barriers between nations.

    Rodriguez Sawps His Shirt

    A new star was born.

    James Rodriguez

    And suddenly we all realized that there’s a whole lot we don’t know about the coolest corner of South America. Well that’s all about to change...

    Here’s what you didn’t know about Colombia.

    1. There’s a special reason behind the dance

    Colombia Team Dance

    So why do they do that?

    Football is just one of Colombia’s many talents. Over the last five years Colombians have been gracefully dancing their way out of the slums.

    Salsa dancing is a huge part of Colombian national identity and this suave victory wiggle is all about telling the world they can do more than just kick a ball. At The World Latin Dance Cup (yup, that’s a thing…kind of a big deal actually) Colombia have been regularly stealing first and second place prizes over the last eight years. A lot of young children from the barrios (Colombian slums) are now able to make a living from their rhythmical talents thanks to a rising demand for salsa performances, and some can even earn a private education.

    So next time you see that dance gif, remember it’s all about something way bigger than scoring a goal.

    2. Colombia. Is. Beautiful. Like, actually.

    Did you know this was in Colombia?

    Inca Roads

    Or this?

    Salt Mine

    And this?

    Bogota

    Colombia is home to the most incredible natural beauty you will ever see in your life. And its cities are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Above, you’re looking at The Ancient Inca Road System that runs through the Colombian portion of the Andes, The Salt Mines of Nemocón and the Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota.

    3. Colombian cuisine is going through a renaissance

    Colombian Grill

    With thanks some economic processes that I’m not qualified to explain, the last five years has seen a restaurant boom in Colombia. New food joints are spreading across the country like wildfire, with Bogota at the centre of it all. As well as traditional Colombian empanadas and tamales, you’ll find a host of trendy establishments offering everything from the trusty burger to Peruvian to Asian to this new thing called Fusion.

    4. The architecture is so beautiful, it stops crime

    Medellin

    Not so long ago, Medellín was the undisputed territory of Pablo Escobar, Colombia’s most infamous drug lord. The city was once Colombia’s epicentre of drug trafficking, homicide and all things generally dangerous…

    Thanks to some pretty awesome buildings that have sprouted up since Escobar’s death 20 years ago, Medellín now has a stable business and medical infrastructure, ousting crime and luring in thousands of tourists every year. Not too shabby for a former murder hotspot…

    5. It isn’t all about drug cartels

    How most Colombians feel about being asked for cocaine:

    Punch

    It’s important to remember that Escobar is now long gone, so if you’re in the habit of assuming Colombia is a coke-soaked warzone, then you’re about 20 years behind. With most drug crime now localized around the  US border, describing Colombia as a drug battlefield is considered ignorant and hugely offensive to locals. Asking for cocaine also a very bad idea, so if you're stuck in the past, it's time to catch up.

    6. Shakira used to look like this

    ShakiraShakira

    And they liked her better that way.

    To be honest, we kind of do too.

    7. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has only ever been outsold by God

    Gabriel Marquez

    Colombia’s most famous export (closely followed by Shakira’s bionic mid-section) Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the man behind Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and famously bff with Fidel Castro, Marquez’s works are the biggest selling Spanish language books in the world after the Bible.

    8. And it’s ColOmbia, not ColUmbia.

    If you’re insulted by me telling you that, good for you.

    So now you’re clued up about all things Colombian, go forth and spread the word…

    Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

    Thanks to TMZ, Luis Pérez, Wolf Gang, William Neuheisel, Iqbal Osman, TMZ, Pedro Szekely and Luz Adriana Villa for the images from Flickr. Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons Licence at the time of posting.

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  2. 38 Comments so far.

    Amy said on 05/08/2014 at 12:53pm

    Barrios are not slums!!

    Mauricio Ferro said on 30/07/2014 at 6:40pm

    Don´t forget that GREAT music and dance making a big splash around the world such as Zumba, RasTasTas, Vallenato come from Colombia. Also remember that: - Medellin beat NY as the Most-Innovative City in the World 2013 - According to the Huffington Post and the Gallup International poll, Colombia was the happiest country in the world 2012, 2013 - According to Bloomberg Markets, Colombia is one of top-10 countries to invest 2013

    Beatriz Beckers said on 29/07/2014 at 8:35am

    Colombia tierra querida....is all about pride , sentiments and love for life.We take pride of our country only because is the best , only country with 2 oceans in the south, to the north we have desert and salt mines , la Guajira, sta Marta, snow in the picks of the mountain and tropical warm waters , Medellin, the industrial city, with almost 4 million souls living together, working together, and land of entrepreneurs, Cali with the sugar plantations, and beautiful women, and Bogota land of "El Dorado gold museum, Tequendama falls, and salt cathedral. The Pacific Coast with one the biggest ports Buenaventura, to the south Pasto the greenlands. And the Amazon e's our people and the river ! So next time let's take the chance to write how beautiful COLOMBIA really is!

    Clarita Torres said on 24/07/2014 at 8:25pm

    You missed to mention and to come to Cartagena de Indias! Cartagena La Fantastica! Modt people feel great when they come to visit my country and really learn how great it is!

    jc zuluaga said on 24/07/2014 at 12:39pm

    Let us not forget Colombia's biggest asset.... The Colombian people!!! It is so true that in Colombia the word for stranger is FRIEND... I've never meet such enthusiastic, energetic and friendly people........ I love this article... Colombia is a cool little corner, isin't it?

    Ps said on 24/07/2014 at 3:13am

    The thing about drug cartels is not what makes colombians angry, is about supossing they are consumers. They have ever sayed "yes, we have made it, but you have smoked it",

    Andres Santamaria said on 23/07/2014 at 10:23pm

    wow ... im Colombian and i dont have words, only thanks...! Thank you for love Colombia and Welcome when do you want...;)

    Rafael said on 23/07/2014 at 8:12pm

    Thanks for the article. Only a little note: barrios aren't Colombian slums the right translation is neighborhood.

    Bibi said on 23/07/2014 at 2:31am

    This one goes for Jena: Before coming to Colombia you should have drop the attitude. If u came here to look down on us you just probably got the treatment you deserved. We are humble but proud people, proud of who we are and all we have accomplished given the circumstances. So if you did not like it don't go around spreading your venom, just don't ever bring your SO WHITE A*** over here anymore!!!

    Rossana said on 22/07/2014 at 8:02pm

    THANK YOU! From the bottom of my colombian heart :)

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