You are wandering around on the streets of Colombia and some of the Colombian locals stare at you with consternation. You wonder why they are doing that only to realize that you might have said something that you shouldn't have. And now you are wondering how to get out of this sticky situation. Well, in the first place you might not have landed in a spot if you would have educated yourself about certain things that you can say and not say in Colombia. As a tourist, if you don't want to end up in one embarrassing situation after another, here are 6 things that you should not say while you are exploring this wonderful country. Stay out of trouble if you want to enjoy being among extremely friendly and welcoming people.
1. 'I don't want to have Aguardiente'
Okay for those who don't know, Aguardiente, is a liquor made of sugar-cane. This is Colombia's 'delicious' national spirit. Most locals offer a shot of this drink to welcome their guests. Offering this drink symbolizes friendship and unity. If a local offers you a shot of this drink too, please don't refuse to take it. Doing so is considered extremely rude. It'll take time to get used to the flavour but you have to drink it up. In case you don't want to have the shot, just be clever and try an find a way out by emptying the contents of the glass somewhere when no one's looking. Just don't do anything that will hurt the sentiments of the locals.
2. 'I love Pablo Escobar'
Yeah, you may have overdosed on Narcos and Pablo Escobar but do not say something like what is mentioned above. Pablo Escobar was a Drug lord and is a murderous figure for the Colombians. This country has been through a lot of pain and suffering which should not be joked around about. Feel free to ask the Colombians about their opinion but try to be as polite and as understanding as you can be. This is a sensitive topic that only a few would feel comfortable talking about. So mind it.
3. 'Please don't take me to the dance floor, I don't know how to dance'
Most of the Colombians love dancing and are crazy about it. Now, I am not saying everyone in Colombia is good at dancing. All I am saying is that they are enthusiastic about it. If a local invites you to shake a leg, don't turn down the invitation. Even if you really are a bad dancer who knows nothing other than standing on the dance floor, just throw your hands up in the air and groove to the music. Come on, suck it up, loosen up and shake a leg.
4. 'Why are you so late?'
In Colombia, arriving late to an event or a place is quite normal. Colombians have a chilled-out and laid back attitude. If you are the punctual kind, you might find this annoying but you have to respect their way. If a local arrives 15-20 minutes late to the event/party/place don't accuse them of being late. Of course, if someone is late by over an hour, you could question them but be polite about it. Don't get offended.
5. 'You know in my country...'
Guys guys guys, please take this very seriously. Refrain from making any kind of unfavorable comparison of their country to your native land. For example, don't say things like 'in my country the weather is so much better' or 'in my country the cell service is so much better.' Colombians are proud people and hearing a tourist making comparisons just might not go down that well. So think before you speak.
6. 'Where can I buy some cocaine?'
Yes, you read that right. And yes, that goes without saying. But if you are looking for some yeyo, it's best not to ask around for it here. Colombia might be the highest producer of cocaine but they don't think about this highly. Colombians have seen the damage that the cocaine trade has caused their country which is why most of the locals are opposed to cocaine. Just don't ask for any cocaine from anyone. You might just end up offending the hell out of someone. No, don't even inquire about it from tour guides, waiters or the hotel staff. They are not drug dealers so don't treat them like one.