An Opinionated Guide to Medellín, v2.0
A running list of updates to my previous post.
Paisa is a term used to refer to people in the northwest part of Colombia, including the state of Antioquia where Medellín is located. Paisas are stereotypically very friendly and hospitable. They also have a distinct accent and slang. The closest American equivalent, both culturally and linguistically, are Southerners.
Buenas – instead of saying “Buenos días” or “Buenas tardes”, many people here just say “Buenas” regardless of the time of day.
vos – This is another way of saying “tú”, but even more informal. It’s kind of like “y’all”
Qué más? – “What’s up?”
Bien o no? – In response to a greeting, someone may ask you “Bien o no?” The common answer to this is “Bien o vos?” (see above for an explanation of vos).
-ic@ – It’s common in spanish to append “-it@” to something as an affectionate diminutive, like abuelita instead of abuela. Paisas use “-ico” instead, so “un momento” is actually “un momentico”.
Parce – Slang for a really good and close friend, like “bro”
mon@ – Affectionate term for blonde people. Just remember that Colombias definition of blonde is much more expansive than Europeans. For example, when street vendors want my attention, they’ll say “Ay mono!”. I’ve never once considered myself blonde.
que pena – the Swiss Army knife of phrases. When “pena” is used in this way in Colombia, it means “embarrassment” more than “shame”. The best English translation I can think of is “sorry, I know this is awkward”. If you are at a crowded restaurant and want to borrow an unused chair from another table, you could say “que pena, puedo usar esta silla?” Or if you’re trying to pass someone on the street but it’s a tight squeeze – “que pena”. It, of course, can still be used to say “what a shame”.
- If you order beef (like a steak or a hamburger), the waiter will probably ask you how you want it cooked. Here is the Colombian scale:
- “crudo” - raw (never offered for obvious reasons)
- “medio” - rare
- “3/4” – pronounced “tres cuartos”, corresponds to medium rare
- “asado” or “completo” - well-done
I would suggest people to live in Envigado or, if they insist being in Medellín, in La Floresta. Sabeneta is the new hot plce to live for long-term ex-pats.
In addition to the ciclovía on the autopista, running around the actual soccer stadium in the Estadio complext (not the entire complex itself) is quite popular. At night, up until like ~10pm, they even have guards monitoring the loop to deter thieves and the like.
- There are really great hiking trails in the mountains north of Envigado. You can get there by going to the Envigado metro station, taking a bus to “Catedral”, and either getting off at Catedral (apparently there is an intense waterfall hike that starts there, which I haven’t done) or by getting off at the Arenales stop. It’s almost worth just taking the bus up there because the road is crazy steep and twisty and you will ask yourself how it’s even possible for a bus to get up there in the first place.