Monday, 16 February 2009

Colombian Cameos (1)

I am on a bus. A well-dressed man flags it down and says to the driver, ‘Colabórame.’ I learned this extremely useful word on my third day here, and means ‘help me, if necessary by bending the rules’. In this case, the man means, ‘let me ride for free’. The driver agrees and the man makes the trip to the bottom of the hill standing in the open doorway of the bus. When we reach the supermarket at the bottom of the hill, the bus stops to let the man off. But the man wants to extend his free ride a little. It seems he wants to be dropped off at the end of the bus stop, not the beginning, so he doesn’t have to walk so far to the next bus. The bus driver waves him off angrily, and then looks round at us passengers, as if to say, ‘what a cheek’. This cheek is a very Colombian trait and is called being conchudo. I don’t think it’s rubbing off on me yet.

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