The clock in their heads


I speak good Spanish

but there is one thing

I just can’t get right.


In the morning, the correct greeting is buenos días (good day)

and from 12 noon until sundown, you say buenas tardes (good afternoon)

Thereafter, buenas noches (good evening),


I always say buenos días after 12 midday,

probably because my subconscious is reasoning

it’s still daytime, right?


Colombians rarely make a mistake with this,

and if there is any doubt because it’s just before or just after 12,

they will often check the time to make sure they get the right one.

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Something I learned about goats


If you put a piece of corn in your mouth,

then mix it up with the rest of a batch of corn,

and give it to a goat, he’ll eat it all,

except the piece you had in your mouth.


The person who told me spoiled the effect

by adding, or so I’ve heard.

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Why Colombians are happy


I found this interesting article in a Colombian newspaper

suggesting these 5 reasons why Colombians are happy:


1. The quality of their social networks.

2. The fact that they set realistic, short-term goals,

particularly those who work in the informal economy.

3. A spirituality which means people seek transcendence.

4. An exemplary resilience in the face of adversity.

5. A festive culture, that goes beyond just being party-loving.

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The sermon I heard before I got to church on Sunday (2)


Yesterday, Palm Sunday,

we met a procession of palm-waving pilgrims

as we drove down the hill from my flat.


The taxi driver commented:

That’s my church but I don’t agree with the processions.

It’s just a re-creation, I don’t see the point of it.

What’s important is to know God’s plan of salvation

and to listen to the words of Christ.

I’ve been to Mass already, I’ve been talking to God –

that’s what the Mass is for us, talking to God –

there’s just one thing I don’t agree with – it’s the confession.

I think all that is just between God and me.

Well, here we are. Have a nice day.

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Another conversation in the gym


So today I say goodbye to the old man in the gym

(see yesterday’s post)

and I wish him a nice day,

and he says: Have an adventurous day!


I think I am going to have to sit him down one day

and ask him to tell me his life story.

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Sapir-Whorf Lives


The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis,

put very simply (and inaccurately),

posits that our thoughts are determined

or at least influenced by the language we speak.


On the metro last week, an older lady,

obviously wanting to unburden herself,

pointed to the advert for shampoo on the opposite wall of the train

and said: That advert is wrong. It says prueba (try) new Pantene Clear Shampoo,

but prueba is for food, so it’s like saying taste the shampoo.

It should say ensaya (test, try out).


Maybe it tastes good, too, I joked, before suggesting more helpfully,

maybe the advert was originally in English and we just have the word try

which you can translate prueba and ensaya.


Yes, the lady said. Spanish is very broad, it has lots of options.

Take all the words we have for love and like.

English doesn’t have so many.

That’s why the gringos are so cold.

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Colombia Tops Another List


According to Semana magazine this week,

Colombia is the number one country

for google searches per user in the world.


Other countries have higher numbers in absolute terms,

but Colombia has the highest number of searches per person:

that’s 233 searches a month or almost 8 a day.


Semana comments:

What we don’t know is if that’s good or bad,

since both the lazy and wise need google.

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Conversation in the gym (yes, really)


Me: How have you been?

Old man: Getting better.

Me: Oh, have you been sick?

Old man: No, I aim to get better every day.

You have to face everything with a positive attitude.


And watching him do pull-ups, I have to say, it’s worked for him,

at least where his physical well-being is concerned.

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