Last night was my first night out with my Colombian cousins, Camilo and Carolina. Lexi and I went out with Camilo to meet Carolina and visit some nearby bars. I had heard talk of this mysterious “firewater”, and Carolina was eager to introduce me to it. I have found that my cousins can drink incredible quantities of alcohol, suffer the same side-effects as a normal human, and then decide to do it all over again the next night. It’s incredible, and I most certainly can’t keep up.
We visited a couple of different bars, and our cousins explained how we’re all related, the ways in which we resemble each other, and the traits that I have inherited from their side of the family. The culture here is very family-centric. Obviously this is the sort of thing you hear about before venturing into South America, but it’s very true and something I wasn’t expecting to be so real. I met a few other distant family members and everyone told me about the times my father and his siblings visited them, how they were related to me, and asked the same few questions to catch up on my entire life so far. I use the same broken Spanish and English to convey my field of study, interests, and travel plans, and ask them about themselves and where they’re from.
Apart from meeting my distant relatives and spending a night out, Lexi and I also visited Santa Marta, another town about an hour away. We visited Simon Bolivar’s estate, went to a local aquarium, and toured the beaches of Santa Marta and nearby towns. It was gorgeous, and the driving again terrified me. But at least the view from the car was pretty this time.