Colombian Curiosities: cell phones on a chain, gum-scented TP, garden tables

First let’s look at a theft-prevention device connected to a communication device. It’s a phone-on-a-chain! Where 1 minute of cell-to-cell calling costs 150 – 300 pesos (7 – 21 cents). A vendor (a store or person on the street) has 3-4 cell phones on them (one per phone company) and rents you the phone by the minute. To ensure that the phone won’t be stolen, its attached to a chain. Brilliant!

Note my excitement at using the phone-on-a-chain

At The Nunnery, I share a bathroom with one other resident. We’re required to provide our own toilet paper. (I guess Jesus could make wine and fish multiply, but not toilet paper.) I associate bringing your own toilet paper with ritualized homelessness masquerading as vacationing. The landlord saw my confusion and walked me down the street to buy toilet paper at the only store open late – the packie. I brought my roll home, and took it out of the plastic packaging to find out…it smelled like bubble gum. The smell infiltrated everything, making clothes and bags and beds smell pink, sticky. Back home we have unnecessarily scented menstrual products; here it’s toilet paper.

Invasive TP species momentarily contained by plastic packaging

Lastly, here’s a photo of Colombia’s president, Santos, dining with some distracted-looking businessmen this week. I’d be distracted too, if I had a garden in the middle of the table. Or in a conference room at all. What is this, a greenhouse? A wedding reception?

Bilateral negotiations among psychedelic flowers

Surely you, dear reader, have also seen some strange things while traveling or living abroad. Maybe you even have photo evidence. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen outside the US?


6 thoughts on “Colombian Curiosities: cell phones on a chain, gum-scented TP, garden tables

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