One of the first things I tend to do when I get off the plane is exchange money and grab a bite to eat. Exchanging money is usually a pretty straight-forward transaction. I'll have to blog about it so that when you have to do it completely in Spanish for the first time you won't feel lost. In the meantime, you can find plenty of helpful phrases for changing money and everything travel related in general in my favorite Spanish Phrasebook for android, called My Spanish Phrasebook. Alright, I digress, let's get to it.
In México I've had to show a passport to exchange money on occasion, but this time I had to let them take a huella, or finger print of my dedo índice (index finger). Not a big deal, it just took me by surprise. By the way, if you want to know what the other fingers are called, then read my post Pulgar Arriba.
So after getting some Colombian Pesos in my pocket (I'll show you what those look like in a later post) checking into the hotel was up next. I won't go into detail about that, you can read my post ¿A qué hora es la hora de entrada? to learn how to check into a hotel. After that it was time to get to one of my favorite past times, eating.
So I headed downtown and came across a food stand selling arepas de chócolo.
I didn't know what chócolo was, and it didn't look like any arepa I had ever seen, but it did look tasty, so I ordered one. And it turned tenía razón (I was right), it was delicious!
What is chócolo you ask? Nothing but good old-fashioned maíz.
Now that we know what chócolo is, we can figure what an arepa de chócolo is. It's what we might call sweet corn cake.
You may have noticed the above photo is missing that white triangular stuff that was on top of arepas in the first picture. And if you're wondering what that was, it's queso cuajado. I'm not a cheese guy, so if it isn't a slice of Kraft American cheese I can't help you, but the definition of queso cuajado is curd cheese.
The combination of an arepa and queso cuajado is something you have to try. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I fell in love with it.
Here's a little chócolo humor for you if you want a good laugh and a have just a little over a minute to spare. Click here to watch it in Youtube if you can't see the link.
OK, now that you've had a chance to put those Spanish ears to work let's keep going.
There's actually more than one type of arepa served in Medellín. The other one is called an arepa tela. I have to admit, I didn't like these quite as much, but they weren't bad.
While Medellín has a variety of foods, the most famous dish you have to try is the Bandeja Paisa.
As you can see by the photo, that's quite a bit of food. Arroz, frijoles, chicharron, huevo, aguacate, carne and plátanos maduros. Bandeja Paisa is a hearty meal for sure.
I think that's going to wrap this post up. Stayed tune for the next one where I'll share a little more Colombian Spanish and tell you about a quaint little place called Pueblito Paisa and more.
If you're interested in learning more about Colombian Spanish, then I recommend you take a look at a book called Colombian Spanish.
It's actually a very enlightening book that will help you learn to speak more like a native Spanish speaker (in any country) as well as teaching you the most important Colombian words and expressions you'll need to know along with a bit of culture. I was honestly surprised at just how good of a book this is.
¡Hasta la próxima!