Monday, February 15, 2010

Ironing Music, Paisas and Cockfights

As much as I may complain about how El Poblado is the most gringo touristy area in Medellín, I still usually find my way there at some point for the weekend. I still prefer staying in the Calasanz neighborhood. Poblado's fiesta's is only a 15 minute Metro away and you can actually get away from it out here if you favor seeing the sights. A friend took me to "Galeria de la Fama," a kitchy little bar that plays Colombian classics from the 60's 70's and 80s. The scene is more like karaoke sing along as these canciones del amor are played on big screens. It's called "musica para planchar," or "music to iron your clothes to" and brings hordes of girls downing aguardiente belting out heartbreaking lyrics to songs such as this:

Most of the songs have a Grease-meets-Bollywood vibe and while fun initially, after an hour of soppy love songs, I was ready to leave. I had the fortune of meeting a friendly Paisa who invited me to accompany her and her friends to Santa Fe de Antioquia. Leaning towards spontaneity (which I always do), they picked me up the next afternoon and we headed out. Santa Fe is an old Colonial town that gets a fair amount of day tourists coming from Medellín. We stayed at the very friendly Sweet Home Hostel there, whose Colombian owners were the perfect guides for exploring the area. After a delicious asado of steak, yucca and arepas, we ended up at a good ol' fashioned Paisa cockfight. Much more established than the last cockfight I saw in Indonesia, the roosters here fight in a wooden arena with about 100 or so spectators drinking, gambling, and squabbling. The fights themselves are pretty vicious, after one rooster is wounded enough, the victor climbs atop the vanquished and pecks out their eyes!

More than anything, I was surprised (but not really) to have the smell of BBQ sauce wafting through the bleachers, no doubt to baptize the vanquished on their way to rooster heaven. The cockfighting place also had a dance floor, which we took over with a lively troupe. It's difficult to explain the awesomeness that transpired sans photos but I can tell you that it was glorious: I learned to dance the Merengue, we did the limbo, staged a mock bullfight, and our waiter could breakdance (and took the opportunity to show us his mad skillz). I attribute all of this to the owners of the hostel and the wonderful Paisas that were staying there with us. Special shout out to my 3 new Paisa amigas who were kind enough to invite me and even lend me money after having difficulties with the ATMs there. Their type of hospitality is unparalleled, and serves to keep me here for some time longer.


  1. Thanks Miles Knowles for sharing this great post on ironing-music-paisas-and-cockfights.

    Download Music

  2. Rosa Rosa, that clip ended just in time....