March 18th, 2011
It’s hard not to stand out here in Colombia. I’m a 6’3” American with a lumberjack beard and a thick accent I just can’t seem to get rid of. With all of the fun Gringo stigmas I get to be associated with as we walk the streets of Medellín, one of my favorite stereotypes (and one that we have for good reason) is how we close car doors.
We’ve discovered that, for whatever reason, the car doors are considerably lighter here, so when we shut them with the same force as we would shut an American car door, there’s the expected loud slam but it’s followed by a wincing sound from the car’s owner. For example, when I closed my first Colombian car door coming off the plane, our cousin Pedro cringed and said “Hey primo, watch it with the door, man. Don’t slam it like a Gringo.”
Whenever we get into a cab here in Medellín, we always notice the driver eying us as we close the door as if bracing himself for the pain-inducing Gringo slam. Some politely remind us to close the door softly while others have taken to posting reminders on the doors (one was actually written in English!). Sometimes drivers have even reached their arm allll the way over the the opposite side of the car to catch the door as we close it and finish the job themselves.
For visitors new to the country, it’s inevitable that they’re going to slam some doors and unintentionally irritate some taxistas. It’s not their fault, they don’t know. That’s why we’re doing our part to inform the Gringo masses of their inevitable future folly and hope that we can one day shed this ugly reputation…one softly closed door at a time.
So fear not, globe-trotting Gringo! The next time you find yourself in Medellin (and we hope that’s soon!), we’ll remind you to “cierre suave” and together we can shock the taxi driver universe!
Filed under Blog