Travelling the World to End up at Home…

14 Jan

Ah, globalisation. Modern communications enable you to meet fascinating people from all over the world. You can fly swiftly across continents and oceans and travel through mind-blowingly beautiful landscapes like the one below.

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Mist over the Andes

But some of its consequences are less exotic. You fly five-and-a-half-thousand miles across the ocean to Colombia and what do you find? Roott and Co., a British-themed clothing store, adorned with the Union Flag and red telephone boxes. In La 14 department store, there’s a range of men’s clothes called Burtton (note the subtlety with which copyright infringement has been avoided). If many Bogotanos had crossed the ocean in the opposite direction to witness the panache with which the average Briton dresses, they might be less smitten… 

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British-themed clothes store in a Bogota shopping mall

And then there’s “Beer Pub”. This chain seems to have branches distributed across the shopping malls of Bogota. It’s steins of craft ales are remarkably good value and the food is perfectly acceptable. The numerous TV screens were a little over the top, though, as can be seen in the picture below. Some of them were showing the Sunderland against Liverpool football match. The others transmitted Burnley versus Manchester City. “I’ll give you television,” remarked Mr Pop. “I’ll give you eyes of blue.” Is this global interchange or cultural imperialism? It depends how you see it, I suppose… 

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“Beer Pub” – how Latin can you get?

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Yes, it really is AFC Sunderland versus Liverpool FC…

Pity the Swiss. They might travel all the way to provincial Choachi, in search of the Latin American experience, only to be confronted with a Swiss-themed restaurant. Its tariff proved to be Swiss-themed too so we went to a bakery where we ate cakes and coffee instead (the bill came to £1.50/$1.80). Apparently, there’s something of a love affair with Switzerland going on in Colombia and the influence of its architecture can be found in a number of buildings, such as the passable attempts at a mountain chalet seen in the pictures below (the latter is actually a Peruvian restaurant). And thus, through the exchange of two consonants and a vowel, Los Andes become Les Alpes…

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A Swiss restaurant in Choachi

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Swiss-style architecture on a Peruvian restaurant in old Bogota

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The bakery apparently made loaves in the shape of sea lions…

“I’ll give you mens who want to rule the world,” commented Mr Pop. “I’ll ruin everything you are.” And so every other car in Bogota is a Chevrolet. Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts are ubiquitous. But I encountered very few Westerners in Colombia. That suited me just fine. Frankly, I don’t travel to hang around with my fellow Anglophones. And you can still buy a loaf of bread shaped like a seal… Popular culture aside, Colombia remains very much itself, for the time being, at least. 

All text and images © PSR 2017

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2 Responses to “Travelling the World to End up at Home…”

  1. Mari Biella January 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    This reminds me of the American-style strip mall here in Northern Italy, where you can find a shop that sells menswear inspired by the sartorial style of British gentlemen (or rather by the stereotype of such, rather than how most British gentlemen actually dress). And of course there’s the ubiquitous Irish pub, though the most Irish thing about it, as far as I can tell, is the overpriced Guiness…

    • Paul Sutton Reeves January 17, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

      Hi Mari and thanks for commenting. It’s funny how askew perceptions can be. As for our beautifully designed telephone boxes, most of them have been sent to the scrapyard…

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