Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Colombia, The Land of Beautiful Women, Coffee and Bullet Proof Underwear

A negative cloud hovers over Colombia even to this day. There was a time when Pablo Escobar ‘ruled’ the country with his drugs, guns and goons. Even today, Colombia is still in a state of conflict. The drug lords are still around and the guerillas are still trying to gain control of the country. The government continues its unrelenting drive to keep peace and order in Colombia. But apart from the violence, as a country, Colombia has so much more to offer.

Beautiful Women
Colombia is the land of beautiful, Spanish speaking women. Here are some facts related to the Ms. Universe Pageant which proves this point. In 1958, Ms. Colombia Luz Marina Zuluaga was crowned Ms. Universe. Between 1992 to 1994 Colombia’s beauties placed first runner-up in the annual beauty pageant. Best National Costume Award was given to Colombia six times. In the evening gown competition, the highest score ever given to this day was to Carolina Gomez, Ms. Colombia 1994. Her score was 9.897. Colombia, together with Brazil and Sweden, share the third most successful nations in the history of Ms. Universe in terms of placements of its candidates in the semi-finals. They each have 26 candidates. In 2006, Ms. Germany’s entry Natalie Ackermann was in fact born in Colombia. Today, one of the most beautiful faces to grace the television screen belongs to Sofia Vergara who stars in the hit comedy series Modern Family. Sofia, like many women in Colombia, is not only beautiful and talented, she is strong and feisty, too.

Now, if you know your java, then you know that Colombian coffee is one of the best in the world. Believed to have been brought to the country by Jesuit priests in the 1500s, Colombian coffee is mountain grown Arabica at its best. More than 10% of the world’s coffee is produced and handpicked in Colombia. Juan Valdez, the fictional sombrero and poncho wearing character who rides a burro (donkey), was the poster boy for Colombian coffee. With the world reigniting its love affair with coffee, many are beginning to be reintroduced to Colombian coffee with its heavy body and perfect balance.

Bullet Proof Underwear
A lot of people probably don’t know that apart from bullet proof vests, a clothing manufacturer in Colombia makes bullet proof suits, short sleeve shirts, pants and underwear. Yes, underwear! When Miguel Caballero fits you with a suit, he will bring out his gun loaded with 9mm bullets and shoot you to prove that his suits are indeed bullet proof. His bullet proof fashion is donned by the likes of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Price Felipe of Spain, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and more recently, no less than U.S. President Barack Obama himself. President Obama may not understand the language Mr. Caballero speaks but he understands the importance of bullet proof clothing. Even actor and martial artist Steven Seagal wears Mr. Caballero’s creations. He is said to own three leather jackets and two kimonos, all bullet proof.

The peace and order situation in Colombia is still on pins and needles. However, travelers are encouraged to enjoy the metropolitan areas of Colombia. There are lots to see, experiences to enjoy and culinary delights to try in this South American country. If you plan to visit, make sure to check the latest travel advisory issued by your embassy. By exercising safety precautions, you will surely enjoy what Colombia has to offer.

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