pints of the stuffI knew it was Semana Santa (Easter) in Medellin only by chatting to an Uber driver.
The usual “how’s business going?” etc… turned to Semana Santa.
Most Paisas tend to leave Medellin en-masse.
This leaves those who stay with the prospect of a silent city without jams, noise, and air pollution.
It was just a conversation nothing more so I didn’t give it much thought until Good Friday morning.
I emerged out onto the balcony, a rather jaded nominally protestant skeptic.
I had low expectations regarding the Easter reduction n air and noise pollution.
However I was delighted to be greeted by bird song and clean air for Easter in Medellin!
The difference was striking and way beyond anticipated, I even thought of becoming an environmentalist!
So began a glorious Semana Santa hammock-swing, in the fresh sunny breeze with a strong black Colombian coffee in hand.
The bliss was eventually interrupted by the corn soup seller who was obviously not an observing Catholic, his grating jingle belting out ”COOOORRRNNN SOOOOUUPPP!”:
“mummy can I have some corn soup” squeals the voice of an imaginary child on the jingle.
The Mum responding lovingly at 120 decibels:
“yes darling, and did you know it’s the best and most delicious in town”
This is followed by piercing kitsch music, blaring out from the cheap tannoy.
The Mazamorra man selling his corn coup with a fervor akin to a Communist rally in 1970’s Tiananmen Square!
The oblivious soup guy ladled the viscous liquid into pails and set off on foot.
He sauntered past the security guards of my gated community on his rounds.
He is dedicated to delivering pints of the stuff to expectant residents for their Easter treat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no enemy to free enterprise.
I’m just not a fan of his jingle on an Easter morning.
Soup man had a habit of leaving the tannoy blaring like its an important evacuation warning for a volcano erupting, with the message on loop for 50 minutes!
I was swinging there thinking, I need to grow a pair and chill out!
Such was my frustration at my inability to dial out that I mused on whether I would pass the SAS training.
I swiftly concluded that I would be an epic fail, if “white noise” terror was used in the capture simulation.
Non-traditional Easter food, in Medellin.
So I slid the French doors too, battened down the hatches and set about contemplating a Semana Santa lunch.
I had set myself the challenge of reviving it with the limited ingredients at my disposal.
So I dragged out an old slice of pork languishing in the freezer for 5 weeks.
Turned out rather well.
I had bought some unripe avocados, the leftovers at the local supermercado, on a discount Wednesday. I had fought by a rising tide of ‘abuelas’ (grannies) and ‘marujas’ (housewives) spurred on by the prospect of a 30% discount on all groceries. But, sadly all was in vain, as they had already ravaged the fruit counter, locust-like in their bargain induced frenzy!,
So I scooped an avocado out, chopped it up and threw it into the pan.
I tossed it in with the pork stir fr now bubbling in a sauce of Club Colombia Dorada beer.
The salsa with 5 freshly crushed garlic cloves, lime juice, a pinch of tomato sauce and a healthy splash of soy sauce and even a wee pinch of pineapple preserve!
If you live in a country where avocados are as cheap as spuds back home, then you might as well!
The Easter meal was accompanied by a large freshly toasted Maize arepa (flatbread), crowned with melting mozzarella cheese.
All in all, this proved a quick tasty antidote to the noise terror of Mazamorra man!
If you can’t beat them join them.
Maybe one day soon I will pop down, not to rip the cables out of his tannoy, but rather to try the Mazamorra, so all may be forgiven.
Super – supermarket
Abuela – granny
Maruja – slang for a certain type of housewife
Arepa – maize or corn flatbread
Mazamorra – gloopy sweet corn soup ladled our by an annoying man with a loudspeaker
Semana Santa – Easter