Category Archives: Colombia

Carne y Hueso

We’ve been in Bogota for almost a week now. Our hostel is located in the north, and is kind of far from everything else, but we got easy access to the TransMilenio (their metro bus system) so that’s quite nice. So far, we’ve been busy pretty much everyday – we did a record hunt with our friend Miguel (whom had ordered an issue of Morbid Tales zine 5 years ago!), visited the Museo de Oro, the historical center, the Salt Cathedral and of course, we ate like dirty pigs.

Bogota is a very big city – about 3-4 times bigger than Medellin. With a population of 7 300 000 people, it is a very cultural place with tons of universities and libraries. It is also very modern – but the historical center is the most interesting of course:

The Archbishopric Cathedral of Bogotá in the center of the city

la Candelaria - the historic center. Seems like nothing has changed since the 1600's! Some streets were really narrow, and most are made with big stones.

The inside of the San Francisco cathedral. Really impressive golden wood sculptures! Y0u can't really see it too well, but the tall book holder's base is three serpents!

Close to the center are some record shops. So far, I counted 13 of them! They all are really small, and some are specialized in certain styles of metal (extreme metal, goregrind/brutal death). The prices were fairly reasonable, but there were alot of bootlegs (although not as many as in Mexico). There was even a record shop located in a …shoe store! Thanks to Miguel for bringing us around – without him, we would have not being able to find any of them:

Cosmos Zapat - a shoe/record shop! They had quite a limited used vinyl section, but they had Black Sabbath's Tyr LP... first time I see that! Calle 17 #8-51

An awesomely-titled store, Rocka Rolla! Centro Commercial Dia Libre, Calle 19 #4-79/97 Local #214 - They have a very good used vinyl section with the first Kraken (Colombian heavy metal), Helstar, Blood Feast… but unfortunately, with high ebay style prices.

Rolling Disc - With some canadian metal flyers of shows that are coming up! Centro Commercial Dia Libre, Calle 19 #4-79/97 Local #206

Black Store - A nice little metal-only shop, selling tons of t-shirts, CD’s, DVDs, mugs, caps, necklaces, etc. Centro Commercial Dia Libre, Calle 19 #4-79/97 Local #203

And there are many more, but I won’t bore you to death with ’em.

The best score I've done so far on this trip - Miguel helped me locate this jewel of Colombian heavy metal. Muchas gracias amigo!! He also traded us a totally mint copy of Saint Vitus' Die Healing (in exhange for the upcoming Cauchemar CD haha, that'll take a loooong time!)

Also located in the historical center is the Museo de Oro, the Museum of Gold. It’s the biggest pre-hispanic gold museum in the world, and it was absolutely fascinating – especially for someone that has grown up watching Les Mystérieuses Cités d’Or – The Mysterious Cities of Gold, the best cartoon show ever made! There were 4 floors, and it took us about three hours to visit the entire museum. The coolest part was the cosmology and the offering rooms, especially seeing the golden accessories the shamans used to wear to transform themselves into animals (under heavy drugs, of course!).

Not an accessory, but a statue of a shaman transformed into a bat. The ancestor of batman, peut-être?

A golden statue of an ancient ritual attire

The museum's most precious item, the Balsa Muisca (The golden raft of the Muiscas). It represents El Dorado, a Muisca tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dove into the lake Guatavita (where locals would throw treasures down the lake). The statue represents him on his raft, offering some treasures to the Guatavita goddess in the middle of the sacred lake. It has fascinated the Spanish Conquistadors - who thought there was an entire city made of gold... which of course, they never found and got killed in the jungle trying to find it!!

An example of what could be found at the bottom of the sacred lake...

A truly fascinating museum. I highly suggest it to anyone going to Colombia. It’s just insane how ancient prehispanic goldsmiths would create such detailed and fascinating pieces. In fact, some considered they had magic powers…

We, along with Miguel, then celebrated with a glass of Chicha de jora, an ancient drink made with fermented corn. It was prepared and consumed in communities throughout in the Andes for millennia, usually used for ritual purposes and consumed it in vast quantities during religious festivals. The taste was quite surprisingly weird, it tasted like creamy vinegar – which got a bit better at every sip.

Chicha and François' hand!

We also visited the Salt Cathedral, in the small town of Zipaquirá, about 50km of Bogota. It has been built within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 meters in the belly of a mountain. It was quite expensive (10$ each, not including the bus to get there) and quite frankly, it wasn’t as cool as I thought it’d look… it was way too modern and too “preachy” for me. I still got a few photos for you guys:

Inside the salt mines

A tray collecting salty water. I tried tasting it, and probably had my dose of salt for the day in one drop... it made me cringe as hell haha

The center of the "cathedral" with cool lighting effects.

A funny translation! I laughed at this one for a while.

Bogota is also a real gem for culinary maniacs. They are especially good for making soups (with extremely reasonable prices):

Caldo de pollo with ribs and potatoes for breakfast - 1.25$!

Sopa de Arroz - Rice soup! A generous start to a 3$ meal taken in the market.

Sancocho de platano - A soup made with plantains and pork. That was orgasmic.

Bbq'ed arepas de queso. Only offered at night, these 1$ babies are to die for.

Check out the amount of cheese in 'em!

1$ BBQ'ed corn, smothered in butter and salted. Truly a satisfying treat...

And we also tried some new kinds of fruits, sold by street vendors:

Mamoncillos/spanish limes. They are called mamoncillos because you suck on them like on... you know what. These were sweet, and had a large seed in the middle.

Contaduro - Palm fruit. Aphrodisiac and with a chalky-texture, this fruit tastes really strange - it is not sweet and quite dry, so the vendors cover 'em with honey and salt. They are made of 50% fat (palm tree oil), and are highly nutritional (you could eat two as a meal!)

And we tried some coca tea, which gave us a little boost in the afternoon!

Té de coca, an ancient aboriginal drink used to combat soroche (altitude sickness) and fatigue!

And to finish the post, here is a mildly funny blood donation kiosk thing. Check out what’s written on it…

"Rivers of blood are flowing through your veins!" Yeah, that makes me want to give blood...

Sancocho de platano – A soup made with plantains and pork. That was orgasmic.

Rock Until You Drop

Our last day in Medellin! Tomorrow, we will be starting our trip in Bogota that will be lasting a week. We just came back from a small vacation away from our vacations to a small village called Guatapé. Located about two hours from Medellin, Guatapé is famous for its beautiful lakes and especially for “La Piedra”, a gigantic 70-million years-old rock, that is over 200 meters high. We went with our friends Ivan and Rafael, by moto/scooter:

François and Ivan. Roadtrip!!

Ivan and Rafael Brujeria-style… Haha

The village itself is really nice, the houses are really colorful and the food is great. We saw many old paisa men with wrinkled skin and large hats. Check out what we woke up to, this morning:

Street of Guatapé

One of the beautiful lakes surrounding the village!

Oh, one thing we are really impressed with Colombia is the countryside. It’s absolutely surreal – there are mountains and valleys everywhere! It’s breathtaking, really. I could compare the green-ness to eastern Canada in the summer, but the mountains and steep hills make it absolutely out of this world.

Anyway, back to Guatapé. I finally ate Antioquia’s most traditional meal, the Bandeja Paisa. That meal used to be eaten by farmers twice a day; for breakfast and once the men came back home. I guess it is the equivalent of our full eggs’n’bacon breakfast, but much bigger and much more filling:

Bandeja Paisa – Beans, chicharron (fried lard – their equivalent to bacon), chorizo sausage, fried plantain, rice, egg, salad, avocado, spiced ground beef and an arepa.

François had a nice healthy plate of fish:

Robalo fish with salad, arepa, french fries and plantain fried cake thing

After this, we were ready to ascend the gigantic stone. The stone (El Peñón de Guatapé) was worshipped by the Tahamies Indians – the former inhabitants of this region. 644 stairs, 10,000,000 tons… here we go!

The stone and its staircase we are about to take… Rafael can be seen in front!

Us, right before the ascension

30 minutes later, a view of the lakes from the top!!!

And here is François enjoying a nice beer, conveniently sold from a small shack at the top of the rock. I pity the fools that have to go to work there everyday… haha

Enjoying a Pilsen – El Sabor Original de la Recompensa indeed!

But the hardest part, I think, was going down… my legs were shaking as hell – and are still hurting today. Haha. It was worth it for sure! Oh yeah, and here’s a very lame restaurant name for burgers. I think my dad will get a kick out of this:

Come on, spell burger right on your own restaurant name!

Tonight, we were given two gigantic tamales by Eduard (made by his own uncle!) They were incredibly good, and filled up every single space we had left in our stomach. Thank you so much Eddie!

Tamales, before opening and boiling

Tamales opened, paired with an arepa. They were filled with potatoes, carrots, peas, porc and stuck together with some kind of cornmeal.

Cooking arepas to go with the tamales – they turned out to be totally unnecessary, the tamales filled us up like hell! Haha

And to finish the post, here are some other things we did this week:

Taking a metro cable ride! Since Medellin is surrounded by mountains, the government had to find a way to extend its metro to all corners of the city. They thus created a metro in the air! It’s a cheap ride (less than a dollar), and you get a really killer view of the city. Check it out:

This is where you get in the metro cable.

And the metro cable itself – photo taken almost at the top of the mountain!

We went to visit a few friends, and say goodbye at the same time. We were kindly received by Diana and her husband, Tao, in their metal basement house. They made us some kind of ham, rolled in chicken, rolled in flour, then deep fried in oil and served with shrimp rice. It was amazing!

The sauce had gigantic dried raisins and pineapple… it was so good!

Diana also gave us an arepa with morcilla (blood sausage) – the most metal of all sausages! There is actually no meat in those sausages, only blood, spices and rice, stuffed in pig intestines. They were killer!!!!!!

Also, my friend Hugo (drummer of Witchtrap/Nightmare) made me a very sweet silver travel wedding ring… with a snake pattern! Thanks a million man, it’s killer!!!!!

Alright… gotta go to bed now, we are waking up very early tomorrow for our flight to Bogota. More news in a few days. Cheers!

El Peñón de Guatapé


Love Me Like a Reptile

So we’ve been in Medellin for about two weeks and a half now, and we are still having a great time. We did more touristic things in the past few days, like visit the Cemetary, the Museo de Antioquia (with a huge floor dedicated to Botero – the guy that paints everything in a GIGANTIC way), the Botanical Garden and the …ZOO! Haha… and it was totally worth it.

At the Botanical garden (which has a free entrance), there is a small closure with butterflies flying around. One of them seemed to be a Venom maniac:

Metalhead Butterfriend

He just wouldn’t leave the shirt, haha!

And at the zoo, there were many cool animals… like 8 different types of monkeys, ostriches (I saw one taking a dump – the photo is really really nasty!) pumas, snakes, alligators…

Alligatör taking a nap

Flamincos….


White peacock (!)

And tons of exotic birds…

The parrot doing some human-watching

Around our hostel too, we have some weird species – of plants, mostly. There’s a really weird tree that has berries growing on its trunk. Some guy told me the name of it, but I forgot it by now. I tried eating one, and it tasted a bit like gooseberries (guédelles for people living in Quebec!!).

Weird berries growing on tree truck

We also have a Voïvod-ish/Sadistik Exekution tree. It looks very normal and green from the outside, but when you look under, it’s spiky as hell!

Körgull, the Voïvod tree

Körgull's tree trunk!

And of course, we went to Villamil again… and this time, I took a better photo, so you guys can see what I mean about people not actually drinking inside the bar. It’s really fun, you just headbang and get loaded directly on the sidewalk!!

Villamil Ossian Metal Bar

Andres and Viejo Perro attacking me with kisses, in front of Villamil!! Hahaha

At the middle of the night, we went to a nearby fast-food stall, and got a burger. Well, they call this a burger, but it’s more of a salad with 10 different dressings. Check out the photos…

Our hamburgers in the making

Us, posing with the gigantic, artery-clogging "burgers" deeply inspired by Botero's works.

After this we couldn’t drink beer anymore, because they just filled up every single space we had left in our stomach haha!!

Ok, that’s pretty much all for tonight, folks! And on a last note, never order two slices of pizza each in a pizzeria here, check out what you’ll get… (that fatal error was done by our dorm-mates!)

Just one slice feeds two people! Imagine the size of the pizza hahaha


Wild Nights…

Medellin, Colombia’s metal scene is one of the most dedicated I have ever seen so far in our trip. People here live and breathe metal, and do not just settle for mp3’s. Our first experience was a trip to Villamil Ossian bar, a tiny pub which is populated by rabid metalheads. The ambiance is really good, the music is top notch (you can hear anything from Judas Priest to Anvil, Trouble and Pungent Stench) and the beer is quite cheap (something like a dollar). What’s funny about this place (and pretty much every other bar in Medellin), is that people do not actually drink inside the bar, but outside, on the sidewalk! On Friday night, it was full of people and motorbikes. Also, sometimes people would just buy bottles (and cartons??) of rum or aguardiente and get totally loaded with the rest of ’em.

A pretty crappy photo of the bar sign. I'll take better ones later. The address is CALLE 67 #55-57, Medellin, Universidad de Antioquia, 05.

Drinking on the sidewalk! Raphael, myself, Eduard and François

Eduard, around 3AM, drinking a carton of rum with a straw... hahaha

We are planning to go back again this Friday. Should be loads of fun!!

When he’s not making wonderful meals or getting loaded, Eduard makes a living doing tattoos. He is specialized in mostly dark art, and especially loves doing shading and 3d looking stuff. We went to his workshop (which happens to be located in a bike repair shop) and watched him in action:

Eduard tattooing

Metal tattoo gear

The result!

And after, he took a well-deserved rum break, with the rest of the guys:

Resting among some sweet bikes

If you want to contact him, send him a message at ejrslaytanic@hotmail.com.

We also went to visit some record shops last week. They had used LP’s, a few CD’s and some pretty cool t-shirts. One of the shops is owned by a girl who was in the cult Colombian metal movie “Rodrigo D. No Futuro”. If you remember well, she was the one with puffy curly hair and a Sodom shirt, trying out to sing in a band. The puffy hair is gone now:

Vicky and myself, in her punk-metal shop.

Last Saturday, we went to a WITCHTRAP show – which my friend Hugo (Witchtrap drummer) organized. They were playing with a local band called CRIMINAL and myself and François played two Cauchemar songs. The show was one hell of an experience – and tons of people showed up!! About half of them couldn’t even get in the gig… really intense!

CRIMINAL
Criminal is a young band playing a very honest style of mid-paced to fast heavy metal with a huge ACID influence (they played a killer ACID cover too!!)  I was honestly very impressed with this band, they made me headbang from the beginning to the end, without even knowing the songs:

Criminal

Criminal drummer

Vicky and bassist

Criminal lead guitarist

Medellin metal maniacs!

Me and Vicky, vocalist and rythm guitarist of Criminal

After Criminal, like I mentioned, we did two surprise Cauchemar songs (Valse Funèbre and Voile d’Isis) with the Nightmare bassist, Oscar, as well as the Witchtrap/Nightmare drummer, Hugo. The public reacted really well, haha, we even signed one autograph on a napkin after the gig!!! Hahahaha

CAUCHEMAR

Hugo, myself and François - Photo by Cristina

Oscar, Hugo and myself

Myself and François - mystical photo by Cristina

WITCHTRAP

Then was Witchtrap! The place grew tight, and it was like war to get in front, but mighty hell, was it worth it! Haha! They played TONS of songs, probably about one hour or more – totally giving everything they got to the hungry metaleros in the crowd who sang EVERY word along with the band. It was so good.

Eddison and Mario of Witchtrap

Hugo of Witchtrap

Mario and Eddison + crowd

Witchtrap

Eddison and Mario

Oscar and François, during the Witchtrap set

Witchtrap (minus Eddison), with Oscar, myself and François

I want to say a deep thanks to Hugo for organizing this one hell of a killer event – and a big cheers to Oscar and Hugo to learn the parts of the two Cauchemar songs. The evening was completely unforgettable… thank you!!!!

And now, for the most metal part of this post… a PUPPY!!!!

Myself and the puppy!

François and the puppy!

Viello Perro (Old Dog)/Ivan with the puppy!!

Alright, more posts this week!!!

 


…Hot and Crazy Days

1 month since we left, and only a day of rain. Life is treating us extremely well! We arrived in Medellin already a week ago, and stayed the whole time at our good friend Eduard’s place. Him and his family were really lovely; his dad always laughed everytime I ate things (I really show how much I love eating!!) and his mom cooked some amazing meals and made the best fresh juices I ever drank. They live in Bello, which is a suburb of Medellin. The view outside is absolutely breath taking, you see huge mountains wherever you look!

This is about a minute walk from Eduard's home. Check out the view, holy shit!

The view from Hugo (a friend/drummer of Witchtrap)'s place in the day

And the view at dusk. When it is really dark, you see the lights of the houses in the mountains as if they were stars!!

They have huge supermarkets here, with an extremely diverse fruit section. I’ve never seen such exotic fruits – some stuff here is actually impossible to find outside of the country. Here is a few samples of what I tried this week:

Papaya - A sweet and soft-like fruit. It was really good - not too sweet, just perfect with a nice exotic taste.

Granadilla - A parent of the pomgranate, is like yummy tasting...snot! Haha. You don't chew the seeds, you swallow everything whole.

Tomates de arbol - Tree Tomatoes. They are like tomatoes that taste like cantaloups! You have to remove the skin to eat it. You can also make juice out of 'em.

Lulo - Smells like old socks, but tastes like heaven! Very acid, this fruit is full of vitamin C. Eduard's mom made juice with it... here it is, taken in her garden with a lulo tree behind it.

The food we ate at home was extremely tasty. Everything tasted so comforting… it was like winter food, but in a tropical climate.

Arepa with quesito (cheese) and scrambled eggs. A typical breakfast, usually served with hot chocolate. Man, do they know how to eat here!

Arequipe - An absolutely amazing milk-caramel spread. I put this on everything, including bananas and wafers.

Arequipe on arepas. I think it's almost considered blasphemy here, but damn it's tasty!

Bifsteak with potatoes, yuca (some sort of very carby-potatoe) and rice. A coast-style meal, as Eduard's mom explained me.

Eduard's legendary frijoles (beans) with arepas, avocado, plantains, chicharron (fried pork) and rice. SO SO SO SO GOOD but deadly for my stomach (and poor François's nose) haha

And for desert, mazamorra! Corn grains, crushed with Mortar and pestle, then soaked in water with soda. It is usually cooked until soft and you eat it with arequipe, or other sweet stuff like cane-sugar candies (pictured here) or dried fruit pulp.

We also tried some of the infamous gigantör hotdogs. Check it out, it’s like half the size of an arm!!

Yeah, that's a hot dog. There's like 30 different toppings on this hotdog, including chips and pineapple sauce.

Our huge discovery is homemade Arepas de Chocolo – some kind of round bread which tasted like fresh sweet corn firm pancakes. I swear, it is like biting in sweet corn. Together with butter, salt and cheese, it will make any grown man cry of joy.

Artisanal-made arepas de chocolo. They don't look like much, but damn these are addictive. We bought three bags just to survive this week at our hostel!

Unfortunately, Colombia is not really a country of beer; usually people here drink beer to start the night – and always finish with hard liquor. They still have some nice refreshing beers, like Club Colombia and Poker (Lemmy’s favorite beer??):

Poker beer

Eduard, beside a convenient store. Did I mention that you can DRINK IN THE STREETS in Medellin? You can grab a beer, and sip it joyfully in a park. Ahh, heaven!

On Sunday, our friend Andres came and made diner for the whole gang of Eduard’s Metalero friends. He is a metal chef, and is extremely talented in the culinary arts. He made us Ajiaco, which is chicken soup  with three different kinds of potato, vegetables and herbs (guasca), served with rice, avocado, corn, milk cream and capers. It was divine!!

Ajiaco

After mixing everything. It's so good. You can run a marathon after eating that feast!

Andres with his chef d'oeuvre

And for desert, he made ice-cream topped with warm balsamic-strawberry coulis. Here is how to do it:

Pick 8 big strawberries

Slice them up

In a hot pan, pour about 1 cup of balsamic vinegar

Add 3 tablespoons of sugar

Add the strawberries and cook them until they are soft

Prepare ice cream cups

Pour the coulis on top of the ice cream

And voilà! A sweet italian-style dessert. You can serve with a fresh leaf of mint if you want. Thanks for the recipe, Andres!

We also went to a market, which sold a really interesting dessert, called “Gelatina de Pata” – gelatin of leg… the taste is an unusual mix of beef broth and marshmallow:

Gelatina de pata

So yeah, that’s pretty much it for the culinary aspect of our first week in Medellin! We still have tons of stuff to try, like Bandeja Paisa and gigantic burgers… mmm!


Hot Rockin!

We just arrived yesterday to Medellin, Colombia and we are currently residing in the beautiful house of our good friend Eduard Johnson (he lived in Montreal for 5 years, and we were very good friends over there!!). The weather is absolutely beautiful and the people are friendly… and on top of it, we can drink in the streets!!! Great! Haha. More updates next week. For now, we will be enjoying a nice week of exploring, metal listening, beer drinking and food tasting (they got like 30 types of fruits I have never seen just in the local supermarket…)

Also, to finish our chapter on Mexico, we would like to mention how much we enjoyed that country. The food was absolutely mind-numbingly good (I think I will be craving it for months haha, especially the salsas on everything!) and the people were incredibly nice. Thanks to Diego and Sarai for their hospitality, as well as to Fernando for everything. You guys are great! See you again in a few years!