There isn’t a word for it

Spanish has so many great condensed verbs. There’s descalzarse – to take your shoes off, madrugarse – to wake up early, and even despedir – to say goodbye; which is what I’ve come to do today.

Don’t Give Papaya has become more than I ever imagined, as you can probably tell from my bright-eyed and naive first post, and I finally understand the appeal of blogging into the abyss of the internet. Nonetheless, as much as it pains me, for various personal reasons I am going to have to let it go. I will still leave myself attached to it incase someone comments on an old post of mine or asks a question, but otherwise I will not be around.

Still, if you’ve grown attached, you can find me on Things I Drew While You Were Talking, which I will now have more time for (and as you can probably tell it needs it). I don’t imagine I’ll be sharing as much of my Spanish adventures there but you should check out vocabat for that anyway. Just starting up there is also Dinner Date with Syd and Lorena, a very different blog of mine that you might also investigate. And thanks again to the people reaching out to me in L.A., we should start a conversation club!

take care of yourselves/cuidate,  Syd

p.s. I really wanted to do a horchata post, but it was just not meant to be I guess. Still, here is the recipe I started with.

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Mogollas Guadalupe


I have some posts in the making, they’re going to be pretty exciting and worth the wait. Today I just wanted to share my on-going addiction to mogollas negras. Remember a long time ago I had talked about some of the kind of breads you can find here. The mogolla is a small soft bread and they exist in many varieties: whole wheat, cinnamon, white, cinnamon whole wheat, and some filled with dried fruit. The mogolla negra is the cinnamon flavored one and it looks dark brown. My addiction is not just to any mogolla negra but the Guadalupe brand.

I love to eat these out of the bag, but also warm with cream cheese, butter, or in sandwich style with ham and cheese (especially queso costeño). I’ve never seen this style of bread outside of Colombia, well actually I’ve never seen any “pan blandito” (soft bread) outside of Colombia. If you ever get the chance to come here head to any bakery and ask for “pan blandito”, after that, bread will never be the same again.

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Fish and Bombs

Yesterday was Tuesday and I like to have a good lunch on Tuesdays because I have class in the afternoon from 2-5. So a friend and I went to a restaurant near the university called Quilichao and this place is pretty amazing. Their lunch consists of the most delicious and thick fish broth, fried mojarra (river fish), coconut rice, fried plantain, and cold aguapanela (that unrefined whole-cane sugar I keep talking about, but this time melted in water and lemon juice then chilled). A meal fit for a Tuesday indeed.

As we were leaving the university we noticed some encapuchados (hooded mamertos) gathering rocks, which meant there was going to be a pedrea (rock throwing conflict) later. The main gate from Avenida 26 was also closed because of the encapuchados, but we were able to get out through the vehicle one close by. We entered the restaurant, which is only about a block away from the university, and as our food arrived we saw the disturbance police stealthily walk towards the university and throw some tear gas. The restaurant closed their door so the gas wouldn’t get in and we kept eating peacefully. Some potato bombs went off, but that didn’t distract us from our delicious meal, which due to the disturbance and the gate being closed included an extra fried fish.

As I sat there eating I could only think that any foreign exchange student would at the least have some pretty cool stories to take back home. It’s not everyday that you get to have such a delicious meal with tear gas being thrown outside, a rock fight and bombs going off. It seems that the mamertos have taken Tuesday now as their official disturbance day—it’s the second week that I haven’t had my Aristotle class. The only bad thing was the tear gas in the street after we finished. I’d never encountered it, it’s pretty gross and irritates your eyes a lot.

If you ever have the chance to come to Bogotá and are in the mood for some fish I fully recommend this restaurant. They even have a website.

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Movie Monday: Argentina and Maids

I’ve been letting Pandora do all my DJing recently so I haven’t been keeping an eye out for new music. So, another movie post for you instead!

I just watched two movies that both coincidentally take place in Argentina and have a maid as a central character: Cama Adentro (Live-in Maid) and El Niño Pez (The Fish Child). 

Cama Adentro (trailer) is about the relationship between Señora Beba, a wealthy older woman who’s daughter has moved away and husband is absent, and Dora, a maid who has been working for the family for 30 years. It’s subtle, but perhaps for that reason very realistic. A good afternoon movie; enjoyable but not something that requires a lot of mulling over. 

El Niño Pez (trailer) is significantly wilder. A darker version of a love story and much more trying on the couple. Lala and Ailín liked each other as soon as they met, but unhandily one happened to be the daughter of a wealthy judge while the other was their maid. They dream of running away together to Paraguay, where Ailín is from, but complications arise when their plan to rob Lala’s family flounders. I really liked this movie; it moves fairly quickly and unlike most queer movies, it ends on a good note!

I found both of these on netflix with subtitles (really, if you’re in the states get a free trial and just watch everything) but I am sure they can be procured elsewhere. This is also a good time to mention that a friend and I are starting a new blog where we will cook food and provide the recipe then review a (queer) movie—Dinner Date with Syd and Lorena! Right now we’re just getting started, but later today we should be making vegan chicken salad and discussing Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. So, if you’re into that check us out. Hope your week is off to a good start!

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Comfort food: Mazamorra

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, that’s because I’m pretty bad at this consistent blogging thing. I have a few posts in my mind that I want to do, but haven’t gotten around to writing. Here is a post that I hope you’ll like.

I hadn’t really heard about the whole comfort food concept until I was in college. It really made sense to me, but I never could think of anything that was a comfort food at the time. I mean when I get depressed the last thing I want to do is eat, but then I guess that’s asking a lot of comfort food, to make you feel good no matter what the situation. I do have comfort foods that have certain nostalgic appeal, a lot actually since food is what I missed the most when I went to live in the states. There is one comfort food that I can eat almost anytime and can only bring good things to mind: mazamorra.

The translation for mazamorra would be something like a corn pudding, which, to be honest, sounds kind of gross. It doesn’t even have a pudding consistency (well not the paisa kind that I like). Anyways, Mazamorra is a dish that’s made with corn and also exists in Peru, Paraguay*, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, and Panama in variations. In Peru mazamorra is made with purple corn, pineapple, cinnamon and sweet potato flour. I’ve never tried it, but if their chicha morada is any indication to how good purple corn can taste, then it must be delicious. In Puerto Rico and Costa Rica they do make something like a corn pudding and also in Paraguay, but they use their native “locro” variety of corn. In Argentina it’s also a well-known sweet dish made with corn, milk, and sugar and in Chile this dish is added to seasoned beans. In Colombia there are, as far as I know, two varieties of mazamorra. There is the soup made with corn flour, that’s the one you can find here in Bogotá, and that’s what you will get if you ask for mazamorra, or there is the paisa kind**, my comfort food (there’s also a variation from the coast that’s also sweet, but they add sweet plantains and costeño cheese. yum).  What’s so great about mazamorra paisa? Oh, let me tell you, but first a story.

This is my window. I have a new plant.

So over the past two weeks that I’ve been so intimate with Aristotle (super fun, yeah), as in writing a paper and such, I sit at my desk with the window open, and usually around  noon I hear in the street “mazamorra paisa, rica, calientica con leche y panela” (mazamorra paisa, delicious, warm with milk and unrefined whole cane sugar)***. It takes me out of my trance and then I start an inner dialogue where I wonder if I should have a snack break, but by the time I decide the guy on the motorcycle that is selling the mazamorra is too far, and I can barely hear the megaphone. But one day I finally just made up my mind and ran out and bought some.

Still warm.

Yeah, ok, it’s not that photogenic, but it tastes like my childhood in Manizales, the good parts of course, or that time my grandma visited us in Texas and made it from scratch (swoon). The way to make mazamorra paisa is to cook the corn, after letting it soak for the night, for a few hours until it’s white. Here you add a bit of baking soda. That’s pretty much it, you add some milk and panela (that’s how I like it) some people like it with bocadillo (sweet guava paste), but I don’t like bocadillo (yeah, what a shame, here everything is filled with it). You can store the cooked corn in the fridge and whenever you want some mazamorra you just add the rest. It’s actually considered a drink and when you’re in the paisa region you can opt for it instead of juice. I like it cold and with lots and lots of panela.

The panela is at the bottom.

Do you have any comfort foods like this?  Have you tasted mazamorra, or maybe would like to?

*I have a pet peeve of hearing people call Paraguay pah-rah-guey when it’s really called pah-rah-gwai.

**I really dislike the paisa accent and culture, but the food is the only thing I didn’t renounce to when I renounced my paisa nationality. I have since then adopted the rola (as in Bogotan) nationality and have no traces of my paisa accent, unless talking to my mom. I also have a trace of a Mexican accent which I’m also pretty proud of.

***I wish I’d gotten a recording of it. There’s also a guy that comes by with avocados that has such a distinct voice.

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More Boozeless Booze

Today when I got back from running errands I had a serious pupusa craving. Pupusas are like the Salvadorian cousin of arepas and are all over L.A., including on my block. So I ordered one with chicharrón (which in this instance is ground pork not fried pork rind like in Colombia) and went to investigate the drinks when what did I find but sangria soda. 

We have previously introduced you to champagne soda, so I guess a sangria version is only natural. It’s good, and pretty sangria-y so not too sweet. And made, of course, with sugar. If you encounter it I recommend it. Awhile ago I made the mistake of buying an American coke somewhere and it was gross. Stick to the good stuff kids.

Aside that nothing too wild to share with you from L.A. There were lots of Cinco de Mayo festivities which were largely just white people drinking tequila, but whatever. I’m not really sure what you readers are interested in—do you want Spanish insights? food reviews? What can I do for you from L.A.? Or continue tagging along silently, that’s cool too, I see your pageviews.

Well, back to scouring craigslist for jobs/gigs. Tomorrow I have an interview to be an extra, wish me luck!

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Fiesta del Libro y la Rosa/Día de San Jorge/World Book Day!

I know I just wrote a post about an author, but let’s say it was because I was gearing up for World Book Day! Besides, as books are near-and-dear to my heart it’s not like I can talk about them too much. I even got my new library card this week. And started a GoodReads account. No music monday, today we are concerned with letters!


So wherever you may be, you may be vaguely aware something is up— we just had the L.A. book fair here, Bogotá is in the midst of Feria Internacional del Libro—but I think maybe Barthe-, err, Barcelona wins this time around (as much as I hate to admit it) with their combo celebration. April 23rd was already St. George’s Day as he is the patron saint of Catalonia. To commemorate his slaying of the dragon and rescuing the princess, traditionally men give women roses on this day. (They also used to go to mass, less fun.) This also integrated the Medieval “Lover’s Fair” that was around this time too.  Later (I found conflicting dates) UNESCO suggested the day also become International Book Day because both Shakespeare and Cervantes died on April 23rd (and later Wordsworth and Nabakov, how handy). Día del Libro supposedly used to be in October before then. I have heard a similar book & rose tradition is in Mexico as well, presumably originating from the same story. Also, a city is always selected as world book capital and hosts a particularly large event, and gets to remain capital for the year; it was Bogotá in 2007 and this year is Ereván, Armenia.

So, go out with your friends and loved ones and buy them books and roses! (I’m sure they won’t mind it being late, I wouldn’t mind…)

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