初见哥伦比亚

2018-06-12 17:06:38 英语学习2018年6期

By Jennifer Bragg

I have spent most of my adult life traveling around the world, mostly for work but sometimes for holidays. Ive lived in or visited many countries across Asia and Europe, but I had never been to South America—until this year.

In March, my company sent me to work in Colombia for two weeks. I knew some things about it, but I wasnt sure what to expect. When I arrived in the capital city of Bogota2, however, I fell in love with it.

It started the morning after I arrived, which was a Sunday. I walked outside of my hotel to get the lay of3 the land. The street in front of my hotel stretched for many miles, but on this day, it was closed. Instead of cars and buses, I saw a lot of people jogging, biking, and walking their dogs. I was mesmerized4, so I decided to join in and walked a few miles myself that day. I later discovered that this is a tradition in Bogota that has continued for decades, called ciclovia. Every Sunday from the morning until 2pm the streets around the city are closed so people can get outside and exercise as a community.

That first day in Bogota was just the tip of the iceberg. During the two weeks I spent in Colombia I discovered many things that make the country unique.

Coffee

If you go to a Starbucks in Beijing, chances are you are drinking coffee that comes from Colombia, Kenya, Guatemala or Ethiopia.5 Coffee is serious business in Colombia; it made up more than 8% of all of the countrys exports in 2016. It is an integral part of Colombian culture with 500,000 coffee growers cultivating the commodity on more than two million acres of land.6

Coffee is harvested by hand and at a higher altitude than other coffee-producing countries. That means it arguably tastes better and is of a higher quality. Perhaps the most important thing about coffee is its identity as an integral part of Colombian culture. Step outside in Bogota on an early weekday morning and you will likely see someone imbibing7 a small cup of the hot liquid to start off the day. Coffee is so inherent to Colombian culture, UNESCO declared the “coffee cultural landscape of Colombia” a World Heritage Site in 2011.8

Nature

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse9 countries in the world. Even though Bogota has mountains and plateaus10, elsewhere there are jungles, beaches, rivers and deserts, too. It has more than 1,800 bird species—the most worldwide. 71 of those species are unique only to Colombia.

The country seems to have been made for hikers. One can go to the Amazon rainforest11, most of which is in Brazil but about 10% of it is in Colombia. Or, a person can hike up the Andes Mountains, which is the longest continental mountain range in the world, stretching from the top to the bottom of South America.12

The aforementioned13 places are marked by a very high altitude. Bogota itself is around 8,600 feet (2,600 meters) above sea level. That means altitude sickness14 is a very real threat, whether someone is simply visiting Bogota or going on a hiking adventure outside the city. Being so high up can make a person prone to dehydration,15 feeling dizzy or sick as a result. I was ok for the first few days, but by my third day in Bogota I started feeling nauseous16 and needed to rest before I felt normal again. Often when people experience this nausea, there is a special tea made from the coca plant to help ease the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Culture

The Colombian people are very warm. The typical greeting, whether it is with a colleague or a dear friend, is to give each other a hug and a kiss on one cheek. Men usually shake hands with each other. Traditionally, older people are granted large amounts of respect because of their age and wisdom; at the dinner table they are served food and drink first. One thing I also noticed, which reminds me of China, is that people love their dogs. In the morning or evening, it is not uncommon to see people in parks with their beloved pets.

Ethnically there are 84 different populations of indigenous people and 60 different languages.17 Even with such diversity, there is one thing that unites everyone in Colombia: football, or soccer. Music,literature and art are represented well by the singer Shakira, the author Gabriel GarciaMarquez and Fernando Botero, respectively.18 The latter two have museums devoted to them because they are considered national treasures by the people.

Food

What makes a culture unique if it isnt the food? Besides the coffee, the cuisine of Colombia is a food lovers dream. It starts at breakfast, where arepa is often served. Its a corn cake stuffed with cheese and cooked on a griddle.19 A person can also opt to have many types of pastries that are filled with meat and cheese.20 For lunch or dinner, one of the many different types of traditional foods is something a friend from Colombia suggested I try: ajiaco. It is a potato soup with meat, like shredded chicken, and a cob of corn that comes with fresh avocado and cream on the side.21 There are too many other amazing dishes to list here, but among the staples of the Colombian diet are meat, corn, cheese and plantains—a more starchy, savory version of the banana.22

Although South America was never really on my touristic radar23, Colombia has changed my mind. Between the culture, its natural wonders and the food and coffee, I plan to return and get to know the country more intimately24. What I have mentioned here is just a fraction25 of what the country has to offer. I just cant believe it took me this long to discover.

1. Colombia: 哥伦比亚,位于南美洲西北部,是拉丁美洲第四大经济体。

2. Bogota: 波哥大,哥伦比亚首都,是哥伦比亚最大的城市,也是拉美最大、最现代化的城市之一。

3. get the lay of: 了解情况。

4. mesmerize: // 深深吸引,使着迷。

5. Kenya: 肯尼亚,位于非洲东部,赤道横贯中部,东非大裂谷纵贯南北;Guatemala:危地马拉,中美洲国家;Ethiopia: 埃塞俄比亚,位于非洲东北部。

6. 它是哥伦比亚文化不可或缺的一部分,有50万的咖啡种植者在两百多万英亩的土地上种植着这一商品。integral: 不可分割的。

7. imbibe: 喝,饮用。

8. UNESCO: 联合国教科文组织(the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization),其宗旨是促进教育、科学及文化方面的国际合作,以利于各国人民之间的相互了解,维护世界和平;coffee cultural landscape of Colombia: 哥伦比亚咖啡文化景观,位于哥伦比亚西部安第斯山脉的中西部山麓之间,由六处农业景观和18个城市中心所组成,是可持续的且富有生产能力的文化景观的杰出代表,于2011年入选世界文化和自然遗产名录;World Heritage Site: 世界遗产地,即被列入联合国《世界遗产名录》的具有重大文化、历史、科学价值的地点或建筑。

9. biodiverse: 生物种类繁多的,生物物种丰富的。

10. plateau: 高原。

11. Amazon rainforest: 亚马孙热带雨林,位于南美洲的亚马孙盆地,占地七百万平方公里,是全球最大及物种最多的热带雨林。

12. 又或者,他可以徒步攀登安第斯山脉,这是世界上最长的大陆山脉,南北纵贯南美大陆。Andes Mountains: 安第斯山脉,属于科迪勒拉山系,位于南美洲西岸,从北到南全长8,900余千米,是世界上最长的山脉。

13. aforementioned: 上述的,前面提及的。

14. altitude sickness: 高原病,高空缺氧引起的不适症。

15. prone: 易发,倾向于;dehydration:// 脱水,缺水。

16. nauseous: 恶心的。下句中nausea为其名词形式。

17. ethnically: 民族上,种族上;indigenous: 本土的,本地的。

18. Shakira: 夏奇拉(1977— ),哥伦比亚女歌手,是史上唱片销量最高的、获奖最多的拉丁女歌手;Gabriel Garcia-Marquez: 加夫列尔·加西亚·马尔克斯(1927—2014),哥伦比亚作家、记者和社会活动家,拉丁美洲魔幻现实主义文学的代表人物,1982年诺贝尔文学奖得主,代表作有《百年孤独》、《霍乱时期的爱情》等;Fernando Botero: 费尔南多·波特罗(1932— ),哥伦比亚著名雕塑家、画家,被誉为哥伦比亚国家的荣耀和人民信仰之父。

19. 这是一种玉米饼,里面塞满了奶酪,然后用平底锅煎。corn cake: 玉米饼;griddle: 煎锅,平底锅。

20. opt: 选择;pastry: 糕点,点心。

21. 这是一种土豆汤,里面有肉,比如鸡肉丝,还有玉米棒,旁边配以新鲜的牛油果和奶油。shredded: 切碎的,切丝的;avocado: 鳄梨,牛油果。

22. staple: 主食;plantain: 大蕉,香蕉的一种;starchy:富含淀粉的;savory: 可口的,美味的。

23. on sbs radar: 為某人所关注。

24. intimately: 深入地,透彻地。

25. fraction: 部分,片段。