Las Paletas (popsicles)

So they really have a thing for popsicles here. I mean here in Bogota, where it’s never really hot, for anyone about to say “well of course, it’s hot there”. No, no it isn’t, not where I’m at. It rarely breaks 20°C (~70°F) here.  As Bogota is the first city in Colombia I’ve visited and so the only part of the country I’m thus far acquainted with, it may be that they are not as popular in other parts but my point is that it’s definitely not the heat.  This is, on the whole, a mildly cold city (temperatures year-round are consistently between 8-18°C or 45-65°F, they don’t really have seasons here).

They’re called “paletas” (singular: “paleta”, yes).  “Palo” means “stick” in Spanish and when you add a diminutive like “eta” to the end of it, you get something that means “little stick” (yes, “ete/eta” is a diminutive in Spanish, though infrequently used; see here and scroll down to “other Spanish diminutive endings”).

There are entire stores devoted to selling them called “paleterias”.  You frequently see them in cafes as well.  Here’s an overview in pictures of a nice one in the Zona T area of Bogotá:

The selection.

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The menu.

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For 1800 pesos you can have a frosting of your choice.

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And I just got a plain vanilla one. I like vanilla. 5500 pesos (~$1.80US)

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And here’s another, smaller example (extension of an ice cream shop as I recall) here in Cartagena (so we now know it’s not just a Bogotá phenomenon):

More paletas, this time in Cartagena.

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Silverware placement

In the U.S. if it has to be one side or the other (strictly speaking certain utensils should be on one side and others on the other, but you only see that anymore in formal settings), it’s always on the left hand side (on top of the napkin).  Here, they’re always placed on the right hand side.  Always on the right, and always all together (knife, fork, spoon, everything) on top of the napkin.  I’ve posted a couple examples from restaurants on Instagram (click here to see my account, please follow me):


Again, always on the right.

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I don’t really have too much else for you.  I had my usual salsa lesson today (I’m doing them 5 times a week typically, an hour a piece), which went well.  If you’re ever in Bogota near Zona T and want really good salsa classes, look up Punta y Taco, they’re excellent.  Right now a package of six lessons is 420,000 COP (Colombian Pesos), which comes out to $23.33 apiece or $140 total.