1. Car alarms won't let you sleep. They appear to be very sensitive here and go off all the time for no apparent reason. Although it is really annoying that people don't just disable them since they all sound exactly the same and no one thinks their cars are actually getting broken into as they go off so much. And it is quite funny as the alarms here sound like toy cars. They have about 3 or 4 different sounds in the same pattern that sound like toy ambulances or police cars. Even though some cars are the same make and model as cars back home, for some reason, the alarm is always like that. I didn't know cars had accents too!
2. As soon as the sky is a little cloudy, you will see people walking around with jumpers, cardigans and scarves, even if it is hotter than when the sky is blue.
3. It's a bit like how if they get a runny nose, they say they have the flu. Because they don't really have seasons they use certain clothes or names of illnesses associated with winter when they have even the smallest change that loosely resembles coldness or having flu.
4. They say 'in 8 days' instead of 7 for 'in a week'. This is very confusing if you want to make plans with a Colombian!
5. There will never be toilet seats in public toilets. I believe they all get stolen. God knows what for. Maybe someone, somewhere, has a house made of toilet seats or uses them as hats...
6. The army here often stand by roads and keep their arms out with a 'thumbs up'. I initially thought they were watching to hitch a ride.. but clearly not. This was introduced by the ex-president Uribe in order to make the army seem nice and closer to the people. They are obligated to do it as a cover up for not-so-nice things that they are involved in...
7. Being a female expat is the hardest. Especially if you are white and light haired or light eyed. You are often a lot taller than even Colombian men and will get stared at a lot. Stares which may not stop even if you stare back and ask them what they want. You may also get ''compliments'' shouted out to you such as my old favourite 'princeeeeeesssaaaaa!' I often think that my experience here would be so much different (safer, easier?) if I were male.
8. Colombians often just eat with forks which can make scooping up the last bit of your food really tricky and needing to involved using your fingers and even when there is a knife, they often choose to cut up their food with the fork anyway. My boyfriend told me that knives tend to be for meat. They also eat fried eggs with a small spoon only. I haven't quite mastered that and am always the weird foreigner who asks for a knife and fork. Oh, and they like eating rice with a big spoon, even if there is a fork. Not sure how widespread all of this is but I have seen it a lot.
9. Sometimes men wear clear nail varnish to look smart.
10. UHT milk here is more expensive than fresh milk and the rich drink it, while the poor drink fresh milk. It's not because it actually costs more to produce, because it definitely doesn't as there is no need for refrigerated storage or transportation, it's because rich people tend to live on the outskirts of cities, in large fincas (ranches), or big gated communities with lots of land, so they don't want to go shopping a lot because it's far away (or, I am told, because it would require mixing with the lower classes too much) so they bulk buy UHT milk so that it lasts for weeks. I found this so hard to get my head around as I am used to UHT being poor quality and cheaper and I love fresh milk!