Posted by: Sarah | December 3, 2006

Para una mejor sociedad…

Colombian society, culture, whatever you want to call it, never ceases to surprise me. Tiffany and I were walking to WOK for lunch Friday afternoon and came across a group of musicians playing on a random street corner. Nothing unusual for Colombia except that these particular musicians happened to be about 10 police officers, in full uniform with their faces painted Carnaval style, rocking the cumbia.

Later that night, we headed up to the Zona Rosa (nightlife central) of Bogota a little early to grab some coffee, wander through the neighborhood, and enjoy the recently added Christmas lights. Whether dining, drinking, or just people watching, the Zona Rosa is a happening place on Friday evenings, the place to see and be seen. As we were wandering, we came across a group of about a half dozen people holding signs and sporting t-shirts that read “Abrazos Gratis”. FREE HUGS. They offered hugs to anyone and everyone who walked by, men and women, single, in couples, with groups of friends, old or young. Watching people’s reaction to this uncommon social display of friendliness to strangers was amazing. While some people jumped at the chance, others looked confused, either pretended that they hadn’t noticed or tried to walk around the group of huggers. Most people finally gave in, accepted a hug or two and walked away smiling.

I have no idea who these people were, where they came up with the idea to hug the people of Bogota on a Friday night, but watching the whole scene was unlike anything I have ever seen before in this kind of setting. Such a simple gesture, yet so profound. Perhaps, just another reason that Colombians are considered to be among the HAPPIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.



  1. Some 18 year old dude in North Dakota was doing that near a shopping plaza too. But he was talking about Jesus or something. He also got called a Communist which made me laugh. Good to see you last week!

  2. hug me!

    you never know when we Colombians are going to surprise you…

    next time will be “kisses for free”, then “get laid for free”

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