Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

Jim Davies is the kind of person I want to sit down with and buy a beer or three and listen to his tales of derring do here in Colombia. The incongruity of it all is almost too much to fathom as he regales us in this week's episode with stories about his new friendship with the one and only Faustino Asprilla, his facebook friendship with Dania (of secret service fame, you know who I am talking about!) and further notbale personalities in Colombia. 

But, the real reason we have invited Davies on the show is that he is yet another foreigner in Colombia doing something for Colombia. Every conversation one has with Davies is punctuated with mentions of social projects that he has planned, has executed or has underway. Tune in to hear about the photography inspired workshop which produced proceeds for the more down at heel barrios of Soacha in southern Bogota, about his plan to start a "sponsored rubbish bin" drive in Cali so as to increase cleanliness and environmental awareness. 

Why Davies and why Colombia? How does a picture editor at one of the UK's most prestigious newspapers end up in Cali. Hear it all on this show "An Englishman in Cali."

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2014-12-29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am EST

Forgive me for saying this from the off, but I am particularly pleased with this show for you with Julia Symmes Cobb. It has the perfect balance between history, Colombia, journalism and quirky eccentricities of the past. So, get this, I met Julia - a freelancer in Colombia for Reuters and the Washington Post - through another journalist and over the months we have become friends, in fact her parents even came down and stayed in my hotel in Mompos...but this was all part of their research into a long deceased relative who travelled the Magdalena River exploring towns and tributories in this region on a search for gold. 

So, Julia's great grandfather was in this very area of Cartagena, Barranquilla, Magangue (all Caribbean areas of Colombia) and even further adrift back in 1900 and until 1902. The diary is a wonderfully embossed collection of letters about his travels and travails with a beautiful turn of phrase that you would expect from an educated individual of the era. We never really learn how the gold dredging business fared for this adventurer but what we are treated to is an unrivalled insight into Colombia during the initial phases of a conflict. References to Conservative forces and Liberal forces litter the text and there are even carefully drawn maps of the river and indeed of Barranquilla. 

Be sure to tune in to learn about a little known period of Colombian history all told through personal anecdotes placed in a treasured diary.

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2014-12-22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07am EST

Doing his first ever media interview as a writer here on Colombia Calling, we take the opportunity to talk about Colombia and his new novel The Gallows Gem of Prallyn with Canadian diplomat Ian McKinley. 

As always, the interview takes the form of an interesting exploration of the experiences people encounter as they move through Colombian life. And indeed as his new direction in becoming a published author! Perhaps most interestingly, we ask how is it that a career diplomat writes a fantasy novel!

So, tune in to enjoy a free flowing discussion of Ian McKinley's development as a diplomat who writes, from absorbing the atmosphere of the situation of civil war in Angola, to missions to the peace negotiations in San Vicente de Caguán in Colombia, from Guy Gavriel Kay versus Tolkien, to the publication of The Gallows Gem of Prallyn. Check out the book here:

The e-book version of The Gallows Gem of Prallyn is easily obtained through either Kobo or Amazon so be sure to check it out on either of these pages. (

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2014-12-15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:04am EST

Imagine our surprise to find out that the sumptious elixir that is a British cider could be found and enjoyed here in Bogota. So, after attending a launch party hosted by Julian and Emma, the brains behind the importation of Cider to Colombia, I knew it would make for an interesting show to have a sit down with them to hear about their inspiration and the process of importing to Colombia. 

In this show you will enjoy a warts and all description of what it takes to import something of this nature into Colombia and of course a celebration of all things cider, in particular Aspall Cider which dates back to 1728 in Suffolk, England. Check out their website here:

After a lengthy tour of all the most important and indeed conspicuously de rigeur nightspots and events in Bogota to promote their product, we get together with Julian and Emma and talk about the idea behind importing cider to Colombia. As Julian says: "It's a win win situation, if the cider does not catch on here, then I have a great amount of cider to enjoy for myself!"

Join me in appaluding their decision to take this leap and wishing them all the best in the creation of a cider culture in Bogota.

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2014-12-08.mp3
Category:society and culture -- posted at: 9:03am EST

Addressing some serious issues of cultural differences and what it is like to be of asian descent and in Colombia, we take the time to sit down with Jessica Wong, the author of the blog 

In a frank and often amusing interview we learn about Jessica's adaptation to life in Colombia, why she is here, what she is doing here and how she is liking life in Colombia. Given that asian people are certainly exotic here, Jessica has found herself stopping anyone of asian origin in the street to see if she can chat to them in her native tongue, unfortunately, more often than not these unknowing participants in Jessica's quest end up often being from Korea. 

It has not been easy and you'll hear about some of the challenges that Jessica has faced here, not least the irate Colombian commentors on her blog, perhaps riled up by a foreigner being able to make an observation or two that is too accurate!

So, lest we forget that Colombia is a diverse land with a great deal of cultural nuances, this show is designed to remind us of just that. Tune in and hear about Jessica and Colombia.

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2014-12-01.mp3
Category:society and culture -- posted at: 11:11am EST