Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Buying Homemade Greek Yogurt Through a Door Window

by | Apr 23, 2024 | Life | 0 comments

The Lengths We Covered in Barranquilla to Get Quality Bacillus Bulgaricus.

Photo by Yasin Hoşgör on Unsplash

If my dad drove fast enough as he was going up the hill, when he came on the other side, it felt like the car was almost taking off as we rolled down the hill. While we were “flying” down, I would feel a tickle from my lower back to my lower crack, and it made me laugh really hard.

This hill was on the street Avenida Olaya Herrera, and it was the way my dad always took on the way to the city’s downtown. It was built like an overpass. However, calling it an overpass feels very generous.

The tiny overpass was built over a trickling creek, almost a babbling brook. There was really no point in having that up-and-down bridge right there when a flat road would’ve done.

But it was there.

It was close to the “Catedral Metropolitana María Reina,” the biggest church in the city, famous for its vaulted ceilings and oversized stained glass features. The little bridge was also close to the “Universidad Libre.” This university had the best medical school at the time.

Around the time my parents were still together and my dad would drive over the “bottom tickle” overpass, this university was in the news. It was right around the carnival of 1992.

From what I remember, they also had the best morgue in the city. Medical students frequented the morgue and used it to become familiar with the anatomy of the body.

For a while, no one wondered where these corpses were coming from.

As you were reading this, you might not have cared either. Maybe you didn’t ask yourselves, “Hmmm, interesting, where did all these corpses come from?” Perhaps you did wonder, “Hmmm, interesting, where did all these corpses come from?”

Either way, I’m going to tell you.

A dedicated and committed teacher made sure the morgue was fully equipped with corpses. An industrious and driven man who guaranteed their medical students could study anatomy the way it was meant to be studied.

And he did this by killing homeless people.

He and his partners, two security guards from the university, would invite homeless people into their ground to recycle bottles and cans. There, they will kill them. It is now known as “La matanza de unilibre” or “The Slaughter of the Universidad Libre.”

The views people had of homeless people in Barranquilla weren’t that compassionate. I don’t know if that has changed, but they weren’t when I was growing up. The politically correct term in Spanish is “Desahuciado,” which translates to “hopeless.” However, the common usage of the word is “loco” or “crazy.”

Parents used the fear of “locos” in their parenting strategies. I am now a neat person, almost OCD — or AOCD as I like to call it — because my mom would come into my room and tell me, “Si no limpias tu cuarto, el loco te va a llevar en su saco.” (Or If you don’t clean your room, the crazy man will whisk you away in his burlap sack.”

Now, I can’t sleep in a messy room, and I think it’s because I’m neat. Really, deep down, I believe there is a vulnerable kid who thinks he can be kidnapped at any moment in the comfort and safety of his home if such a home is not neatly organized.

The way the entire city found out was because after the guards shot one homeless person, this man somehow escaped and ran to the nearest police station. I don’t know if this was the lore of telling the story from kid to kid, but the way it was told to me was that he was shot in the head and fell. Only he didn’t get shot in the head but the ear; he pretended to be dead, and when the moment arose, he ran for his life. And while it is not “ideal” to lose your ear, it’s definitely heaps better than dying.

That’s what happens when you dehumanize people. In your view of them, they go from “that’s not my problem” to “maybe they are a solution to a different problem I have.” The solution ended with 50 people being killed.

We didn’t drive this overpass to casually converse about this dark passage of collegial Barranquilla history.

We had to go through it to go buy yogurt. My family could’ve bought yogurt at a regular grocery store. But my dad knew of a place where you could buy homemade yogurt.

It was far from our house, and the neighborhood wasn’t all that good. When we got there, my dad would knock on the door, and a woman on the other side would open a little door window on the door.

I don’t even think there is a word for such an architectural feature, so let me explain it to you. At eye level, people would open a little tiny door. That tiny door had metal bars on it, so the door opener could see the door knocker in the safety of their house. Then, if they liked the door knocker, they would open the door; such is the job of the door opener.

Once the door’s door was opened, the woman would ask my dad some questions, he would answer them, then she would disappear.

When she came back, she opened the actual door and not the door door, and they exchanged the goods. She got her money. My dad got his yogurt. He got in the car and drove away.

It went down exactly like a clandestine drug exchange takes place, but instead of meth, it was yogurt.

The yogurt was Greek. It seems weird now to go to such an extent to get Greek yogurt when it is so readily available in the stores. Back then, it was so rare that you had to go to someone’s house to buy it and act like you were getting a kilo of cocaína.

The woman selling it wasn’t even Greek. She was Colombian. She didn’t live in a Greek neighborhood. It was Colombian. The yogurt wasn’t even Greek. It was Colombian.

So, it’s more like a Colombian version of Greek yogurt.

It was delicious! I have never had anything like it since. Greek yogurt doesn’t even come close to it. It is one of my earliest memories of food.

Definitely worth the drive through the dark medical history of the city and a tickle in my lower crack.

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