Posted by: adventuressetravels | November 4, 2011

It’s in the Bag

“When we were kids there was always an old woman on the street.  She would fill little bags up with juice and freeze them.  Hard or soft, she would ask us.”

“Bolis?!” another girl turned around and asked excitedly.

“See, everybody knows about bolis.  We are just used to things in bags.”

Colombians may have been used to drinks coming in bags, but I sure wasn’t.  I had seen milk in bags in Europe and was surprised.  In South America though, especially in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, it seemed like everything came in bags.

You could buy water at the convenience stores in sealed bags – it was cheaper than buying it in bottles.  You could buy yoghurt in bags – it didn’t come any other way.  On the buses vendors walked on with coconut water and juice in loosely-sealed bags (how they managed to carry these was beyond me).

The make-shift loosely sealed bags were what really surprised me.  I couldn’t get over how everything came in bags.  If you wanted a hot coffee to go, it came in a bag!  If you wanted to order a soup to go, could expect it in a bag.

The thin plastic bags probably were less packaging if you are thinking environmentally, but they just seemed messy to me.  How did you set a bag of water down?  How could bagged yoghurt or milk be stored in your refrigerator? If you wanted to save some juice for later, resealing and transporting a bag was nearly impossible!  No, I clearly did not grow up in the culture where everything came in a bag.

I feel it’s only fair to warn the errant traveler of what to expect.  It can be a bit of a surprise.  I wish that I could give better advice on how to open and extract the liquids without spills but I have not yet mastered that art.  Maybe if I spend more time in Colombia I will figure out the ins and outs, but unfortunately the best I can do is transfer water to plastic water bottles.  To this day, the bagged culture is a mystery to me…


  1. Nice…. This is on my list to go to now. I think I will bring my own bottles so i can store and reuse. Where is the blog of Thailand?

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