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Episode three sets high goals for the rest of the season: Bourdain succeeds in dispelling myths about much discussed destination. This and similar episodes are not only important for each country’s people, but for Part’s Unknown viewers who are one step closer to understanding their complicated past.

Anthony Bourdain illustrates why it’s important to wear a helmet while four-wheeling along the Colombian coast and why sunscreen is never a bad idea.

The third episode of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown ends with a literal bang as Bourdain topples off an ATV. His location; however, is precisely what CNN’s newest show is all about. Bourdain is in Guajira, the rugged land of the Wayuu people in northern Colombia.

Bourdain’s last stop comes after a fast-paced trek around Colombia; one that avoids the much discussed cities of Medellin and Cartagena in favor of less visited regions.

It starts in the Amazonian city of Miraflores where old news reels portray a city overcome with drug cartels and military; the flashbacks are becoming a standard scene of “Parts Unknown.” Cut to present day and Bourdain now admires the beauty of the land, which once served as the center of coca production in Colombia.


In Bogota, Bourdain explores the capital’s nascent food culture while drinking fresh fruit juices and a meaty broth with musician-turned-chef Tomas Rueda at the city’s largest market Paloquemao.

Bourdain also visits Rueda’s restaurant Tabula.

“The lunch that Tomas is serving here at Tabula is defined more by high-quality fundamentals than by high concept theories,” says Bourdain. “If there’s a theme here it’s that ingredients this good, meticulously prepared, are the essence of great eating.”

There could be no higher compliment to a chef or a country that, as Rueda explains it, is a farm for the rest of the world.

Bourdain then meets up with writer Héctor Abad at La Puerta Falsa. Abad’s most recent novel Oblivion tells the story of his father’s outspoken outrage at military-sponsored death squads that cost him his life in the 1980’s. Abad himself is less sure of the road Colombia must travel to become a better place to live.

“We are becoming more and more conscious that these past decades of violence have become absolutely useless. We have to change many many things,” says Abad.

Bourdain’s love for Colombia

Bourdain and crew then travel slightly southwest to Cali where they discovers tejo, a drinking game with explosives that appears to be tailor-made for Bourdain. His hand-eye coordination turn out to be embarrassing, but his frankness is not.

Sitting with members of a band that mixes musicians from 25 to 82 years of age, Bourdain asks why foreigners should visit the, at times, controversial country. Met with the standard answer of Colombia’s obvious beauty, Bourdain points out the real barrier:

“Look, the country is beautiful. We know that, but most Americans are afraid to come,” Bourdain tells the locals.

His personal overwhelming love for the country is clear throughout the episode, which tells his more than 740,000 viewers that there is little to fear.

“Colombia is encouraging,” Bourdain concludes.


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Tags: anthony bourdain, cnn, colombia, parts unknown

Photo credit: Anthony Bourdiain rides an ATV through rugged desert terrain in northern Colombia.

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