Many years ago, I first learned what the term "barrio popular" might mean in Latin America.
Though, to be fair, I always found the term to be a little bit confusing since I learned it.
Regardless, I remember having a moment where I basically had to force a day after pill down a woman's throat.
There was this gal named Hielen who I knew in Colombia.
She was of double Colombian-Venezuelan nationality and I met her on Tinder if I recall correctly.
She would often visit my apartment in this city called Barranquilla and usually I'd just try to get her to suck my dick again and again.
She was really great at sucking dick -- like she had a PhD in it.
If she had told me that she sucked a 1000 dicks before, I'd believe it.
Though, in this case, I decided to fuck her instead but, for whatever dumb reason, chose not to pull out.
I wasn't using condoms nor did I use TRT in those days so I was potent.
Completely possible that this chick was about to get pregnant if I didn't do something.
At first, she was hesitant to take the day after pill because it "fucks with my period."
This is quite often a complaint women have about the pill: fucks with their periods and all that.
I've heard that complaint more times than I'd care to admit (though they almost always agree to taking it anyhow).
Regardless, I finally convinced this chick over Whatsapp to just take the damn pill already.
....Maybe I should be more open to using condoms or pulling out better.
Anyway, with the little box in hand, I get a taxi to her area.
She tells me though ahead of time that she "lives in a barrio popular."
At the time, I had no idea what that meant.
That'd be the direct translation.
And, given this area is "popular," I assumed it must not be too bad.
After all, it's popular!
So it has maybe some great restaurants, good nightclubs, some cool parks, maybe you got reggaeton stars like Daddy Yankee playing live in the area?
So I showed up.
And, ummmm, it didn't look so popular.
In fact, it looked kinda shitty.
Now, to be fair, I had been to shithole neighborhoods before.
Soon after ending my time with Hielen, I'd date this gal named Marcela who also lived in a shithole neighborhood.
Among other gals.
So I step out of the taxi anyway and spot her easy enough at the park that she told me to meet at.
Sat by her side and gave her the usual "so how you been?" talk.
We always had this habit of doing very basic chat before doing anything that almost felt unnatural.
Like it was from a script or something.
Anyway, we do the 5 minutes of talking in this empty park that of a shithole neighborhood that looked like the place for a drug deal to go down.
Not that I've ever been in drug deals.
And I handed her the day after pill in the box it came from like it was an illegal drug itself.
"Here, take this, don't tell NOBODY you saw me."
With bottle of water already in hand as I had been through this before with other women, I hand her the water too in case she needs it.
She takes the pill.
And I'm watching her closely to make sure she doesn't pull some trickery.
Like pretend to swallow and then spit it out of sight.
Anyway, I'm convinced enough that she took it and then she has me come with her to meet her family.
So, over the next hour or two (or however long it was), I continued my journey into greater depths of the "barrio popular."
The rest of the neighborhood looked shitty as well but her family was nice to meet.
They had a bunch of music playing and people dancing in the street.
So, in a way, I FINALLY found what was so popular about it!
It's POPULAR for music!
....or something. I don't know.
At any rate, I eventually had to get going and took a taxi back to my apartment in a not so "popular" neighborhood.
That, despite not being "popular," sure was more popular with my tastes for where to live!
...It's popular enough!
Still, over the years of living in Latin America, I've come to encounter this term again and again from time to time.
Years later until my life now living in Mexico City, I find myself quite possibly living in a "barrio popular."
Not sure if it qualifies as such but I guess it does?
Been here for 4.5 months now and lived here before for like 5 or 6 months.
Just the other day, I had a gal named Barbara come visit me.
She's Mexican living in the other side of town in a place called Ciudad Satélite.
Which, for those who don't know, is on the literal exact opposite end of where I am near Metro CU area.
If I had to guess, she needed maybe an hour or more to get here?
Anyway, before she did arrive this second time, she had no problem visiting my area as she had before but did remark to me how I "live in a barrio popular!!!"
Since then, I was curious as to what "barrio popular" even really means.
I've always had an informal understanding of it but never quite entirely sure how other people (especially locals) might understand it.
So I did some research.
The Meaning of Barrio Popular
First, I asked some folks I know in a Telegram chat to define it.
Here's their responses.
Next, we have this website I found here that has various definitions.
I'll copy and paste a few of their answers so you don't have to click on the link if you don't want to.
"Who lives in a "barrio popular?" ¿Gente "normal" que trabaja mucho pero no gana tanto? In this case I'd use something like "working-class neigborhood."
"yes, you are right. But I think "working-class neigborhood" does not express all the characteristics of the "barrio popular"
Estoy pensando en un estudio sobre violencia en los barrios populares, que se caracterizan por la pobreza."
"The best I can think of is "inner-city neighborhoods", which conveys poverty and violence, but is politically correct around here."
"poor working-class neighborhood"
And, for those who need a more physical example, we have this article here calling "Palo Alto" a "barrio popular."
Here's a video of "Palo Alto."
And, for those who want to see what my neighborhood looks like, here's a picture of it.
So a barrio popular?
Hopefully that clears up to you what a "barrio popular" is and looks like.
And hopefully you don't get confused by the words.
Quite honestly, I'm not sure why they call it a "popular" neighborhood but that's what people call some of these areas.
Anyway, if you got anything to say, leave a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.