Pregnant Spanish Moments

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hostel Guanajuato

Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guanajuato is a popular student town and one of the prime spots for learning Spanish. Many language schools are based here, all heavily marketed. It was no surprise then that gringos abound plus the highest concentration of Oriental students we'd come across in all of Mexico.

Our learning and practice of Spanish in Mexico has been a lot less formal though. "Estoy apprendiendo en la calle" (I learn Spanish on the street!). This method has its ups and downs but either way we enjoy a good laugh over it. 

Well, often it's slightly before the street... like at reception with my new friend, Georgina and her son, Tadeo, and his chihuahua, Pancho (no, he's not a talking dog but he's damn cute!). One Sunday we enjoyed a traditional Mexican meal at Georgina's home ending with some delicious "ponche" (paw-n-ch) - a hot, fruity, spicy drink similar to mulled wine, but minus the wine. In the end I had a big PAUNCH! (in British slang it means "protruding belly"). Here I also met Ubaldo (Mexico) and Gallo (U.S.), students of French and Spanish respectively. We agreed that only Spanish would be spoken that day! This proved somewhat of a challenge for Gallo and I at times but we found ways to make ourselves understood.

I shared a few more funny Spanish moments from earlier in the trip, like the time in Zacatecas when I was telling my buddies how difficult it was to find a new pair of jeans in Mexico. The old ones had a huge hole at the crotch (from natural wear and tear!!). It seems a lot of shops only sell men's jeans and most of the others didn't have my size - only smaller. So I says to my buddies: maybe it's because I have such a "culo grande"!

There was an unexpected silence while they all stared at me with big eyes and raised eyebrows. Apparently in most Spanish-speaking countries "culo" means ass, but in Mexico it means anus! 

Such is the cringe-worthy nature of learning a new language!!

Another related faux pas was writing "Feliz ano nuevo" on my Facebook wall wishing friends and family a Happy New Year (or so I thought!) In the absence of a Spanish keyboard I neglected to use the special letter so instead of "año" which means "year" I had written "ano" which also means anus! Do I see a trend developing here? 

There are loads of Spanish words for innocent everyday things always makes the child in me giggle:
  • pregnant - "embarazada" (em-baa-raa-zaa-daa) does not mean embarrassed!
  • handcuffs - "esposas" (air-spaw-sass) and the singular "esposa" means wife!
  • straw - "popote" (paw-paw-te) hehe!
  • delinquent - "quinqui" (kinky) enuf said!
  • peanut butter - "mantequilla cacahuate" (mun-tu-ki-ya ka-ka-wa-te) what a mouthful! 
  • maybe - "quisas" (kiss-ass) bwahaha! 
CAUTION - use the following phrases from Mexican slang with great care! You could either break the ice if used correctly or if used negligently you might create a situation!!:
  • "esé" - homeboy (only ok if you're Mexican, like calling someone nigga when you're not black)
  • "cabron" - bastard (an insult to strangers but a term of endearment between friends)
  • "oiga" - listen (an impolite way of getting someone's attention except between friends)  
A few safe phrases that makes locals giggle are compliments of a 1990's movie "Blood In, Blood Out":
  • "orale" - right on or hell yeah
  • "vatos locos" - crazy guys
  • "homes" - homeboy, buddy
And just to confuse you foreigners a little more Latin Americans also use certain hand-gestures (as I understand them) to say things like: 
  • "un poco" - a little (thumb and pointer finger held about an inch apart)
  • "mucho" - a lot (palm faced up with all fingertips together)
  • "si" - yes (bending the pointer finger up and down as if you're scratching the air)
  • "no" - no (pointer finger waving side to side)
  •  "ven" - come (palm faced down and 4 fingers moving together back and forth)  
*Disclaimer - we accept no responsibility for insults or injuries resulting from the use of any of these words or gestures!!
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