Juniors, Circas, and ‘Av Nots.

The addresses in Lima are kind of fun (well, one has to have some fun while in traffic!). Just take a moment and enjoy the name of the street in the photo. For a non-native Castilliano (Peruvian Spanish is “castillion”) speaker, this is a challenge… sip-ee-own-yown-a?

Jiron (jr.) is a small street. Sort of like a junior street.

Calle (ca.) is a street.

Callejon is an alley.

Avenida (av.) is an avenue and normally a long street.

Pasaje: is a cul-de-sac.

Paseo: is a street for a walk like a boardwalk. Streets like Arequipa that are divided with a sidewalk and trees in the middle are meant for these “walks”.

Prolongacion (prol.) is a an extension of a street.

Cuadra (or cdra) is a block.

Ovalo is a traffic circle/roundabout.

Sin numero (s/n) means that the house has no number.

Solar: is an alleyway in a fancy neighborhood.

Alta means that it’s at the top of the street or block.

Manzana means an apple but in this context it means a block. The term most likely originates from the feudal system (and not as I hoped that it was the amount of space that an apple tree spreads its roots). The use of “manzana” and “lote” or lot is predominant in some of the “conos” or northern, southern, and eastern districts of Lima. These are mainly lower socio-economic areas.

And related to this, an apartment is a “departamento” or “depa” and the first floor is the ground floor here.

Donating to Venezuelan Refugees in Peru

gAGCgf4G-Zr7a9eoeHwRAIwP0n0R6G46TAyNaPAY6-YDeZdJq8ufGgLjTBf_JcVkv44PKhzu5PZ0vTswYFAHOc77JyVVcf96oToJssYjtm25kvYXchx77eoRjGoATmdeRVw6xOa4x2oWmlHoVITSi-hfwSWMOUjI7Bh_VhgQfm_UW789gze55H2XNZI recently cleaned out my closet and donated eleven large sacks of clothes and shoes to an NGO that assists Venezuelans in Peru, Union for Venezuelans in Peru. If you want to donate, call the executive director, Martha, 992-824-991, and she will meet you at the Union for Venezuelans in Peru at Avenida Benavides 3082, which is actually located on the Ovalo Higuereta, in Surco. The building is not marked as the Union has not spent money on signage (the employees wore white work shirts with the name of the organization on them). The office is on the third floor but it was not open yet when I made my delivery. The Union for Venezuelans in Peru will also pick up.

When I chatted with Martha, she explained that the refugees are in need of everything as they arrive only with what they can carry in their hands. She said that many are young families. She told us about a family that were happy as they picked up an inflatable mattress. Makes one think.

In the last few years, nearly a million Venezuelan refugees have arrived in Peru. Thirty years ago, Peruvians were fleeing to Venezuela and not the situation is reverse. Peru is currently in the honeymoon phase of this reverse situation and the Peruvians are welcoming the Venezuelans with resident permits and work permits. Many work as taxi drivers, in restaurants, and some sell candy to make a bit of income (I know one shop owner who gives the candy for free the first time around so that the refugee can build a bit of capital — like the Grameen system — although this shop owner will probably not get a Nobel prize. He does it for the humanity of the situation). I have seen Peruvians buy these candies out of an act of charity, much in the vein of “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

mq85phLqAjhl1iHQxC4cx1aN7zgb84xGEJevOLPTPM4-xKS6pK8lDwuoHrH0oT25-SN_OLWQjWGxAzxR0LhpdGbBCoVT2sOEzGZmvywFdL_E1_eUepLKuP-1-ncp2hKTEhrORqjEiEvr26IeH5QYgmR4wZX8WoysG75L-XQ9F4nL2CQFyE-yIdOGdLIn many of the shops and restaurants, the workers are Venezuelans. They have the advantage that they speak the local language. When I was in Port of Spain, many of the workers were Venezuelans (Trinidad is only a few miles off the coast of Venezuela). This proximity means that many Trinis speak Spanish as well. I actually understood the Spanish better than the Trini form of English when in Trinidad.

Here in Lima, due to the influx of Venezuelans, there are more and more Venezuelan eateries. When I lived in Caracas, I developed a taste for arepas and now I can find good ones here as well. I did not get some after the trip to donate clothes. I had enough food for thought.

 

Pica No Pica

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Three chili sauces. Only one is spicy.

“Pica no pica” is a phrase one hears here in Lima. It translates literally as “spice no spice”  but actually means “seasoned but not spicy.”

So not spicy on the scoville scale but flavorful.

I may start responding with “pica q pica!”

Do You Speak Castillian?

The Spanish is slightly different here in Peru. First of all, it’s not Spanish. It’s “castellano” which is a result, I’m guessing, from when the conquistadors came over from Castille. The Peruvians use an incredible amount of slang, but I’m not sure if it’s more than everyone else. Now that I have dreams in Spanish (many of which “no entiendo”), some Lima specific terms are becoming part of my daily language. Here are a few of them:

de frente: in Spanish class, we learned “derecha” for “right” and “de recho” for “straight on” — that won’t work here. If you say “de recho” to a taxi driver here, they will assume you said to turn right and got the vowel wrong. If you want them to go straight, say “de frente”. Not to be confused with “en frente” which is across”.

A doubler – to turn.

Playa: parking lot (yes! so you will find “parking beaches” far away from the water).

Cobrer – to cost/pay.

IMG_7175Palta: avocado

Maracuya: it’s passionfruit but I have to recall the English because that heady scent seems much more of a “mah-ra-coo-yay” for some reason.

Ficho: fancy

Guinasso: F&*(*ing awesome. I think that’s how it’s spelled…

Hallar: hitch a ride

Sencilla (Efectivo/Plata/dinero in other forms of Spanish): for petty cash or small change. There is a lot of fake money here so people prefer coins  and small bills.
Barrio versus district: seems to be a matter of “class” — when I referred to Miraflores as my barrio, I was met by giggles of embarrassment. It’s apparently not a barrio, and certainly not in Castillian!

 

Playa Bonita at Las Terrenas

nI-JCyIIkicfFpz-fbRg6XvKuaTCF9-p7PiY3j74gQQqlxrbM015LvTp2OKUwxS_GM77paf9LZ38zmEzUr8y5K0qbFHry9-yrwA_xE_S1OSeP2yI2c2vvT5tTmnn8UHEoyQCyBjUD62cmlT_X_Y5HtUH23tRKS2g6hhPUmS2cYKZUNHtD5v5meqtPGIt’s not Punta Cana. I hear that Punta Cana is popular. Instead, the beaches at Las Terrenas are not as populated. Hardly anyone to be seen. Which is slightly surprising considering all the villas and hotels on the beach.

Szo6e03G7tzJe__tD4PJs3jbp32HdjNF9hfnXoLWtpxS7EmqECZiwyokghF_942yaDhjq4KJVDvbcKJ-OlwcEut5YGCLSbJdtAs-iTclVEEyiYNbr1G8h57gQVQ4akwP4JYaFcXmmhXjeMN-7Br4HM4GN6hukBinFQiumbScNnqe-Xqk59hgEUD-ThI was lucky to get driven there so I don’t know how to get there. But, I do know that we paid many tolls of hefty amounts (as in 8 bucks, 8 there, etc.) in Dominican cash. The drive took about three hours and went through an area of natural beauty.

1P90szb-4IVEZixPRAEgAZl6-CuNv8EmTE-bRTxSguU9SFQJuV25Uz6s5-gFAwu7yHFmYJaz_ids6_uXoipCe7_2bqzBA1gT5gQm5YiMSFfxgO09KG7zQJpLxGyUL-TXNYOWExubkkJ8mnh98vxI1MCFHgOjiyA_720xGb98B8zRFDBdaB8Wwn6k50Along the way, we stopped for some famous barbecue, at a gas station. It’s the Gran Parador Bellamar, Autopista Nordeste, Carretera Samana KM 1, Santo Domingo. After the first toll. It’s a good pitstop with toilet, cash machine, kiosk, etc.

dlTrmzkFwNOtb_t2x0-fmvTSVfDqJPMiRi-4nm_u1CNCEQ0lxqXdUZJMfJI1W05mNNzJNiDNJABcB7JCHKp3OKAIsBC1_vNNitOEmhlHvVCkQRoPhROaA5XmKfeLLroEtHl8sSRaEsownzQHwMKoV-eCyEienpi-eLu-6-Kdk64PkBKOuBKesviYm1We rented a luxury villa. I think there were enough beds for 10 or more people, and it was a good party house. But, also great for relaxing.  Our villa cost $500 per night but I’m sure there are much cheaper options.

l8XNYRx4W90alMLhaVppD7K0Z_QL_GcF7Xp668Rq0pWQVmHVFsd4PfYBNCDbDubeBcPYBhdcERSTRUnX_QEchXrqQz0TouKuplMSXoC1jwJRmBxrWE5ihY0dulEgI9LY-QtMLCQa89O93xvogARmD4jcNRzcupNUJgERVrluR8ZcGXVUBPo5AmWP_SSo pack up the cooler with drinks and food! You can probably find a colmado that will deliver!

GxhmvFNR0mVxjCAbyM0U1agKbIqD2QmqRW1KiKl8Jkj2Z0NvscNxxK1qtIiFD7p5fiRzUrTlCjUsX4x2IRa8MA8bkQaACTeTYUKRuFqEAYjwiw3jn22lejKeMF_mbd5zi1D0hhnB6sznd85nXDpxQ8ykOfJRjprcbUbgUNyjl3yK_57yjaeIc_2TwgOn the way back, we stopped for some chicharron. Chicharron is pork rind but with meat attached. It’s not like pork rinds in the U.S. This is like greasy barbecue.

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I can’t tell you the location because it simply appeared, like magic.

Lima Food Tour Translated Into Spanish and Portuguese

Classic ceviche.
Classic ceviche.

My blog posting about my 48-hour food tour in Lima got picked up by a luxury travel site. They even translated my blog posting into Spanish and Portuguese. Thanks, Intiways! The fascinating part was reading my blog posting in Spanish. I learned new words (“dona”) and new terms (not “Japanese-Peruvian” but “nikkei” for the Japanese influence in Peru).

Here’s a sentence for Spanish speakers to enjoy:

El “ceviche asiático” con comida marina es tanto una mezcla visual como gustativa del ceviche peruano y el sashimi japonés o nikkei (de la comunidad peruano-japonesa).

I wonder if they will pick up my other blog postings…

It’s Colombia; Not Columbia

Products for sale at the airport.
Products for sale at the airport.

It’s Colombia. Not Columbia. Columbia when spelled with a “u” is a university in New York and a brand of sports apparel, and many cities. The country of Colombia is spelled “Colombia” in both Spanish and English.

Bogota, is spelled with two “o”s and so is Colombia: Bogota, Colombia.

Here’s the video about the “It’s Colombia; Not Columbia” campaign.

Of Destinos and Destinations

Famous street in the La Boca harbor area of Buenos Aires.
Famous street in the La Boca harbor area of Buenos Aires.

Living in Colombia, in a world of Spanish, when my doorman still sounds like he’s speaking Mandarin to me (I don’t speak Mandarin), I’m reminded of Spanish class and watching Destinos, the telenovela made for Spanish learners.

So when I visited Buenos Aires, I decided to make a pilgrimage to the Destinos locations, as part of my own “Hollywood tour.” It’s not the Oscars but it certainly is cultural.

The hotel where the main character stayed in Destinos.
The hotel where the main character stayed in Destinos…?

I also decided that this gives me a good reason to visit Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain… not that I need one.

 

Learning the Local Spanish in Bogota – Carbonated Pig?

A "carbonated pig?" to non-Spanish speakers?
A “yes, here rich lecher at 3,000 and 5,000 with carbonation?” to non-Spanish speakers?

Having a non-Spanish speaking friend visit is the best language training. After all, it was up to me to figure out how to communicate. Here are a few of the Spanish phrases that I hear all the time.

effectivo = “cash”

tres quarto = how I like my steak cooked

muy amable = “so kind”

a la orden = what the shopkeepers cry out to get your attention, and so much more. It’s like “sure” or “okay” as well.

listo = okay or “ready.”

But, just when I think I’m getting less baffled, I go to Carulla or Jumbo, and I can’t understand what the cashier is saying when they ask me if I have a membership card? At least now I understand them, I just don’t actually know what they are saying…

No Entiendo – Language Shock and Talking Turkey Ham

No entiendo.
No entiendo.

While I can’t understand some of the road signs and the altitude is exhausting, the most shocking thing about moving to Bogota is how tongue-tied I feel. In order not to seem rude, every person has to be addressed in Spanish. While there are places in the U.S. where I only hear Spanish spoken, the big difference is that I’m not expected to respond in Spanish. So far, here in Bogota, the people I’ve talked to have been incredibly nice about my stunted Spanish. But then again, the phrases have been extremely simple:

“Buenas” = “goods” for good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

“Muchisimas gracias” = a million thanks (rough translation)

“Muy amable” – you are so kind/so nice of you

“Que tenga buen dia” = “Have a nice day.”

The other night, I realized that after months and months of Spanish classes, I didn’t know how to say to the waiter, “yes, you may take my plate.”

I won’t go into all the mistakes that I’m making when I manage to actual get a few words out. So far, the funniest part of speaking Spanish was when I was ordering a sandwich and I thought I’d stick to something simple like a ham and cheese… then the sandwich lady asked me, “jamon de pavo o jamon de cerdo?” Turkey ham? Or pork ham? I wasn’t aware that “ham” was generic for “lunch meat.”

So about six bucks?
So about six bucks?

The other shocking thing is figuring out the currency. At the current exchange rate, it’s about 1,881 Colombian pesos to one U.S. dollar. So far, I’ve been knocking off three zeros, dividing by half and adding a little on top. Is it my new math?

 

Artfully Learning Spanish Two

Here’s another doodle about learning Spanish. The previous one was not as much fun to draw as this one with the octopus.

A glass of juice with squid, por favor.
A glass of juice with octopus, por favor.

It makes me laugh to think how delighted I would be if I used this phrase incorrectly and someone actually brought me a glass of juice with an octopus in it (that would be a lesson I would never forget!). Considering my “100 challenge” to match my 100 in Dhaka, I imagine that I have many glasses of juice in my future. I don’t think any new list I compile will match the popularity of my list of 100 restaurants in Dhaka… but, who can predict what the google bots will pick up?

Artfully Learning Fun(ny) Spanish

La esposa y las esposas.
” La esposa y las esposas.

Learning a new language (and culture) is both fun, and sometimes, funny. The general assumption about Spanish is that you can put an “o” on the end of the wordo (see, like that) and that this “o” will make it Spanish. Lots of the words are the indeed the same or similar in English and Spanish. These are called cognates. An example is dictionary: diccionario. Looks the same, must be the same. But, how easily one can land, mouth on foot! Here are some other words and phrases that can make for sticky or embarrassing situations (does my quick doodle better illustrate the point?).

“embarrazado” = to be a pregnant man (the “o” means that you are a man). To be embarrassed is “avergonzado” which makes me think about modern journalism being “gonzo”…
“las esposas” = the wives or handcuffs (useful if you are talking about two or more wives or handcuffs). Perhaps somehow related to “ball and chain?”

Also, today is “martes trece” or “Tuesday the 13th” which is the equivalent to “Friday the Thirteenth” — a day of bad luck, a day not to leave your house, not to start a new business, etc. in Spanish-speaking countries. Perhaps a day to stay indoors looking up funny cognates online. I am taking note of these as I go along, so if I get them wrong, please comment! I look forward to trying to avoid too many encounters of foot in mouth once I get to Colombia.