Saturday, January 27, 2018

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma

If you missed it you might enjoy reading my first post about my visit to Cali, Colombia, No des papaya.  I talked about all of the cool new Spanish I picked up while I was there.  In today's post I'm going to share my experiences with the city itself.

Let's jump right into it.

One thing I should mention is that Cali is short for Santiago de Cali, which is in the Valle de Cauca.

You may not know this, but Cali has been proclaimed itself the Salsa capital of the world.  And by Salsa I mean the dance, not the condiment.   I would say the city has good reason to make that claim.

You hear Salsa music playing everywhere in Cali.  In the streets, in the bars and night clubs, in stores, in restaurants, in taxis, in cars driving by, on the radio, you can't avoid it.  I mean you literally hear Salsa being played everywhere.  

But they don't just dance Salsa, they dance Salsa Caleña.  Often referred to as Colombian Salsa.  

If you dance Salsa or have seen people dancing Salsa, it was most likely Cuban, Puerto Rican or New York style Salsa.  But Salsa Caleña is a different animal.  It's famous for it's fancy foot work.  Here are 47 seconds of the amazing foot work Salsa Caleña is known for:

If you can't see the video, here's the direct link:

I actually took a Salsa lesson when I was there.  When in Rome, right?  

There is no shortage of Salsa schools in Cali.  They're practically on every corner.  I read an article that said there are around 200 Salsa schools in Cali.

But let's move on, there's a lot more to do in Cali than dance Salsa.

One of the must see attractions in Cali is the Cristo Rey.  It's a smaller, but equally impressive copy  of the Brazilian version.

It's absolutely amazing to see it up close and personal.  Here's one more picture for you:

Up next is the parque de gatos.  I really enjoyed visiting this park, which is ironic because I'm not a cat person.

The cats are known as Los Gatos de Tejada.  Or more affectionately as los gatos.   The park contains numerous sculptures of cats that represent various things, each gato has a sign that tells the story of what it represents.  Here a few of my favorites.  Google "parque de gatos cali" and you'll find pictures of nearly all of the cats.

Here's an interesting cultural note about Cali that won't go unnoticed while you're there.  I found it to be rather surprising and I suspect you will too.  

You see, Cali is not just the capital of Salsa, it's also known for being home of some of the most beautiful women in Colombia.  Not to mention the capital of plastic surgery.  

And when I say plastic surgery, yes, I'm referring aumentos de gluteos y senos.  And of course lipo, or liposución.

Aumentos de gluteos y senos
Butt and breast augmentations

Many women choose to get plastic surgery, it's commonplace.  Rumor has it that even girls as young as 15 will get surgery as a quiseñera present if they come from families that can afford it.   And compared to the US, plastic surgery is cheap there.  In fact, it's cheap all throughout Colombia.

But wait, I'm not done yet.  That isn't the part I found surprising.  

Like anywhere else in the world, Colombia uses mannequins to sell clothes.

Did you notice anything unusual about those mannequins?  If you didn't let me help you out.

And you'll see it on the "flip" side as well.

Yep, the culture of cirugía plastica extends to mannequins as well.  Apparently "bigger is better" in Cali. 

Let's move on.

Cali is also known for it's night life.  I mean, how could a city that claims to be the Salsa capital of the world not be famous for it's night life?  Tin Tin Deo is a well known place to go Salsa dancing.

I'd be irresponsible if I didn't teach you the proper lingo to talk about going partying in Colombia.

You might think that in Colombia you ir de fiesta (to go partying) but instead you ir de rumba.  It means the same thing, but you want to sound like a real Colombian, so use ir de rumba.

If you like to party, you're a rumbero or rumbera.   Rumbear is another way to say you're going to go partying.

Remember I said that Cali is the (self-proclaimed) Salsa capital of the world?   Well, if you're the type who loves Salsa music and likes to dance Salsa, then you're a salsero

Now, what's a night out on the town without a few drinks?

If you're a rum drinker, you may want to try one of Colombia's very own rums.

I've never been the one to "pop bottles" in the club, but you can order a bottle of Ron de Caldas for about $30 in the discos and have a good time.  For that price my friends and I hicimos una vaca and  didn't hesitate to pop a few bottles. 

Interestingly enough, your bottle of rum is served with a pitcher of water that has fresh limes squeezed in it that serves as your chaser as opposed to mixing it with Coke.   

Let me explain what hicimos una vaca means.

The expression is hacer una vaca and it means you and your friends pool money together to pay for something.  In this case it was a bottle of Ron de Caldas, but it could be for anything.

Ok, enough about partying.  It's time to explain the title of this post.

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma 

First of all, loma means hill.  Geographically Cali sits in a Valley and is therefore pretty much flat.  So if we translate this literally it's something like

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma 
Cali is Cali, the rest is hills

Not impressive right?  Let's translate this again with the real spirit of the expression.

Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma 
Cali is the best city in the world

I don't know about that, but I do know it's time for me to wrap this post up. 

I spent 8 days in Cali and really enjoyed it.  This post really doesn't do the town justice, but it should be enough to give you a glimpse of the city and a tiny slice of the culture in Cali. 

Have you been to Cali? What did you think of the city?  Leave a comment down below and share your opinions and experiences. 

¡Hasta la próxima!

Monday, November 27, 2017

No des papaya

Just a few weeks ago I was back in Colombia, but this time I traveled to the city of Cali.

If you don't know where Cali is, here's a map of Colombia:

Don't feel bad, I didn't know exactly where it was either.  Now that we've oriented ourselves, let's jump right into the good stuff, the Spanish.  We'll leave the tourist attractions for the next post.

We'll start with what was perhaps the most surprising thing to me about Cali.  The traffic.

Cali, like many other cities in Central and South America is extremely congested and rush hour lasts for a lot more than an hour.

The good news is that gave it me more than enough time to talk to cab drivers about the amount of tráfico there.

Except they didn't use the word tráfico, instead you're going to hear the word tráncon

En la avenida 19 hay trancón
There's a traffic jam on 19th avenue

No, yo no voy para allá y hay mucho trancón
No, I'm not going over there because there's a lot of traffic

Hay mucho trancón y mucho accidente
There's a lot of traffic and a lot of accidents

By the way, you can refer to rush hour as la hora pico.  And the word trancón is used throughout Colombia and Central America, so your Spanish will get a lot of mileage out of this one.

One other interesting thing about traffic in Cali, Medellín, and I imagine most of Colombia, is that lots of people ride motorcycles or scooters.  The word for motorcycles  in Spanish is motocicleta, but you'll just hear them referred to as motos.

There is one advantage to riding a moto as your primary form of transportation, it allows you to beat the traffic.   People ride in between the cars and zig-zaging in and out lanes.

They do it so much in fact, that you'll see street signs discouraging it.

Yes, you read that correctly.  No Zigzaguear.  I laughed when I saw it.   I was thinking, "You've got to be kidding".   But as it turns out zigzaguear is an official word in the Spanish dictionary.  You can read about it in Wordreference.   It's not only an official word, it's fairly common in other countries too.

This next one is a fun word.  Cuchibarbi.

So what does cuchibarbi mean?  I can sum it up pretty easily in English with one word, milf.   Although cuchibarbi isn't considered vulgar as is it's English counterpart.  And cuchibarbi appears to be uniquely Colombian.

But to be more specific and to explain things a little better for those of you who aren't familiar with the term milf, a cuchibarbi is an older woman, typically 35+, that's still very attractive and dresses as if she were still in her 20's, provacatively  with short skirts (minifaldas) and plunging necklines (escote).  She may or may not have  had a bit (or a lot) of plastic surgery.  And she may or may not have kids.

The word is a combination of the word cucha, meaning vieja, which is a way of referring to an older woman (potentially disrespectfully) and Barbie, like the doll.  Don't ask me how cucha becomes cuchi, because I have no idea.

Mira esa cuchibarbi, que buena esta!
Look at that milf, she's hot

Miren la faldita que se puso hoy la cuchibarbi
Look at that tiny skirt the milf put on today

Remember that even though I translated cuchibarbi as milf, it isn't as vulgar.  I could've also said "older woman".   And in the second example you see "la" cuchibarbi, because they're referring to a particular woman, as opposed to just any cuchibarbi.

Another fun word I learned was mecatos.   Mecatos are snacks, or to be more specific, junk food.

Another expression I heard on several occasions is "en bombas".  It means you need to do something or go somewhere really quickly,

Traigame ese libro en bombas
Bring me that book right away

Voy en bombas y ya regreso
I'm going really quickly and I'll be right back

Me voy en bombas y cuando llego a la oficina, oh sorpresa, no hay parqueadero
I leave in a hurry and when I get to the office, surprise, there's no parking available

I made some time to go to downtown Cali (el centro) to do some shopping.   One of the things I noticed is that there are signs everywhere that read "Remate".

What is a remate?  A sale, but not just any sale.  It's a killer sale with steep discounts.

Next let me talk about some of the words I heard people using to address each other while I was out and about in the streets.

First up is the term pana.  So what does pana mean?  Pana is a way of referring to a good friend.

Miguel es mi pana
Miguel is my homeboy

Ok, maybe homeboy is a bit too informal (but then again maybe not) but you get the idea.   You'll hear this word used in Venezuela too.

You can also use it as an informal but affectionate way to refer to someone, like when you want to get their attention.  In this case it's like saying friend, dude, sweetie.  I wouldn't say there's an exact translation, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly after hearing it a few times.

Disculpe pana, me puedes decir la hora?
Excuse me dude, can you tell me the time?

¿Cómo estás mi pana?
How are you my friend?

Ayer estuve con unos panas 
I was with my a few of my buddies yesterday

The words nene and nena convey the same meaning.

Disculpe nena, ¿me ayudas?
Excuse me sweetie, can you help me?

And just like pana, nene (for guys) and nena (for girls) are used in Venezuela.

Mi reina (my queen) is another attention getter I heard.  Guys, you can also use this one to address to affectionately address that cute girl you just met or have been dating.  Or married.

I overheard a conversation with a couple of ladies from Venezuela and they used the word marica to refer to each other.   Men can use this term in the same fashion as well.  It's very much a Colombian and Venezuelan thing, but you need to be careful with it because it's also a derogatory term for homosexuals.  In fact,  in most of the Spanish speaking world it only carries the derogatory meaning.

Here's a little bit more Venezuela Spanish I heard, chamo and chama.  You can use it as an informal and affectionate way to refer to people as well. 

One thing you won't find in Colombia is una famarcia.  Not because they don't exist, but because a farmacia in Colombia is called a droguería.  By the way, both of those words mean pharmacy in English.

I certainly heard my fair share of Colombian swear words in Cali, but you can read about those in my other blog, No Seas Pelangoche.  That blog is dedicated to the really fun stuff, swear words.  Or as I like to call them, sentence enhancers.   Right now I'm only going to share a couple of words to help you avoid swearing in Colombia.

If you want to avoid saying jueputa (think SOB), then you can say juepucha or juemadre instead.  They're very mild words that you can use anytime you'd say something like darn it or son of a gun.

And finally we get to the title of this post.

No des papaya

So what does no des papaya mean?  On the off chance you're never heard of a papaya, it's fruit.

Now that we know that we can make a translation, or at least attempt to.

No des papaya
Don't give  papaya

Well, that wasn't exactly helpful was it?  Let me stop teasing you and ir al grano (get to the point).

No des papaya is something you will hear over and over again in Colombia, and it means to not give someone an opportunity to take advantage of you.  Like by walking around with your brand new iPhone in your hand taking pictures and talking on the phone. 

If your Colombian friends or sometimes even complete strangers see you doing things that will potentially make you a victim of crime , they will say this to you.   Especially with cell phones. 

As Americans we're very accustomed to walking around and doing whatever we please with our cell phones without any real fear of having them snatched out our hands.   But be advised (as I have been numerous times) don't walk around with your cell phone out in the streets of Colombia, or at least not in the bigger cities with higher crime rates.  Step into a store, restaurant or any place that gets you off the streets before using your phone.  Remember,  No des papaya.

And finally we get to a bit of Spanish that actually took me by surprise.   I was checking out of my hotel and said:

Estoy listo para dejar la habitación
I'm ready to check out

Or literally, leave the room.

To which the gentleman replied:

¿Quiere entregar la habitación?
Do you want to check out?

Technically, entregar means to hand over or deliver something, but apparently you can entregar a hotel room as well.   So far I've only heard this in Colombia, but if you've heard it somewhere else, please, leave a comment below.

If you want to learn more about checking in and out of hotel rooms, check out my post:

¿A qué hora es la hora de entrada?

You can also download my list of 54 Spanish Hotel phrases for travelers, for free of course.

And finally, I think that about wraps it up.

I recommend you try out some of these words on your travels and/or your Colombian friends.  They will surely be impressed with your new found knowledge.

If you enjoyed this post, this isn't my first encounter with Colombian Spanish, so here are the links to the other posts I've written about Colombian Spanish.

¿De tela o chócolo?

¿Quiubo parcero?

¿Hola bebé qué más pues?

And lastly, if you want to learn more about Colombian Spanish, I highly recommend an ebook appropriately titled Colombian Spanish.  It's actually a great book and goes well beyond teaching you Colombian slang.  It offers some great advice on how speak more like a native and less like a gringo, and touches on Colombian culture  as well.   I was extremely hesitant to buy it because my bookshelf was already overflowing with Spanish books, but I'm glad I did.

Stay tuned as I've got several more posts lined up to share the rest of my adventures in Cali with you all!

¡Ojalá que les sirva!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Qué pichudo mae

Today we're going to look at a thank you note for a wedding gift I gave to my tico friend that just recently got married.  By the way, if you're wondering what the word tico means, it's an apodo (nick name) for the people of Costa Rica, or costarricenses.  And tica would be used for a woman.

He knows how much I love learning colloquial Spanish so he wrote the thank you note in pure Costa Rican slang.  Needless to say translating it kept me busy for several hours and I enjoyed every minute of it.   This little note certainly put my Spanish skills to the test.

I thought you all would enjoy the Spanish I learned, especially since I've already done all the hard work.

We're going to take a close look at this card, so here it is.

I'm not sure what was harder, deciphering his handwriting or the slang.  But with that said, let's examine this note line by line.

Qué pichudo mae

Let's start with the easy stuff, the word mae

Mae is the de facto Costa Rican word for dude, and you'll hear it constantly walking up and down the streets of San Jose and most likely all of Costa Rica.  Guys use it, girls use it, it's everywhere.  You can also use it to refer to a person in general.

Ese mae no me cae bien
I don't like that guy

Mae, ¿Dónde estás?
Dude, where are you?

Now, as always exercise some caution because you may just run across the one person who doesn't like the word or is offended by it.  Or takes offense at you (a.k.a a gringo) using it, but the word itself is perfectly safe.  Just remember it carries this meaning in Costa Rica.  In another country it may not exist at all or possibly be offensive.  Know your audience.

Next we get to pichudo.  Pichudo is another very Costa Rican word meaning genial or buenísimo in standard Spanish.   In English it would be something along the great, cool or awesome.

So our translation would be something along the lines of:

Qué pichudo mae
How awesome dude

Translating slang isn't an exact science, but this conveys the idea.

The next line is a bit trickier and I actually needed help with this one.

Mae, demasiados tenquius por esa harina

If you're looking at the word tenquius and can't figure out what it means or how to pronounce it, don't feel bad, you're not alone.  I searched the internet far and wide for the meaning of that one to no avail.  It turns it out it means "thank you's", but it sounds like "tank youz".  Go figure.

The next word, harina, is a lot easier.  The dictionary meaning is flour, but in Costa Rican Spanish it's money.  In fact, the currency of Costa Rica is called colones, but I'll write more about that in another post.

The literal translation "Too many thank you's" just doesn't sound right to my English ears, so I'm going with the below instead.

Mae, demasiados tenquius por esa harina
Dude, thanks so much for the money

Moving on the next line, this is something else I would never have figured out with my friends help.

Esta en tuas!

This actually has a bit of history to go with it and you will totally impress your Costa Rican friends with your knowledge of this one.  Or at least the one's old enough to remember this.

The first thing you need to know is that this phrase, when written in proper Spanish, is actually

Está en todas

And unlike the vast majority of the Spanish phrases I learn, I was actually able to learn the origin of this one.  Or least how it become popular.

These may look familiar to you.

Yep, they look like M&M's don't they?

Our phrase, estás en todas, became a popular saying as a result of an 80's commercial.   Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we get to watch this too.

If you don't see the video below, here's the direct link:

¡Con teens estás en todas!

Now, this is the hard part, translating our expression.   I'm thinking it's somewhere along the lines of you're awesome or really cool.

Moving right along we get to the next line.

Fue un placer contar con teus en esa tafies tan memorable

Keeping with our tradition of tackling the easy words first, tafies is a fiesta, or party in English.

Teus is a bit trickier.  My amigo tico told me that this simply means usted in pachuco.  Great, now we have to figure what pachuco is.

Pachuco is a very informal and slangy form of Costa Rican Spanish, which according to Google has it's roots in Mexican Spanish used in the days of zoot suits.   I can't really tell you much about it but a Google search will give you enough info to keep you busy if you're really interested.

And if you don't know, everyone in Costa Rica speaks with usted.  It's just what they do.

Fue un placer contar con teus en esa tafies tan memorable
It was a pleasure to have your support in this memorable occasion

As I mentioned earlier, tafies means party, but for translation purposes occasion or celebration seems to fit better.

Me comprare una chema y la guila unas chanclas

Chema is Costa Rican slang for a shirt.  And just so you know, they use the word cachos for shoes.  I mentioned that in some of my earlier posts about Costan Rican Spanish.

Next we get another very, very common word in Costa Rican slang.  Guila.

Here's a well written definition in Spanish I found.

Guila should actually be written as güila, and it can be used to refer to a guy or a girl in general, or your girlfriend or boyfriend.  It's always written as güila, so to specify the gender you  say el güila or la güila.  In informal writing it's nearly always seen written with a regular u and not ü (with the diaeresis).

Mae, esa güila es muy bonita
Dude, that girl is really pretty

¿Como está su guila?
How's your girlfriend?

Es un queque, right?  That's tico for "it's easy, right?"

Moving on.

Chanclas, are flip flops or sandalias (sandals).  Generally speaking, chanclas and sandalias are synonyms, with the exception that chanclas also refers to flip flips, while typically sandalias does not.

The word chancla generally refers to any flat sandal, but that's not a strict rule.  Various styles of sandals can be referred to as chanclas.

Me comprare una chema y la guila unas chanclas
I'm going to buy myself a shirt and my girlfriend some sandals

And we're finally getting to the end.

Espero que se le haga un nudo en la jupa desentrañando mi mensaje escrito en lenguaje de tiquicia.

Jupa means cabeza, or head.  And Tiquicia is nothing more than an affectionate reference to the country of Costa Rica itself.

Espero que se le haga un nudo en la jupa desentrañando mi mensaje escrito en lenguaje de tiquicia.
I hope you tie a knot in your head trying to figure out my message written in the language of Costa Rica.

And there you have it.  Go forth and impress your tico (Costa Rican) friends with this new bit of Spanish you've learned today.

If you want or need to learn more Costa Rican slang, I found these lessons on Costa Rican Spanish to be of great help.  They do a great job of zeroing in on the most common terms.  You can also find several books on Costa Rican slang at Amazon.

Of course the best thing to do to learn some Costa Rican slang is to make friends with some ticos or hop on a plane to Tiquicia, but if you can't do either one of those then the options I gave you above aren't bad either.

¡Hasta la próxima!

Friday, June 9, 2017


In my last post, Tenemos Chinelas, I gave you a mini-tour of Managua, Nicaragua.  And a little bit of Nicaraguan Spanish to boot.  I also promised you I'd do the the same for the city of Granada.   So with that said, let the Nicaragua adventure continue.

Let's start with a little bit of Nicaraguan Spanish I should have explained to you the first time.

People from Nicaragua are called nicaragüense.  But that's kind of a mouthful, so I like to say the abbreviated version, nica.  And it's nica for both sexes.  You would say un nica for a man and una nica for a woman.

¿Eres nica?
Are you Nicaraguan?

Soy Nica y eso nadie me lo quita
I'm Nicaraguan and no one can take that from me

Here's the Nicaraguan flag (bandera) if you're never seen it.

The currency of Nicaragua is called the córdoba.  Here are a few pics.

Great!  We've got the basics covered so let's get on with that mini-tour of Granada.

I got to Granada in a buseta much like this one.  A buseta is just a smaller version of an autobús.  It can only carry 30 people or so.

My Granada adventure started with ride in a coche de caballos or a horse and buggy.   You may also hear a coach and buggy referred to as un coche con carruaje.  Or cabellos con  carruajes.  If you're familiar with Spanish you know how it is, there's always more than one way to say something.

It's an enjoyable way to tour the city.   You can find them at Parque Colón.  They'll be lined up in the street waiting to take you on the grand tour.

By the way, the word for tour in Spanish is recorrido.  However, don't be surprised if you just hear the word tour.  With a Spanish accent of course.

Granada is a colonial town full of history and super old houses.  The guide pointed out one that was over 400 years old.  Amazing.  What's even more amazing is I didn't take pictures.  What was I thinking?

After touring the city we headed to the Centro Turistico.

The Centro Turistico in Grenada is an awesome place.  It's like a huge park where families go to have picnics, let the kids run around, take a swim in the lake (Lago Cocibolca) and have asados (barbeques).  You can also walk along the lake front and more importantly, take a tour of Las Isletas.

Las Isletas consist of 75 small islands formed from eruptions of el volcán Mombacho.  A good number of the isletas have houses of varying sizes on them.  By the way, an isleta is a small island.  A regular size island (however big that is) is an isla.

If you take a recorrido of Las Isletas you'll also get a chance to have lunch at one of the restaurants found on the isletas.

I really enjoyed the recorrido of las isletas.   Nothing like enjoying the cool breeze on the lake on a hot day.

I'll leave you with a couple of more pictures of Granada.

And to wrap up my mini-tour of Granada, here's a short promo video I found of Granada.  It will give you a great idea of what to expect if you decide to go.

And to finally wrap this post up, let's look at the word diacachimba.

You probably immediately noticed the difference in spelling from what I typed and what's in the photo.  Since it's an informal word to begin with it really doesn't matter.     You may also see deachachimba.  Anyway, it means something is really cool, really well done, or even to say you're in a good mood.

Que fiesta mas deacachimba
This party is awesome

It can also apply to people.

Ese mae es deacachimba
This guy is really cool

Here are a couple more examples:

Esta entrada esta deacachimba
This post is awesome

Me siento diacachimba
I feel great

Tu carro está deacachimba
Your car is really cool

Este trabajo me esta quedando diacachimba
This job is turning out great

Well, that's it.  Almost.  The last thing I'll add is that if you get the chance try the Toña

and the Flor de Caña, which is their flagship rum.  Awesome stuff.

There really is a lot to do in Nicaragua, much more than I expected.  There were a few things and places I didn't get to see, so who knows, maybe a return trip is in order.

If you missed it, be sure to read part one of my adventures in Nicaragua, Tenemos chinelas.

That's it for today, Hasta la próxima!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tenemos Chinelas

Well, I've been traveling again, this time to Central America.  Managua, Nicaragua to be exact.  I have to say, I picked up a couple of interesting tidbits of Spanish that I'm going to share and I'll also give you a mini-tour of Managua and Granada.

Let's jump right into things.

I actually flew into Managuga from Costa Rica with an airline called Avianca on an avión that looked something like this:

When we got to Managua I was pleasantly surprised by the airport (Aeropuerto Internaciónal Augusto C Sandino).  It was clean and pretty modern.

From there my Nicaragua adventure begin!

I guess we'll start with one of the things that surprised me the most about Managua.  The traffic.  The streets are packed with cars.  La hora pico (rush hour) was absolutely insane.  And because of that, nearly all of the conversations I had with taxistas (taxi drivers) always included:

Hay mucho tráfico
There's a lot of traffic

Except that in Managua they don't say tráfico.  They say presa.

Hay mucha presa
There's a lot of traffic

 Here's another tip you'll need to know if you ever find yourself catching a cab in Managua.

The taxis are colectivos, meaning they pick up multiple passengers.  By the way, it's not uncommon to hear buses referred to as colectivos in some Latin American countries.  But I digress, let's get back on track.

If you're riding solo in a cab and someone else going your direction needs a ride, the taxista will pick them up too.  And there is no taximetro (taxi meter), so negotiate your carrera (fare) before you get in the cab.  And you can expect to pay what I call the gringo tax, meaning you're going to be overcharged.

It was also in a taxi cab that I came across the verb dilatar for first time.  In Managua, dilatar is a synonym for the verb tardar in the context of how long it takes to get somewhere.   Here's an example:

Me:       ¿Cuanto tiempo tarda para llegar al malecón?
             How long does it take to get to the boardwalk?

Taxista: Dilata unos diez minutos
             It takes about 10 minutes

Pan comida right?

Moving right along...

A popular greeting that Nicaragua (or at least Managua) shares with México is qué onda.  I heard this several times.  Qué onda simply means "What's up?".  It's very informal, used in exactly the same way you'd use it's English counterpart.

Another greeting I heard often is buenas.  Buenas is a informal greeting you can use any time of the day.  You can use it with pretty much anyone.  Unless of course you find yourself in a situation you need to be more formal in.  However, it's perfect for greeting folks in stores, restaurants, in the street, etc.  I think you get the idea.

As you walk or drive up and down the streets of Managua you'll see what they call an arbol de la vida everywhere.

I found them to be really pretty at night when they're all lit up.  However as nice as they may look, not everyone is a fan of these.  You see, they're illuminated all night, every night, 365 days a year, paid for by the tax payers.  They also have guards that protect the trees.  Also paid for by the tax payers.  I think you now understand why everyone isn't fan.  Anyway, a taxista filled me in on all the gory details, which I've spared you from.   At any rate, they are nice to look at regardless of the politics and controversy behind them.

I didn't have as much time as I'd like to get around Managua, but one of the places I felt obligated to visit was Puerto Salvador Allende.

Puerto Salvador Allende is what they refer to as the malecón, or boardwalk.   It sits on the orilla del Lago de Managua.  The lago (lake) is also called by it's indigenous name Lago Xolotlán.   By the way, orilla in this context means shore, or edge.

It's a really awesome place.  Huge, as a matter of fact.  You'll find restaurants and shopping, a playground for the kids, historical monuments, all kinds of cool stuff there to see and just a great place to pass the time walking around.   I went there at night because the summertime heat in Managua is insane (90+ degrees).

Night time at the malecón is amazing.  The restaurants have music blaring and are filled with people dining and dancing the night away.  The malecón is filled with locals and tourists alike just walking around and enjoying the atmosphere.

Here's a short video for you to see what it's like.  If you can't see the video, I also included the direct link.

Here are a few photos I took as well.  On the first couple you'll see the palm leaves that cover the benches. The word for those is palapas.

If you find yourself in Managua a visit to the malecón vale la pena (it's worth the trouble).

While this next word isn't exclusive to to Nicaragua, it was a new word I picked up.  I found myself sitting in a bank waiting for my friend to cambiar dinero (exchange money) and I was looking for a water fountain,  which you can call a fuente (para beber) or a bebedero.  Hard to believe after more than 10 years of learning Spanish I've never had to ask for a water fountain.

This post is starting to get a little long, so I'll wrap it up with today's expression, tenemos chinelas and finish the rest in part two, where I'll share the last couple of words I picked up and a brief tour of Granada.

And finally, we get to our expression, tenemos chinelas.

I actually heard "tenemos chinelas" in the airport on my way back to Costa Rica.  I was doing a bit of last minute shopping and while the owner of the shop was showing me all of her goods, she said tenemos chinelas.  Needless to say, I was surprised by the term as I had never heard it before.

It turns out chinelas in Nicaragua are nothing more than sandalias, or chancletas.  In other words, sandals.

The word seems to apply to any and all types of sandals.   The sandals the shop keeper showed me were pretty nice.  If you google the phrase chinelas nicaragua, you'll see a wide variety of chinelas in the results.

And ya, that's it for today. Be sure to read part two where I share a little more Nicaraguan Spanish with you, including a very, very Nicaraguan term as well as some of my photos of Granada.

¡Hasta próxima!