Fun with Words

The Capt and I have learned many new Spanish words and phrases during our time in Mexico. Usually the ones we use the most are not so much because they’re easy to remember, but because they’re fun to say. Here’s a short list of our favs and they’re meanings. We invite you to try them in your daily conversations – so fun!

– Que Lastima!! – This came from our Baja Ha-Ha crew member, Michelle, who knew much more Spanish than the rest of us three combined (Capt, crew member Nick and me). She taught us “Che Lastima!” which means, “Too Bad!” I’m sure the Spanish don’t use it the way we have come to use it, which is in the basic context of “tough shit.”

– Topolobampo– This is the name of a town on the north eastern side of the Sea of Cortez. Most cruisers hit this marina to check out the Copper Canyon area. We did not know about Topolobampo when we were up in the sea, but we surely would have revised our cruising plans in order to check it out, merely to say on a daily basis, “We’re in TOPOLOBAMPO!” When one has no words for something, simply just say Topolobampo. Having a bad day? TOMPOLABUMPO!! Already, I feel better.

– Servilletas– This means “napkins” in Spanish (pronounced, “Serve-ee-et-ahs”). Some things just sound better in another language. This also goes for the words, Acitunas (Ah-say-tunas), instead of olives, Aguacate (Aug-wah-cah-tay) instead of Avocado, Apio (Ah-pee-oh) instead of celery, Championes (Cham-pee-oh-nays) instead of mushrooms, and calabacitas (Cala-bah-see-tas) instead of squash. I just really enjoy the Spanish alternatives to the harsh English words. Or maybe I just want to sound like a smarty-pants. It’s a toss up.

– Que es esto? – I’ve written about using this phrase in most shopping situations on our trip. It simply asks, “What is this?” It is very useful, but only if the person responds in English. Baby steps.

– Como si dice…? – Most people with basic high school Spanish know this phrase, meaning, “how do you say…(fill in the blank)?” But, I took Italian in high school, so it took me a little while to catch onto this phrase. I kept having to ask Dave, “How do you say, ‘how do you say’?” But once I had it correct and memorized, it was a great way of learning new Spanish words. This is mainly how I learned all the great fruit and vegetable words I love so much above.

– Ipo – I’m guessing on the spelling of this one since it’s only been spoken to me (pronounced “Eee-Poh”). It means hiccup. I had them over and over again one day, and they were especially bad while out eating at Tacos de Lena that night. We asked “Como si dice…?” and then I hiccuped. Pedro said they call it “Ipo.” Now Dave just goes around saying “EEEEE-PO!” all day long.

– Me Gustaria – This is a simple way of saying “I’d like…” Ann from s/v Charisma and I had a conversation one day where we both agreed that it felt awkward and somewhat rude to say “Yo quiero,” or “I want” to a waiter. We both felt like we needed to figure out a more polite way of ordering our food, like “I would like to have,” or just, “I’d like.” So, we looked it up. And it’s “Me gustaria.” Which sort of made us slap our hands to our foreheads and say, “Duh!” To say, “I like” something, is “Me gusto(a).” So, of course, “Me gustaria” would mean, “I’d like.” Now I order as such: “Me gustaria tres tacos de asada con maiz tortillas. Gracias.” Now I don’t feel like such a gringo just using old Taco Bell ads to get what I want.

I’m sure I’m leaving out some great phrases or words. Maybe I’ll post a sequel to this if any one enjoyed this topic. If you didn’t enjoy it, well, “Che lastima!.” 🙂

-SME