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 Getting Around in Latin America

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PostSubject: Getting Around in Latin America   Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:13 pm

Getting Around in Latin America

Vocabulario de la semana - Weekly Vocabulary

cuando pide direcciones a la gente - when you ask people for directions
tiene suerte - you're in luck
si no saben - if they don't know
está por allí - it's over there
lugar indefinido - indefinite place
que la persona - that the person
si está de pie - if you're on foot
a su destino - to your destination
cuántas veces - how many times
no queremos pararnos - (we) don't want to stop
que en verdad - that really (truly)
y no quieren admitir - and they don't want to admit
por supuesto - of course
hay mujeres - there are women
vamos a decir que - let's say that
¿Dónde está el edificio Vásquez? - Where is the Vásquez building?
donde está - where it is
y no tiene idea de lo que dijo - and you have no idea what they said
acabo de hablar con una vecina - I just talked to a neighbor
con su jefa - with her boss (feminine)
¿Dónde está . . . - Where is...?
Bueno, ¿Qué dijo? - Well, what did he say?
¡No tengo la menor idea! - I have no idea
y ahora quiere comprar - and now she wants to buy
incluyendo - including
si alguno de ustedes ha tenido - if any of you have had
tiene más para agregar a - have more to add to
nos encantaría - we would love
millas - miles
direcciones - directions
o - or
di stancias - distances
se usan kilómetros - kilometers are used
una milla - one mile
si tiene que manejar 30 millas - if you have to drive 30 miles
millas por hora - miles per hour

Cuando pide direcciones a la gente in a Latin American country, if they know where your destination is, tiene suerte and they will give you directions like those found in the "Locations" section of our Complete Spanish Course. However, si no saben, they usually won't let you know that they don't know. They will instead say, "Está por allí". Then they'll usually wave their arm and point to some lugar indefinido. If this happends to you, it should be a quick red flag que la persona isn't quite sure where the place is. If this happens and especially si está de pie, be sure to ask at least 3 to 4 people where the place is as you get closer a su destino; eventually you'll get there. I ca n't tell you cuántas veces this happened to me when I lived in Latin America.

Like the U.S., where many of us men don't no queremos pararnos and ask for directions (it's kind of a pride thing because we'd have to admit que en verdad we didn't know where we were going), in Latin America many men act similarly y no quieren admitir that they don't know where a certain destino is. Por supuesto, in both cultures, hay mujeres that do the same thing, but generally us men are the most guilty.

Now back to our original scenario. Vamos a decir que you want show off your newly acquired Spanish, and ask where the "Vásquez Building" is, so you say, "¿Dónde está el edificio Vasquez?" And, let's say that the person knows exactly donde está and rattles off some long description in Spanish y no tiene idea de lo que dijo. What should you do?

Acabo de hablar con una vecina last week who had an expe rience just like that. She was in Latin America con su jefa representing an adoption agency last month. They had to get to a certain building and she said, "¿Dónde está . . ." Her boss was so impressed that she knew Spanish, and after a lengthy description, the boss said, "Bueno, ¿Qué dijo?". She said, "¡No tengo la menor idea!"; they both laughed. She ended up calling me last week y ahora quiere comprar our course which has 13 major conversation sections, incluyendo a great locations section, so she can communicate better in Spanish and work through almost any situation.

Si alguno de ustedes ha tenido similar experiences, please let us know; we'd love to hear about them. Also, if any of you native speakers out there tiene más para agregar a this topic, please feel free to write in. Nos encantaría to hear from you.

Side Note: In Latin American millas are not used when speaking about direcciones o distancias. Instead of miles, se usan kilómetros. For your information, una milla equals approximately 1.6 kilometers. So, si tiene que manejar 30 millas, that would be equivalent to 48 kilometers. And, if you drive at 65 millas por hora that is the same as 104 kilometers per hour!
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