Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New friends, and my first complaint

Well, it took a whole 10 days, but I've finally found something to complain about in Santiago.  I'm not counting things that can be chalked up to "another culture", or my "american leanings".  I took a close look at the metro map today on my way to work, and I realized that in addition to the color coding system, they have also numbered the 5 different metro lines.  For simplicity's sake, they named them Linea (line) 1, Linea 2, Linea 4, Linea 4a, and Linea 5.

Why can't anything ever be simple? 4 and 4a???  What about 3?  Why was that number skipped?  Sometimes I think governments do this sort of thing just to torture the people who are actually paying attention.  Of course I say that, but there are protests going on for cheaper public education and things that actually affect families.  I might start my own protest to rename line 4a to line 3.  I'm banking on the assumption that people down here simply like to riot.  Well, if you see me on "locked up abroad" in a couple months, you'll know why.  In a prison full of wrongfully-interred expatriates, I'll be the belle of the moron ball.

I had a late lunch with a friend of Jay's today.  Her name is Jocelyn, and she's a very cool girl.  Over ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice) and empanadas, we spent half the time talking in Spanish (truthfully, probably 3/4 of the time) and the rest talking in English.  She was super helpful in trying to learn all the different Chilean slang (modismos) as well as tidying up some of the other phrases and ideas I incorrectly use.  I've realized that I love to translate analogies or common phrases from English into Spanish, and I almost always get a blank look or head-shake from the natives.  The only example I can think of right now is "since the birth of our nation", and in spanish the phrase is just the simple "from the start".  Once I become fluent, I'm going to forcefully assert my will on the language.  Chile has no idea what's about to hit it.

My camera accompanied me on my trip to the supermarket tonight in hopes of finding some interesting things to capture, but sadly the supermarket was quite similar to most supermarkets in the United States.  The only blatant differences besides the names of everything were the following:
There are no jars of tomato sauce, everything is in bags.
 Same thing goes for pasta.

Also, Tony the tiger has crossed over to the dark side.  Marginally healthy Frosted Flakes be damned.

The only incident came when I couldn't find any type of jelly in the aisles, and couldn't remember the proper name for it.  I ended up miming spreading jelly on a piece of bread to a security guard for a while, then repeated the same motions with 2 other grocery store employees.  One had no idea, the other lead me to cream cheese ("quieres queso?") despite my repeated cries of "jelly! fruita para pan!"  After coming home, I looked up "Jelly" in my Spanish-English dictionary.  'jalea'.  Three people who work with food for a living couldn't do that math?

Seriously, after I take over this country, the first order of business will be to rename the metro, and the second will be government mandated grocery store employee training.  After that, recess.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait till you re-read these posts in a few months & realize how far your examples of Spanish have already come. As in, I'm pretty sure it's "fruta por pan," not "fruita para pan."


    PS I read this & lol'd while waiting for help at tech stop & drew several awkward looks. I was tempted to explain, but didn't.