Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some more Spain...

My last evening in Spain, I managed to do something that I have wanted to do for years: I wrote on a dirty car. My friend documented the process (see image below). Now, to really understand how awesome this is, you need to understand something. In Spain, they don't simply write lávame ("wash me") in the residue and grime, as we are accustomed to doing in the U.S. Oh no, it's much better than that. They write guarro. The first time I saw that written on a car, I remember asking what it meant. My friend told me and it cracked me up for the rest of the day. I then made it my life-long goal to find a vehicle deserving of such a compliment.

Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary © 2005 Oxford University Press:
guarro -rra sustantivo masculino, femenino (Esp fam)
  1. (persona sucia) filthy pig (colloq)
  1. (indecente, vulgar): es un ~ he's really disgusting
Here is my handiwork. The layers of atrociousness on this automobile were such that I had to actually lick each finger before writing to cut through to the surface of the car itself. I am not sure if exclamation marks are usually part of the finished product, but I deemed them appropriate for the situation.

I like to think that the car owner was not terribly insulted by my actions, but perhaps... inspired to give the little guy a nice "rinse." Or a scouring.

Actually, one of my Spanish friends who knew about my guarro dream, had earlier that day pointed out a marginally unclean car for me to leave my mark. Only after I had completed the task, did he admit, "That was Alberto's car." Hahahahahahahahahaha. What a dirty little trick (no pun intended). Sigh. Oh, I love it.

On the subject of writing things on public surfaces, I came across quite a funny sign in a Spanish restaurant bathroom:

It reads: "Directed to bathroom painters and artists. If you want to do it, please make it something pleasant, decorative, and original. (1) So that we don't have to paint the door again. (2) So that later they say that these places don't inspire sighs and passions."

I wonder, actually, if the translation of "sighs and passions" might instead be something a bit sarcastic, meant to hint more towards "astonished gasps and feelings of anger and retaliation." I say this only after years of reading the back of many a bathroom door. When people bring Sharpies with them to the john, they generally have an agenda to share with the world as well: Not always a pleasant one, and usually inviting of follow-up commentary. That's the way it works.

Then there are people who bring cameras with them into bathroom stalls. I mean, what's with those people?

I love this hat. I really do. I love it because it uses the abbreviated version of one of my favorite Spanish swears. Joé, qué caló, is what leaves the mouths of native speakers when they say, joder, qué calor. It basically means, "f$%# it's hot out!" ¡Qué calor! = "What heat!" Also, it made me realize that the sound I often hear from Spaniards at the beginning of sentences, a strong "HO" sound from the back of the throat (like a combination of Santa Claus and the French "r"), is actually the beginning of a swear that they don't finish. ¡Joé! or ¡Jo!

If you'd like to read up more on this swear, what is probably one of Spanish's most versitile, you can visit the linked words in this sentence. Or you can visit the Word Reference Forums. The explanations in the forums are, however, in Spanish. And if you don't know Spanish, then, joé, that's not going to help you at all.

Last subject of today's blog entry is one that I had a lot of fun with. This was part of an airplane ride with Vueling airlines. They had an absolutely brilliant page in their in-flight magazine in which passengers from various, sequential flights create a piece-by-piece story. The first sentence was started by them, and then they left a bunch of lines for the rest to be filled out. My Colombian friend and I added to the English side, and then to the Spanish.

Here is the English side:

I wrote the "... but it did..." part, and my friend followed with the "My neighbors..." part.

And here is the Spanish side (translated below):

I didn't think that all the food would go bad in a week.

Passenger in a previous flight:
Who would have thought that a trip of 48 hours would become a week-long odyssey?

My friend's addition:
From the moment I left, I was in a race against the clock to bring the "snack" to its destination.

... and, last but not least...

My addition:
At first, all went well. Apart from being in a hurry, I had my red cape, a basket, and much excitement to see my grandmother.

Ah, yes. I felt clever.

What I wouldn't give to see how the stories ended up...


  1. Hey Kristy,
    Looks like a great trip! I enjoyed reading about all your adventures. Makes me want to just get up, leave my work cube, and fly away somewhere.

  2. Hi Kristy,

    I stumbled across a link to your blog here I think from a facebook post (?) but anyway, wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying reading it between projects at work. Man, its been a while! I'm envious of your travels :-) Hope all is well,

    -Andy Tibbs

  3. Thanks, Andy! Lovely to hear from you after all these years! Glad my blog has entertained you so... :)