Palabra Del Día
Gemütliche is a very special word indeed. So special, in fact, that despite its not being Spanish, it calls for a one-time revival of the famous Palabra Del Día (lit: "Word of the Day") tradition, that I bet you thought was long-finished on this blog. Gemütliche means "cosy". It means comfortable. It means warm and fuzzy and cute — and all in that distinctive, Germanic, central European way that can't be found elsewhere in this world. I've heard the word gemütliche used many times, here in Kitzbühel; and I'm not surprised by this at all. Kitzbühel is possibly about as gemütliche a place as you could ever find: small, proud, beautiful and cosy; and extremely Austrian. And like so many other highly expressive German words, gemütliche also found its way firmly into the Yiddish language, and subsequently into modern Yiddish-peppered American English — which is why I've known it for as long as I can remember.
A paro is a "strike" or a "demonstration". Generally, disgruntled workers hold a paro. It usually involved the stoppage of services (such as public transport), rioting, and sometimes violence. Since I'm going to Bolivia soon, I'll no doubt be witnessing quite a few paros there (as they're basically a way of life in Bolivia). In fact, there's a big paro going on there right now — I hope it's finished by the time I arrive there. Paro can also mean "unemployed": a dole bludger could say "estoy en paro" (lit: "I'm unemployed"). Also elderly people and smokers (in particular) are sometimes known to have a "paro cardiaco" (lit: "cardiac arrest", or "heart attack").
Definitely not anyone's favourite thing (apart from the local council — which around here is Caja Municipal Cusco), a multa is a "fine", or "payment penalty". Similarly, the verb multar means "to fine". Someone can "pone una multa a tí" (lit: "give you a fine"), or they can just "te multa" (lit: "fine you"). You can "paga tus multas" (lit: "pay your fines"); or alternatively, you could "pide tus multas" (lit: "lose your fines"). One way or another, they're always a pain in the a$$.
Here's an important one for describing those ever-present, ever-inquisitive, ever-adorable Peruvian children: travieso ("cheeky"). The word travieso literally means "naughty". Other possibilities for describing those devilish little antics include fresco (also "cheeky" — literally "fresh"), and descarado (once again "cheeky" — literally "shameless"). The kids around here are generally fairly well-behaved — but they're also almost always in big groups, so this gives them the confidence to do mischievous things that they might not otherwise dare to do. So watch out!
The verb masticar simply means "to chew". It's quite similar to the English word "masticate", of the same meaning; except that unlike the English word, it generally isn't confused with another word of similar sound, but of a very different meaning :P. If you go to a parrillada (Argentinean steak house), and you get a particularly tough piece of meat, then you might think to yourself "voy a tener que masticarlo por mucho tiempo" (lit: "I'm going to have to chew this for a while"). Note that in Spanish, they have a different word for "chewing-gum": they call it chicle.
An abrazo is a hug. Hugs are very important the world over, but they're even more so over here in the Latin world. When you meet someone around here — whether they be a long-lost friend or a complete stranger — you give 'em an abrazo. A handshake simply will not do. A beso (kiss) is also required, when meeting with the ladies (any ladies). When you write someone a card in Spanish, it's common to end it with the salutation un abrazo, or simply abrazos (where we might write "best wishes"). The verb abrazar means "to hug": so when I meet someone in Peru, yo le abrazo (lit: "I hug them").
For Latin Americans, it's deporte ("sport" — although not as important as fútbol, of course). For Israelis, it's chai ("life"). For Asians, it's special price today, too dollar for you. For everyone, it's regateo ("bargaining"). Australians like myself are generally not the world's most adept regateadores ("bargainers"), but most (including myself) improve rapidly after a visit to paises del regateo ("countries of bargaining"). After Mexico and Peru, I can definitely say that ahora regateo más duro que hice antes ("I bargain harder now than I did before"). If you're thinking of coming here, plan on improving your skills at regateo too.
In relation to food — to meat in particular — graso means "fatty". Some meats, such as carne de vaca (beef) and pollo (chicken) are only pocito graso; others such as tocino (bacon) and cuy are muy graso. Graso is different to the word gordo, which is used to describe a person as fat or chubby. The noun grasa means "grease", "fat", or "lard" — so it's specific to animal products. Don't eat too much comida grasienta (fatty / greasy food), or you'll end up gordito y feo ("fat and ugly")!
Mareos literally means "dizziness". When you run around in circles, you might say afterwards: "tengo mareos" ("I feel dizzy"). But this word also has other interesting meanings. If someone's so drunk that they can't walk in a straight line, you could say: "es mareado" ("he's tipsy"). And here in the Andean highlands, mareos often has a special, specific meaning. It's very common for people to have altitude sickness in the mountains, and the common symptoms of dizziness and light-headedness are referred to as mareos.
The literal translation of amaneciendo is "dawning" (of the day). However, en Español this word is a vivid and romantic thing to say. It alludes to the beauty of the gradual change in colour of the sky at dawn, from pitch black to dark greyish-blue, to a paler shade of misty blue, and finally to the beautiful golden orangey-blue that can be seen just before sunrise. Along with the sky, "está amaneciendo" (lit: "it's dawning") brings with it the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, and the serenity of the sea. It's a good thing to say to your girlfriend, next time you're on an ocean cruise watching the day be born.