Monday, March 12, 2012


Saturday, July 31, 2010

more spanish!

méxico vs argentina
pool = piscina (maybe alberca) vs. pileta
jacket = chamarra vs. campera
t-shirt = playera vs. remera

rivalry - rivalidad
to score a goal - meter un gol
el fútbol es gracioso (funny)

leftovers are sobras

to leave a place is "irse," not salir. salir is more to go out. Por eso, salí de la oficina al kiosko y volví. Siempre me voy de la oficina as las 7.

with infinitives and gerunds, the pronoun can go "por atrás." Vamos a disfrutarlo. Estoy disfrutandolo.
with all other tenses, the pronoun must go adelante.

Monday, July 26, 2010

spanish lessons

random things learned in spanish class recently:

the verb haber (there is/are, there exist) is used more with tangible things. Hay dos libros en la mesa. Hay mucha gente en la parque.

the verb existir (to exist) is used more with ideas, arguments, abstract things. Existe muchos argumentos en favor del matrimonio homosexual (ahora legal en argentina)

en argentina, to say "to drink," always use tomar. beber is more formal and sounds odd.

because = porque, ya que, o por lo que
therefore = por eso, por lo tanto, o en consecuencia

when discussing rights, es derecho de [verbo], por ejemplo, derecho de casarse, o derecho de vivir libre de la tortura
o derecho al/ a la [sustantivo], por ejemplo, derecho a la vida, derecho al matrimonio, derecho a la igualidad

línea = line, but in the sense of line in a drawing, also lane en una autopista o carretera
fila o cola = line, in the sense of a line of people. hacer fila o hacer cola = to wait in line

suyo/suya = his/hers
tuyo/tuya = yours
cuyo = whose, often used with inanimate objects

here is aquí in Mexico, acá here in Argentina
ahí o allí = there, but there closeby, within eyesight generally
allá = there, but more like way over there

Estoy acá en la oficina, el vino está ahí en la sala, y hay más vino allá en la vinoteca.

I am terrible at the difference between imperfecto and pretérito. typically, pretérito is for actions that happened once and are done. imperfecto is for actions that were 1) habitual, 2) used to describe, eg, ella tenía 30 años, brian era jugador muy malo, or 3) when there are two subjects, such as discurso indirecto, eg, me dijo que iba a ir a la fiesta o me mandó correo diciendo que llevaba a dos chicas.

imperfecto is used much more in telling stories: me dolía mucho la cabeza y por eso no salí a la fiesta. or when one action interrupted an ongoing action: Cuando caminaba a la oficina vi a dos personas.

Interestingly, to say the same, puede ser, Cuando estaba caminando a la oficina vi a dos personas. For most purposes, estaba + gerund and imperfecto mean the same thing, and for whatever reason, the estaba + gerund form seems more common.

but watch out, with mientras, you need parallel construction. mientras caminaba a la oficina, escuchaba una fiesta.

a borrador is a rough draft, but the verb borrar does not mean to draft, it means to erase.

(photo is potrerillos, lake near mendoza)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

cool blog to recommend

Met a couple in Mendoza a few weeks ago, Lisa and Tony. Check out their post on Wine Camp. And now I really need to see the salt flats.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

ghost town

walking to work today at my normal hour (10), I was stunned -- the streets were empty. ghost town empty. where were the meandering abuelas that I usually have to dodge, the cars (that I also have to dodge), the other people walking to work? Is today a holiday I didn't remember? Then I hear a roar coming from a bar and I remember -- Argentina is playing Korea this morning.

Monday, June 14, 2010

try this, you'll hate it

That's what a friend said to me my first night in mendoza, handing me a fernet con coca. he was right - it was awful.

The SF Weekly, reporting on its popularity with hipsters, had it right.

When you hold a shot glass of Fernet-Branca to your nose, the first thing that strikes you is the physicality of the smell, which, if such a thing existed, is like black licorice-flavored Listerine. Put it to your lips and tip it back, and the assault on the throat and sinuses is aggressively medicinal. For many so-called "Fergins" uninitiated to the drink, it can be accompanied by a feeling that may either bring a tear to the eye or lunch to the esophagus. As a bitter Italian aperitif of more than 40 herbs and spices, it most often gets compared to Campari and Jägermeister, though by measure of accuracy, it's equally similar to Robitussin or Pennzoil.

6 weeks later, I have a bottle in my fridge. Wiki says:

Highly popular in Argentina, it is often taken as a national beverage. The production in this country is around 20 million litres, 35% sold in Buenos Aires province and Federal District and 30% in Córdoba province (with a population of 3 million people). Although originally fernet was mainly served with water or soda, now (since late eighties) the most common preparation is with Coca-Cola: A tall glass with several ice cubes is filled about 1/10 full with Fernet and then Coke is slowly added.

And it's true. They drink it a lot here. And, I suppose, now, so do I. You want to order it, "para preparar," that is, a tall glass filled near the top with fernet and ice, another glass with only ice, and a bottle of coke (if you're lucky it's a glass bottle of real coke).

And because of the exchange rate, you can buy a lot of it, cheap!

Friday, May 28, 2010

por andar detrás de la hormiga

Learned a new Spanish idiom today:
Por andar detrás de la hormiga, se te pasa el elfante.
"For trying to get the ant, the elephant passes you by/you miss the elephant."
Much like our "Can't see the forest for the trees."
Also, here is a photo of the vineyard.