11 Jul

handy phrases for the south american traveler

(a month late…but shit, scar’s still fresh)

chinga tu madre: roughly translated as “fuck your mother”, these three little words go a long way towards realizing every south american backpacker’s dream: an authentic chilean knife-fight! best when uttered by your shitfaced american friend to the street thugs who’ve been following you for a few blocks, keep asking for money, and swear they aren’t trying to rob you. not to mention their complete disregard for the imperialist norteamericana notion of a “personal-space bubble”—listen amigo, is that a prison shiv in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me!

have a friend pull this out at just the right moment, and you might be lucky enough to watch him get simultaneously punched in the head and kicked in the ribs, leaving you just enough time to run over and join in on the fun you were kinda thinking about walking away from. ¡vamos, muchachos!

[extra authentic if: preceded by a shit-eating grin and a quick “¿entiendes méxicano?”, just to make sure that your two new buds fully appreciate the regional/dialectal intricacies of literally fucking their own mothers.]

ayudanos, por favor, ¡ayudanos!: a straight-to-the-point, perfectly intelligible cry for help, this no-frills phrase gets the most mileage when it’s being flat out ignored by the taxi drivers standing there and watching while the two assholes you just punked come running back at you with rocks and knives. and I thought it was hard for a black man to get a cab! will seem especially hilarious in retrospect a whole seventeen seconds later, when said assholes have now squared up with you and your friend, brandishing said weapons.

in review: two drunk gringos, two chilean goons, and a gaggle crusty old taxi drivers looking on like a greek chorus on strike. at this point, you and your fellow traveler will have the option of either a) reflecting on the similarities between this situation and a Borges story in which a man is stabbed to death while abroad, or b) getting stabbed/rocked to death while abroad. sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure Goosebumps book, but with an added dash of adrenaline, post-pubescence, and a stunning awareness one’s own mortality. ¡Ay caramba!

*nota bene- see the way the face of the douchebag with the knife looks caught halfway between running away from you and swinging right at your throat? you might remember this ambivalent, angsty look from every fucking movie that has ever incorporated the theme of young people senselessly killing one another over really avoidable conflicts, most of which stem from cultural/social miscommunication. so hey…way to go! sure, you could have given up the equivalent of ten bucks american, but then you wouldn’t get the thrill of living out the entire third act of “Crash”.

quitalo: the perfect way to spice up those dull, hand-around-the-throat-of-another-human-being moments that seem to be getting more popular than Kennedy family references at a Nantucket cocktail party. Literally translated, drop it—as in, drop that fucking knife or I will fucking kill you! Best when delivered with spit.

te voy a matarI will fucking kill you.

yo man, take this: no joke here…this is just what Ryan said as he handed me one of the chilean dudes’ wallets. That’s right folks; via hook/crook/massive drunken confusion, we pulled the old counter-robbery. classic.

no: as in, “no, I’m not interested in giving you your wallet back. Or: “oh no! don’t throw that broken bottle at my friend’s face!”

yes: your friend asks you if it looks like he’s gonna need stitches. say yes. also, he’s just thrown up, and you’re in the hospital of the ER in a mid-sized Chilean port town. Uh oh…this isn’t where I left my Lonely Planet!

Bienvenidos a Chile! [say the young chilenos who drop you off at the the hospital. thank god they picked you up off the street and ran every fucking light on the way here. they swear: their country isn’t so bad. then again, you’re pretty sure the on-duty surgeon just asked your friend for a tip. ¿propiiiiina?]

but how did they know we weren't locals?



  1. Nunez 07/13/2010 at 2:48 pm #

    My life is boring.

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