Out of the classroom and into La Rambla
Words by Amani Jensen-Bentley
I’m bad at Spanish. Like, awful. Pretty sure my highest grade scored somewhere in the 60s and I wouldn’t hesitate to mark that as one of mankind’s greatest achievements. However, doing my INGS exchange in Barcelona has helped to widen my Spanish vocabulary. So put down AULA 2 and forget about conjugations, preterito indefinido and presente continuo, and let me walk you through some of the highlights of my linguistic journey and how I’ve learnt to incorporate, and respond to these new words and phrases.
It’s the little things that count…like hair colour. That’s it. Blonde hair. A favourite phrase by the construction workers next to my house and which has become a nice replacement to the chirping of birds while I hang out my washing. I’m not going to lie though, when this gets extended to ‘Shakira’, I damn well love it.
“Coffee shop…you smoke weed?!”
Every street corner in Barcelona offers a legal location to roll a joint (actually they’re already rolled for you. Wait, who said that?). But for those of you who aren’t interested in this bustling industry (or already have a favourite hub) I can offer you one sure fire tactic to confuse the hype guys’ fried little brains; ask them first. I promise the role reversal will be too overwhelming and you’ll be half way down La Rambla before they make sense of what just happened.
“I’m doing a school project…can I video to two kissing?”
No. Especially, when the school student is forty years old. Kudos on creativity though, banger opening line. The guy was obviously pulling my leg, taking the piss, taking me for a ride, or as the Spanish would say…
“Tocando los cajones”
This would have to be up there in the favourites. ‘Tocando los cajones’ loosely means, ‘tickling my balls’ and is used like, ‘taking the piss’. Cajones is also commonly used like dickhead, so if you want to look cool in front of your other classmates and get around it, then drop the C bomb.
“My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no (nah to the ah to the no, no, no)”
I hate to say it, but I'm gonna channel your inner Meghan Trainor and slip slop slap those slimy sleaze bags to the curb. Here’s how it works:
“You want latin boyfriend?” (Tempting…) no.
“You want disco massage?” (wtf is that?) no.
“You have Instagram/Whatsapp?” no.
“You want to come my apartment, esta muy cerca?” (is that why you're so fat?) no.
If this doesn't work, I can offer one last tactic.
“Fair dinkum mate, ya pissin' me off, stop being a gronk and bark up someone else’s tree”
No longer will your seemingly exotic pelo rubia seem irresistibly tantalising, or will your broken Spanish look cute. Whip out your inner bogan, roll up your sleeves and take off your shoes, tell them you're deadset and to keep their rod and reel in their pants or they're going to come a gutser. If you’re as confused as I am by all that ridgy didge slang, imagine how they're feeling; its a guaranteed repellent.