Embarazada is the most commonly misunderstood word in the Spanish language and has been written and laughed about as long as the two cultures have been speaking. Although it seems like the word embarrassed to English speakers, it means pregnant, so to say Yo soy embarazada can be, indeed, quite embarrassing. However, there are other common words in Puerto Vallarta, some of them seen on signs in public that can also cause confusion:
Salida means exit, yet tourists will wander in and out of doors at Plaza Caracol, seeking the famous Green Green Salad Bar. Along the highways, as you drive to and from town, Éxito is common on billboards, but it’s not an exit for the advertised product or location. éxito translates as success and can also stand for popular hit! When dancing in the clubs on the Malecón in Puerto Vallarta, if you hear the word éxito, don’t leave! Keep dancing!
What are those notices on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta about the arena? Is there a volleyball competition going on, or what? Where is that arena? You are walking on it! Arena is the Spanish word for sand. It’s pronounced ah-ray-nah. Playa means beach, which seems like an excellent translation, since that’s what we do there. And playera de arena doesn’t mean play in the sand. It’s a t-shirt!
No tires nada en el toilet: a neatly printed sign often posted in restaurant facilities in Puerto Vallarta. Spanglish, at its very best, attempting to inform tourists to please, throw nothing in the toilet. Tires included. The verb for throw or toss is tirar and though basic Spanish verbs are quite simple, bad spelling happens in any language.
You probably think esposas means wives and you are right about that… It also is the Spanish word for handcuffs and includes sign language, where the wrists are tapped together. The deeper meaning indicates a man who is henpecked and is expressed with the hand signal and a wink of the eye.
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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