When a friend asked us to meet her at Sea and Sea, and we said we don’t know where that is, she gave us the crazy monkey look and informed us “It was the place we watched the sunset and drank margaritas!” We scratched our head, shook it back and forth in grave doubt, and denied knowing Sea and Sea. Perhaps it was the tequila?
Before long, it was all straightened out and we had taught her how to say Cuates y Cuetes as best we could, though we admit it is a tongue twister. Cuates y Cuetes is, indeed, a quaint little restaurant on the beach, next to the pier in Puerto Vallarta, where people catch the water-taxi to Yelapa and wait for the performing sun to set. It’s not an easy name for gringos to enunciate; however the effort to call it something other than C and C should respectfully be made.
The Spanish alphabet is an easy one, each individual letter having one basic pronunciation. Once you learn it, you can pronounce any word with grace and ease. There are always acceptations, of course, and the placement of vowels around a consonant does have influence. It’s also prudent to recognize that the Mexican alphabet differs from that in Spain, Costa Rica and other Spanish speaking countries.
The most prevalent mispronounced Spanish word in Puerto Vallarta seems to be Puerto Vallarta. The double-L trips up many a well meaning speaker and Puerto often is turned into porto or porta. Some give up entirely and simply call it PV, an abbreviation that most Mexicans eschew. Locals admire those who make an effort and enjoy taking on the role of teacher. Don’t be embarrassed if a native speaker corrects your Spanish; they do so lovingly.
By the way, cuates is a Spanish word for pals or buddies, which can also mean twins. Cuetes is a word for fireworks but it can also indicate handguns or pistols, as well as drunken persons. So once you have your Spanish down, it’s good to know that it might be open to a lot of interpretation. Good luck! Buena suerte!
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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