Conversations with Porteñas #1

2010.Jun.28 Monday · 4 comments

in Life

This is a new little feature I’ve been thinking about for some time. One of the things that has amused me, often, over the last five years has been the world of conversations that I overhear. In particular, at least one of the parties is generally a porteña, a woman from Buenos Aires, and almost always “of a certain age” as the saying goes. I’m singling them out only because the conversations are often so striking, particularly coming from another culture – I’m sure one could just as easily pick men, other ages, and any other culture. I’m also sure that my interpretation is colored by a lack of understanding some of the linguistic nuances at times and my translations reflect that – they’ll be how I understood the conversation to go….


[Setting the scene: a local casa de comida, a takeout food shop – me, talking to the woman who runs the shop, a place I regularly pick up a quick bite when I’m not feeling like cooking. The special of the day, gnocchi, listed on a small chalkboard with two prices, $13 and $16. On the steamline, a large tray of gnocchi in salsa rosa – mixed bechamel and tomato sauces.]

Me: An order of gnocchi please. What’s the difference between the $13 and $16 order?

Her: One’s with sauce and one’s without.

Me: Oh, I’d like it with the sauce.

Her: That’ll be $18.

Me: I thought it was $16?

Her: That’s with just tomato or white sauce. With the mixed salsa rosa it’s extra.

Me: Oh, I’d actually rather have just tomato sauce.

Her: We don’t have any gnocchi with just tomato sauce, it’s all with the salsa rosa.

Me: So you don’t have any gnocchi without sauce either?

Her: No, why?

Me: Just that you’re offering gnocchi with or without sauce at those two prices as the special of the day.

Her: Yes, but we don’t have those. Just with salsa rosa. That’s $18. If we had the others they’d be the prices I put on the chalkboard.

Me: Okay…$18 it is….


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

candice June 28, 2010 at 13:03

LOL !!
Exactly ..

Meanwhile, I sometimes find myself standing in the grocery store aisle, for too long, looking at all the bags of soap and softeners but only maybe 3 brands and wondering what is the best .. or miga bread .. and the best person to ask is always the older lady … they will not only tell me which one they like and why but they will go on to tell me recipes or great details on doing laundry.
One of the 1 million and one reasons I love the people here <3

Allan June 28, 2010 at 13:40

A porteƱa Monty Python fan?

DonnaBaase July 13, 2010 at 22:20

I really like this idea; conversations with Portenas. just the day to day in BA. keep it up! With my limited Spanish, God knows what I said, anyway, more please!!

dan July 15, 2010 at 11:19

More coming!

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