All you need to know about Iberian America

“Hablas Ingles, Gringo?”

Published August 20, 2020 in Personal Stories & Opinions - 0 Comments

A year or ago so….

I was catching up with an old friend of mine…

A chick named Angie…

Back in my first year living in Mexico City, Angie and I used to hookup often….

But then she started tripping over the fact that I didn’t want to be in a relationship…

So we took a break from seeing each other but got back to hanging over a year ago….

Either way, we got back to hanging out…

This was around late December time of 2019…

And prior to this, I was living in a Mexican city called Pachuca but had to spend the night in Mexico City to catch a flight home…

And we figured this would be a good time to catch up again after the last few times we had met up…

So we met up at my hotel as she waited for me in the lobby…

And it was cool and all – seeing her after a while of not seeing her for a while.

We got out of the lobby and started walking towards where Metro Insurgentes is….

And she was asking me how my day in Mexico City has been…

Well, I couldn’t resist…

“The chicks here, they look so much nicer than in Pachuca. So many chicks that look like they are down to fuck…God damn, I miss it…”

And she starts laughing, “you haven’t changed Mateo.”

She would often call me Mateo for some reason but it is cool…

Either way, we ended up spending most of the night until like 4 AM going around bar hopping and drinking the night away…

And along the way walking back to my hotel where we ended up spending the night…

We ended up hearing this Mexican guy speak in English to this other Mexican dude just chatting about whatever…

And Angie, who is Mexican herself from Veracruz, mumbled to me “why are they speaking in English?”

You see, she isn’t from Mexico City.

And her confusion about it is as good as mine..

Though there are probably upper class elites in Veracruz who feel the need to speak English in public and try to act gringo…

You have that much more often in Mexico City…

What I often call fresas but I’m sure there’s a better definition of them out there…

But I have always perceived the “fresas” of Mexico City as being these upper class dorks who felt the need to try and come across better than most folks…

Showing off how good their English is or whatever…

Even to complete random strangers in public…

But it’s not just them that end up trying to speak English down here in Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America…

Maybe those guys we passed were the more fresa type or who knows why they were speaking English.

All just speculation on my part and on Angie’s part.

But it wouldn’t surprise me if they were the fresa type anyway in this part of the city – around la Roma…

You get more of those around there anyway than, say, around Balbuena or Cuatro Caminos or Buenavista or La Raza or wherever….

At least in my experience.

But either way…

This brings up an observation you might make yourself when living down in Latin America long enough…

Which is “why do some Latinos in Latin America prefer speaking English?”

There are reasons for it from what I have seen and it depends on the circumstances…

And keep in mind that this all comes from the perspective of a gringo who only has 5 years living down here…

I’m not Latino myself and this is only what I have perceived to be true based on my limited experiences down here…

So let’s break that down….

The Upper Class Fresa Types

In my experience, there’s a certain type of Latino that often has deep insecurities about being Latino…

In many cases, they try their damnedest to try and appear not so Latino.

Like how you have gringos who try to appear more Mexican or Latin in general…

You also have Latinos, at least from what I have seen, who do the opposite.

Where they try to always speak English or appear very “educado” as some of them seem quite obsessed about putting on a show about.

After a while, this shit starts to get under my skin.

Anyone trying to put on a show about being more “educated” or “supplicated” or “upper class” just comes across as fake to me.

And honestly, I don’t give a shit how “educado” you think you are.

Just fucking with me and act like a normal person – I’d like to sometimes say to these folks.

Nobody really gives a fuck about how “upper class” you really are.

Maybe other Latinos in the country do but whatever.

Anyway, these folks are fucking idiots and act like it.

Also, in part, because anyone who doesn’t acknowledge where their roots came from and seem insecure about it come across as pretty fucking stupid also….

Reminds me a bit of this Frank Zappa song below here…

People Selling You Shit

I’m not going to go into too much detail here…

But there are some folks who will speak in English down here because they are trying to market specifically to foreigners…

In hopes of selling a product way over priced than what they would sell the locals.

If you are interested in knowing more about this group, read this article I wrote here

General Ignorance

Years ago in Mexico City…

In my first year here if I remember right…

Or somewhere around that time…

I was talking with this Mexican chick on Tinder…

Over text obviously as she couldn’t hear my accent also…

And she said to me “you know, I think you are a Mexican. There is no way your Spanish could be this good if you were a gringo.”

Suffice to say, I didn’t care about her skank ass pussy no longer after that comment…

And let her know what I was thinking with that comment…

I suppose you could say, I wasn’t very nice to her afterwards with what I had to say…

But she isn’t too unusual down here…

There are plenty of folks down here who think that there are no gringos who speak Spanish…

Which ends up pissing me off especially as some of them will try to vomit their English onto you…

And you legit can’t understand shit what they are saying…

Like the most broken up English you can imagine…

“I….you……me…..give….20 pesos?!?!?”

When you only started a conversation with the dipshit asking where is the closest metro…

Either way, while there are plenty of ignorant folks around…

It happens in any country…

It comes with being a foreigner in another place…

Just get used to it…

The Deported

I once had a roommate down here in Mexico City that was deported from the US…

He was brought over as a child or some shit…

And got deported.

Suffice to say, his English was much better than his Spanish.

This might be a thing you notice if you spend enough time down here…

I have only met one dude like this though.

So it’s not too common but it can happen.

Where straight up the dude would rather speak English because his Spanish might not be good…

Actually, I have met two people down here from what I can remember now who were like this…

A roommate and this chick from Tinder…

Whose Spanish also wasn’t very good either, she said.

So I guess it’s not terribly rare..

Free Tutor

Sometimes you just meet a Latino down here who just sees you as a free way to practice his English…

Which, again, might be very broken up and straight up you don’t understand what the fuck he is saying.

But it happens.

“oh, a gringo, time to practice my INGLES!!!”

That gets pretty fucking annoying as well after a while.

Especially, as in most of the time, you don’t really want much to do with the guy and are just asking where the closest metro is or whatever…

But it happens once in a while…

No Entender!!!

Finally, you have some situations where..

The gringo in question legit does not speak any Spanish.

This would have been me in my first trip to Mexico about 8 or 9 years ago or something like that…

When I went to Chiapas for a week as you can read about here

Back then, I had studied Spanish in school but never really had much experience speaking it.

And over the years down here..

I have met other gringos who don’t really speak much Spanish..

Some of them with literally a decade down here but they only hang out with other gringos so they never practice!

Which is just weird to me – why leave the US to begin with then?

Either way…

It does happen where instead of a Mexican or whoever speaking broken ass English…

You got a gringo speaking broken ass Spanish…

“yo….yo….ser…..maricon?!?”

“Yo, Elizabeth,  is that how you say I am from Italy?”

Either way….

The Latino in question, assuming he or she speaks enough English…

Might then move in “yo, I speak English.”

And just might with no difficulty!

In those cases, it makes sense obviously to switch the language of the conversation if someone obviously doesn’t speak the other person’s language.

So that can happen too and more often does with the tourists and all as you would imagine.

Reflections

Keep in mind…

Most Latinos are not anal about throwing down some English..

In fact, plenty can be relieved that you speak any Spanish as most folks down here don’t speak enough English to have a conversation in it…

Though, oddly enough, for whatever fucking reason, some people in Mexico City can be really anal about you speaking Spanish.

I remember about 6 or 7 months ago…

When I was looking for an apartment in Mexico City near Metro CU area (where I live now as of this writing)…

This chick I was talking with in Spanish over text over Whatsapp…

Started to give me some real shit about it…

“I think you were from the US, why you speaking Spanish?”

And…

“You speak Spanish pretty well for a gringo, you sure you ain’t Mexican?”

And, no bullshit, she wanted me to toss her a voice message over Whatsapp to hear me speak Spanish.

Probably to confirm if I am a foreigner or not based on my accent…

That was the only time a potential landlord ever asked me that down here…

I honestly don’t get what she was tripping over to be honest…

Like what type of Mexican is going to scam your ass by pretending to be a gringo?

How would that scam even work?

But then, for some fucking reason, she started telling me how she speaks like 7 or 8 languages or some shit…

And at this point, I stop giving a fuck about staying at her apartment because I assumed she was bat shit crazy or something

“Me vale madres si hablas muchos lenguajes pinche vieja”

Suffice tos ay, that didn’t make her happy to hear…

The funny thing too about all of this…

Is that when you do come across a Latino…

Be it Mexican, Colombian, Bolivian, etc…

And they try throwing their best English onto you…

If you just say “Soy de Rusia” or I am from Russia or some shit…

They drop the English real fucking quick and can understand your Spanish perfectly.

So it does reinforce my belief that most of the time it’s someone trying to come across as very “educado” or whatever the hell their issue is.

Maybe trying to sell you something at times…

As some do…

But, as a final note…

Though I dedicated a whole article to this topic…

I just want to emphasize that most folks down here are not this fucking stressed with trying to throw down their English.

Of the groups mentioned above…

I’d say they perhaps make up like 5% of Latinos you meet on a day to day basis….

Probably even less than that.

So it’s not really that much of an issue but it is a thing you sometimes come across down here.

Either way, it’s an interesting observation I have made with my interactions with different folks down here..

And if you have a comment yourself about all of this, leave it below in the comment section.

Would love to hear it.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks

Best regards,

Matt

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