- Learning Spanish & Portuguese>
- The Latinos Who Wave You Away like Magic
Back when I was living in Pachuca de Soto in Mexico…
It was getting time for me to move back to Mexico City roughly a year and a few months ago as of this writing.
Anyway, once I got back to Mexico City, I got into an hotel for the night in Roma Norte area near Metro Insurgentes.
From there, I did my apartment hunting!
Now, as I was walking around, there happened to be some guy I remember sitting down on the street next to a bunch of stuff he was selling.
Mostly chocolate, chips, some water bottles, etc.
Anyway, I was lost and needed to find the right street that I didn’t remember being on ever.
It was somewhere in the area…
And, despite traveling for 6 years now, I’m terrible with directions.
When I move into a new area, I kinda have to map out the streets by walking around the first day or two to get a sense of where everything is.
A map is no good to me.
Anyway, in hindsight, my quest to find this specific apartment was a bit of a lost cause as it turned out to be one of those scammers.
This lady that claimed to run the place agreed to meet me at some designated time and I showed up on time.
Nobody answered the door.
She had an excuse for why she wasn’t there and insisted, yet again, that I “send her money” so that “my place is reserved” as she has “a TON of people wanting to see the place RIGHT NOW.”
As I wrote here, that’s a common scam in Mexico.
You send the money for a place you’ve never seen.
They ghost you.
Anyway, I wasn’t dumb enough to send any money and I was making my effort to find this place.
But I was a tiny bit lost as I said before.
So I see this random street vendor.
Some fairly old looking dude with a thousand winkles on his face.
Medium brown skin.
A bit on the short side.
Sitting down while reading a newspaper to himself.
I walk up to the guy and say in Spanish “buenas tardes” to introduce myself.
Immediately, right before I even get out the word “tardes,” the guy looks up and waves me away with his hand while saying in English “no English, no Englissshhhhh”
Now, in the moment, I took that offensively.
I’d like to see this cocksucker be lost in the US and have gringos up there wave him away going “no español, no español!!!”
It’s rude as fuck.
First, the motherfucker doesn’t know what I am going to ask for.
For all he knows, I could be there to buy some of his shit – a bag of chips, maybe a newspaper, a bottle of water, etc.
So, based on who I am (my skin color, my accent, my nationality), he is going to, in theory, deny my service.
On top of that, he is assuming that I am just another random ass tourist who doesn’t speak the language.
Which, again, I find pretty offensive because there’s plenty of foreigners who speak Spanish.
How would he like it to live in the US and encounter people who assume he is an ignorant retarded fucktard who can’t speak the local language when, in the moment, he is clearly demonstrating that he speaks the language by opening up in it.
And, all around, it’s just rude as fuck to wave someone away when they open up to you.
Anyway, because the guy tried waving me away in such a manner, I doubled down with a bit of irritation in my voice.
Almost like I was talking down the cocksucker.
“Esta bien, hablo español, chico. Solo quiero preguntarte algo…como ves? Con ojos?”
The dude snapped his head up like “huh?”
And then I proceed to tell him my story – I’m lost, where is x street?
He repeats the name of the street to me.
I repeat it back.
He then shuffles his head around with his hand scratching his chin.
“Ehhh….mierda, no se..”
Then calls over some street vendor sitting close by in front of his fruit stand to throw the question at him.
Some young looking kid.
Through team work, they guestimate that the street in question is….THAT WAY!
So I go THAT WAY!
Ultimately, they actually did give me the right direction to the street.
And the rest is history.
Still, the point to be made is this…
The Main Point
It’s actually a pretty minor point.
Most locals will not treat you like this when you speak enough Spanish to work with.
The more common trick they’ll pull on you is pretending to not understand your accent and claim that they “sPeAk EnGlIsH!!!11!1!”
Of course, you can just do the same shit to them – pretend to not understand their English and say you are from Russia.
Now the cocksucker believes he can’t practice his 11th grade English with you and all of a sudden, like magic, he understands your Spanish and you two are having a conversation.
Funny how that works, huh?
Either way, this is a different type of incident when the local wants to “wave you away.”
In this case, the person in question is arguably ignorant of the possibility that a foreigner speaks Spanish.
And, second, they likely just don’t want to put in the effort to understand what the fuck you are saying with an accent.
Because, to be fair to the locals, I imagine there is an effort to be made on their part to understand what the fuck you are saying given the accent you carry.
In my experience, it’s usually the locals who come from rural backgrounds or simply have little experience with tourists…
Usually on the much older side…
Who have the worst difficulty grasping the “gringo accent.”
The less rural the local is…
The more experience the local has with tourists..
The younger the local is…
The easier it will be for them to understand your accent and less likely they’ll try to “wave you away.”
Though then you run the risk of the other thing mentioned happening…
The more experience with tourists they have….
The more “upper class” they are…
The younger they are..
And the more “urban” they are…
Well, the more likely they will want to practice their English with you (regardless of their English capabilities).
Still, the ones who want to practice are not as annoying (though they can be!) as the few ones who want to “wave you away.”
And, to be fair, it’s relatively rare for a local to just “wave you away” like that in such a rude manner.
Same thing with those who’ll pretend to not understand your accent to force you into practicing English with them.
Most will put in the effort to understand your accent and not be too much of an ass about it.
So it’s fine.
It’s a relatively minor thing you’ll notice down here.
Still, try not to punch the ones who “wave you away” in the face.
I know I’ve had to control myself!
I got a friend who follows me around – when, once in a blue moon, the waving happens – the friend holds me back….
“No Matt no! It’s not worth it! Don’t kill the abuelito!”
Anyway, that’s all I got to say about a pretty minor detail about living down here.
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