Today I will share some vocabulary words with you that will assist you in learning Spanish words online quickly and easily. This lesson comes from an entry in my personal journal that I made some time in November 2006 when I took my second trip to Colombia and before moving there. This lesson also illustrated how much vocabulary can change from one Spanish speaking country to another.
It will help you add words to your Spanish vocabulary:
I am back from my trip to Barranquilla, Colombia and Cartagena, Colombia. Not only did I have a great time but I “re-learned” some lessons about Latin American Spanish culture or.
I learned quite a while ago that it is common for Spanish speakers from one country to use different vocabulary words than Spanish speakers from another country. But when I took this trip to Barranquilla and Cartagena it became even more apparent.
I arrived in Barranquilla, Colombia on November 30th with a ravenous appetite. To satisfy my hunger I went to a restaurant called “Los Helechos,” which literally means “the ferns.”
Before the “mesero” took my order I debated between a “plato típico” on the “carta” called “Bandeja Paisa” and something a little more healthier: “pollo a la plancha” (grilled chicken).
“Bandeja Paisa” is a “plato” that consists of a bunch of foods. Among other things “Bandeja Paisa” consists of “carne en polvo” or “carne molida” (powdered beef), arroz (rice),frijoles (beans), chorizos (pork sausage), aquacate (avocado), chicharrones (fried pork strips), maduros (ripe or sweet plaintains), and a “huevo frtio” (sunny side up fried egg).
Concerned about my cholesterol level, I told the “mesero” or “camarero” that I’d have the “pollo a la plancha.” Then he gave me a selection of three sides to have with my “pollo a la plancha:”
uno, arroz de coco
dos, papas francés
I had never heard of the first one before. But by the name it was apparent that it was some type of rice dish with coconut.
The second one I had also never heard of before and had no idea what it could be. But I knew that when I walked in the restaurant I saw a “cabellero” eating a side dish of “papas fritas” (french fries) and “tostones.” “Tostones” are unripe plantains that are fried until they are crisp or hard. It’s a dish that was first introduced to me either by one my Puerto Rican or Dominican friends.
But it is so common in New York today that when you go to many fast food Chinese food restaurants the menu will give you the option of fried rice, tostones, or french fries (depending on the area of New York “papas fritas’).
With the ravenous appetite that I had, I asked the “mesero” if I could have both “papas fritas” and “tostones.” With a tone in his voice that made it clear that in Barranquilla the word is “papas francés” and not “papas fritas” he acknowledged my order of “papas francés.”
And then the confusion started…
The “mesero” had no idea what I was referring to when I said “tostones.” And I knew that I was not imagining things when I had seen a “caballero” eating “tostones” in the same restaurant.
I couldn’t help but think this “mesero” must be “loco.”How could this man be a waiter in a restaurant that serves “tostones” and had never heard of “tostones” before? Not to mention that he has apparently from Latin America and had no idea what “tostones” are.