Greetings from Buenos Aires! I’ve been here for five days now, and I’ll be here till next Thursday. Wish I could say that everything’s going swell, but, sadly, I’ve been quite sick the past three days. ¡Juepucha! Didn’t go out at all today until dinner, just stayed inside and moped and commanded myself to get better. I think I’m on the up and up, though, thank goodness. How pathetic to get sick while you’re traveling.
That being said, I have very much enjoyed what I’ve seen, heard, smelled, and tasted so far. What a beautiful city! It’s winter down here, and it’s very chilly, but the skies are bright blue, the city’s not crawling with a million tourists, and, of course, the cold takes nothing away from the majestic buildings and sweeping avenues. I’ll share some pictures when I can figure out how to. Everyone I’ve met has been so kind. I have no compunction in talking to perfect strangers, and they’ve all been so warm, generous, and talkative back to me. I stayed at a hostel for three nights and have since been Couchsurfing with a wonderful couple, Ceci and Gustavo, and their toy poodle, Munra. I’m quite content. Lucky, lucky me.
I find the local accent to be completely bewitching, although just as bewildering. It is so interesting and so unbelievably . . . different. Is this really Spanish that they’re speaking? I don’t really have a problem speaking with people one-on-one, but throw in another person or add a lot of background noise or have them mumble and start speaking fast and things get out of hand quickly. I’m doing my best to imitate their accent, and some of it’s unconscious on my part, but for the record I’ll say that I’m still very pleased to have (and work on improving) my Paisa accent. I do love the voseo. And all the new words are fun.
Here’s just one for you: locutorio
It’s an internet café or whatever you want to call it, seeing as we don’t really have them in the US. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one in Latin America, though, so if you’ve traveled in the region, you know what I’m talking about: places where you can make cheap local and international calls as well as get online. This word has already come quite in handy, and I most certainly would not have guessed its meaning had I not been clued in. Locu-what? It first seemed like a totally meaningless, made-up word to me, as nonsensical as quilombo. And then I thought about it– oh, interlocutor! But, of course! Then a little WordReference and DRAE detective work tipped me off to some of locutorio‘s other meanings: It can be a priest’s confessional, a visiting room in a convent or prison (separated by bars or glass), a phone booth, or a radio studio. Perhaps locutorio is used for these things in Colombia, but I can pretty much guarantee you that internet cafés are not called locutorios. There, it’s just a café internet. What about in the countries where you’ve traveled or lived?
Double triple quadruple bonus points if the title means anything to you and made you start dancing a little in your chair. Once I learned that a locutorio can also be a visiting room in a jail, I couldn’t help but associate it with Saoko from Fruko y sus tesos. In his famous song, he could easily be either communicating through one of those glass panels or calling from a phone booth. Any way you slice it, a locutorio. Y, bueno, ¡a bailar!
What about you? Did you know about locutorios? Do you know any other names for them? Any other words in Argentinian/Buenos Aires Spanish that have caught your eye/ear? If you’re a native Spanish speaker, anything to correct, clarify, comment on or concur with? What’s a locutorio in your country?