Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Taking off the duct tape that covers your shoe's vents, walking through a casino at 6am, and using diminutives whenever possible.



Las Vegas, let's just get things out in the open. I've said many, many, many negative things about you in the past. Even with help from Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, along with the lure of vegan donuts, I was unable to find much to like about you.

 

But then, mid-February, you made it possible for me to ride my bike through roads completely devoid of traffic, and to do so in short sleeves. Hell, I even took off the pieces of duct tape that cover the vents in my shoes. Because of this, all is forgiven. You are just fine in my book. Yes, walking through a semi-deserted casino at 6am while wearing cycling shoes can be a little weird, but it was well worth it, as was the joy of riding alongside countless fellow latinos on their way to work in the morning.



Vegas aside, I wanted to share a news story from Colombia, which I thoroughly enjoyed (via La Cadenilla). Pedro Martin Silva, the mayor of Pitalito, in the department of Huila, was out riding his bike this past weekend with a friend from city council. During their ride, Silva noticed several tractor trailers, which were carrying crude oil. In the past, the mayor has opposed all transportation of crude oil by truck, and was able to lobby for at least a reduction in its transportation, which can now only happen during overnight hours. So what did he do when he saw several trucks violating the law? He scolded them, took pictures of the drivers and their license plates, and then blocked the road with his bike. Say it with me, only in Colombia.

Photo: opanoticias.com

And now, because this post has no real structure and I'm terrible at segues, I direct your attention to another example of fine, unadulterated Colombianism. The image below is a map published by Rigoberto Uran on the eve of his birthday. It shows the route of a group ride that he led with many fans and friends from greater Medellin. Perhaps the humor and beauty of the language used in this map will be lost on most of you, but I assure you it's simply fantastic, so allow me to explain.

One food stop labeled on the map is for "chocolatico", Colombian hot chocolate, for which the diminutive form is used. So it's a tiny cup of tiny chocolate. This is something, by the way, that all of us Colombians do. We make EVERYTHING diminutive, for no reason at all. Okay, sometimes it's to lessen the blow of how badly we think we're putting you out. So if we're at your house, and we are dying of thirst, we will never ask you for a glass of water. We'll say, "if at all possible, could I possibly trouble you for a tiny little glass of water?" Just don't take us literally. We want a big glass with lots and lots of water, we just don't want to say it, because it sounds crude, and we want you to like us. Above all, our mothers taught us to be courteous, and asking for something is just wrong. Still, the use of diminutive forms is so common, that it's not limited to when we ask for something. As such, seeing it on this map brought me great joy.

Another food stop is for "Aguapanelita con Limon pa' las energias", which roughly translates to "Tiny little aguapanela with lime fo' some energy". Lastly, there's a food stop that is simply labeled, "Here, we'll have a tiny little popsicle."

I hope at some point they made time to block traffic and stop the many tiny, little eighteen wheelers transporting little containers of crude oil.


And with that, I must wrap up this not-so-great post. Trust me, I'm working on a great deal of worthwhile content and interviews, so stay tuned (which I guess in internet terms means to keep a tab open for the blog, and just keep hitting reload or something? I don't know).

9 comments:

  1. It's a great little post.

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  2. It can't all be serious cycling stuff - everyone loves an anecdotal post!

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  3. Nice post and really useful to read. thanks for sharing this post

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  4. Scottish folks are big fans of the diminutive too, as in:

    "I'll have a wee dram o' whisky"

    This most categorically does NOT mean the literal "I'll have a tiny drop of whisky", rather "God I need a drink, don't bloody stop pouring till the glass is full. Oh, and I'll hang around till that bottle is empty. Thanks! "

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    1. Yes! I'm happy to hear we're not alone. Your description is 100% accurate. If you bring him a small bottle, he will NOT be happy. In fact, sometimes there's a proportional relationship between how small you say it should be, to how big you actually want it to be!

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  5. ¿Burros salvajes? jajaja.
    Viva Las Vegas.

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  6. I'm so glad you posted this... I was dying when I saw this.

    For the first year I was here, every time I would stop in a tienda or at a roadside stand for a little energy mid-ride, I was corrected on my ordering. Chocolate bar, bocadillo, drinks, didn't matter... Had to be diminutive.
    "Good afternoon, I'd like that giant chocolate bar please." "Ah you mean the tiny little one?" " No the huge one (pointing)" "Right- one little chocolate. " " uuuhh... yes?"

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    1. ha haaaa! Andy, exactly right!
      "Uh, why are you asking for a big bottle of juice...surely you want a tiny one, which will be large, but you will tell me is tiny...right?"

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