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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Welcome Back Wally!

It's been a month since Wally's return to Uruguay and my friends thought it was high time to have a "Welcome back, Wally" karaoke party. We have been too busy to have had it sooner. I thought you'd like to see the invitation (in Spanish) that my friend Carolina made up and e-mailed out for us. Last week (the date shown on the invitation), we were all set to have the party, about 25 people acknowledged that they were coming. Salads and desserts were promised by those invited since this party was to be a "lluvia", which means shower or rain/rainfall in Spanish. The word lluvia corresponds to our English term "Potluck" with the idea that everyone contributes to the buffet meal. Well, the weather turned ugly and threatened to pour down real rain that night. Since many of our friends would be arriving on motorcycles and bicycles we took pity on them and canceled the party. We asked instead, for a "raincheck", how fitting that term was! We were literarily asking for a change on account of rain.

This week's party saw better weather but only a dozen people  attending. One couple's child was sick so they bowed out with lots of apologies and several others had to go to work instead on the new date. I'm sorry that my bicycle buddies Veronica and Nancy couldn't come this week, I really owe them a separate dinner for all of their help while Wally was away.

We had some Chorizos and salami. Here in Uruguay Pizza normally comes without Mozzarella cheese unless you request it as a topping, so one person brought little pizza squares, sin (without ) cheese. One person brought a bunch of thin sandwiches and I mean thin.  It's funny how I still find things different and amusing in this country. The sandwiches in question were not thin due to a lack of ingredients or finances on the part of our friend rather they were store bought and these are the typical sandwiches found here. I've seen these flat ones many times before and I finally had to ask about their size. That seemed to cause some confusion as my friend couldn't conceive what I meant by fatter, thicker ones. My friend kept asking, "Do you mean sandwiches made on Buns and not white bread?" "No, sandwiches made with white bread just bigger and thicker!" "I can't picture thicker sandwiches!" Oh well, I left that subject alone and took a picture instead!

Then it was time for karaoke. Wally wrote everyone's name down, then we picked their names from a hat (a straw hat) and he made everyone sing. We have slowly been adding Spanish songs to our Karaoke player. Our friends sang Spanish songs this evening. Wally and I even tried singing some songs in Spanish! With some help from our friends, we sang, that is I tried, Fotografia, a duet, by Juanes and Nellie Furtado. It's a song I intend to work on and really learn for future karaoke gatherings. If you think that Spanish speakers talk really fast, you should see how they sing. Many songs may start out slow enough but most verses seem to increase in speed as the song progresses.

Since we had to sing in Spanish, Wally made them sing one song each in English (empathy training). Our friends seem to love the "Backstreet Boys" so a group of them tried, "As long as you love me" by that group. Most people here know English songs so they bested us with their English while I still hung my head down in shame.

One couple really surprised us with how well they could sing. Andrea sang a very Spanish (from Spain) type of song "Ojos Asi" (eyes like that). I think it had some Arabic lyrics as well (not that any of us know that language) during the singing, we felt we should all be wearing boots and doing the Paso DobleEveryone started clapping hands in unison and someone ran around like a bull plunging at an invisible cape. 

Andrea's husband is named Marcelo and he is a real character. He works in Montevideo and has been riding the bus to work for some 14 years. It takes 1 hour to get to Montevideo by city bus from Salinas and Marindia and Marcelo has accumulated some very funny true-life stories from that long roundtrip bus ride each day. He cracked us up by telling us some of those stories.

One day on a very crowed bus he was sitting down next to someone while others were standing. The ones standing were holding on to the above hand rails.  Pressed up against them was a man standing. This man kept looking under his arm, that was holding on to the grab bar at the man seated next to Marcelo. Peeking under his arm he kept staring and staring at Marcelo's bench companion. Finally, the sitting man said out loud "Hey! "Why do you keep staring at me?" The standing man said,"I'm staring because except for the mustache, you look exactly like my wife!" The sitting man said, "But I don't have a mustache!" The standing man said "I know, I was talking about my wife!" A true story!

Another time Marcelo was ridding on the bus when a policeman came on board. As a side note the bus companies allow up to 2 policemen to ride for free while on the same bus. If a third one steps on he will have to pay. Well a policeman came on board payed and during that he dropped his gun, it slid out of its holster. An old woman saw what happened and picking up the gun she walked over to the policeman. Gripping the gun she pointed it at his head saying,"You lost your gun, you lost your gun!"

Carolina my friend and interpreter in emergencies, made a torta (cake) for dessert. It was "muy rico" (very rich) a phrase, often heard here. It had a frosting of whipped cream and was layered with what else but Dulce de leche. If you live here in Uruguay you must learn to love and embrace that carmel like substance as it is in or on 99% of the desserts served. I went from being so so about it, to challenging myself to find desserts without it, like finding lemon torts for instance. Finally, I found a brand that I liked called "Los Nietitos" an endearing term for the grandchildren. Now, I too buy big tubs of it. Apples and Dulce de Leche, umm,umm, yum,yum!

We stayed late into the night laughing and singing, glad that Wally was back and so was our Karaoke parties!


Anonymous said...

Muy rico doesn't mean very rich, as that is the LITERAL translation (yes, rico does mean rich)

But Muy Rico when talking about food its translated to "Very tasty!" or maybe This is Yummy!

Instead if we were talking about a person. "El es muy rico" it does translate to "he is rich"

Some grandmas even use the "Es muy rico muchacho" as

"That is a very handsome boy" I hope I don't bring more confusion

Denise said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you very much! That kind of Spanish help is EXACTLY what I need and am looking for. You explained the meaning very clearly and with NO confusion at all! You used some excellent examples! Yes, I was translating the words literarily but I needed your expertise in getting the true Spanish use meaning. Keep helping me!
Thanks again, Denise

Anonymous said...

Hey're killing me...the mustache story appeals to my warped sense of humor/humour. Have to meet Marcello sometime
I'm glad the family is 'whole' again !!


Anonymous said...

Thin bread sandwiches are a british heritage, they are also called finger sandwiches or tea sandwiches ... if you look carefully you will find the British influence on Uruguay (Railroads, waterworks, meat industry, tea sandwiches and soccer of course)



La Kiki said...

Great story as always. We did have a great time :)

Kisses Caro

Seamus said...

I sympathize with you on the tortillas.

I moved recently (2 years ago) from a place where even inexpensive ethnic food is readily available and of excellent quality, to a place where, at least in the smaller, less expensive restaurants, good food of any kind is almost impossible to find. I have begun joking that here, a can of beans is considered good food and haute cuisine is a warm can of beans. I'm a good cook so, except for a few far flung special restaurants, I just don't go out to eat any more.

I found Dulce de Leche at a Mexican grocer here. Interesting. It IS different and it IS very sweet. But it is pretty high quality and, esp compared to whipped cream, pastry cream, or meringue, it certainly is convenient and inexpensive. I can see where it could easily get used in a LOT of desserts. I just had a taste because I couldn't think of what to put it on. I'll have to think about it a bit. If you could blog a few suggestions or recipes that would be enlightening and helpful. And low and behold, they are selling Girl Scout cookies this week and they have a new flavor.....Dulce de Leche!!!