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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

This Week In Uruguay

This week in Uruguay goes by many different names. On my store bought calendar this whole week, is highlighted in yellow. Starting from Sunday April 2nd till Sunday April 8th, it is called Semana Santa or holy week as it contains the Passover celebration and the Celebration for commemorating the Memorial and meal (last supper) of Christ's death. Uruguay is a slightly socialistic country with non- religious leanings. This means that despite it's being a Latin American country, the Catholic church for instance, does not hold sway as it normally would do so in other Latin countries. So, in general this week in Uruguay (except on my calendar) is called Tourism week.

Tourism week is a fun fill vacation week for a majority of workers here. Museums offer specials hours. Historic houses are open to the public and the annual rodeo expo is in town for the entire week.

The Semana Criolla is a week that is dedicated to the gaucho. It's in it's 87th year now. Each year in Montevideo, the local fairgrounds called, El Prado holds competitions in roping and other cowboy skills.  In another location the local park called Roosevelt (named after Franklin D. Roosevelt) also holds some small attractions like food and crafts booths. I hear however that the Prado is the best place to go to. However, the park maybe something to dash into cheaply with your kids for a few minutes as it is located across the street from the Géant mall.

Many different attractions are offered for the vacationing masses this week. If you like to walk, there are various walking tours to join in this week. Each day at the fair you can buy a ticket and take a guided walking tour to various sights of interest in Montevideo I am including a link to the official government event site for this Criolla week (click here).

There is also a "Friends of the Railway" sponsored train trip that Wally and I will be shortly posting on. This week has been slightly less rainy than usual for this time of year. That's why this year, I wanted to take advantage of the Criolla week.

As mentioned this week is also the annual celebration of the memorial of Christ's death so I would be remiss not to let you readers know that wherever you are in the world, this Thursday night April 5, 2012, starting after sundown, your local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses is inviting you to join them as they observe this tradition of passing the unleavened bread around and the wine representing Christ's body and his new covenant by means of his blood. It's free, no donations are asked. The service is less than an hour. Bring your Bible if you have one, so you can follow along.

Our Hall serves Salinas, Marindía and I believe Pinamar. There is another hall in Atlántida near the clinic Medico Uruguaya. Check their schedule for that meeting time. Our Salinas Congregation is on the North side of the ruta. To find us go on the same road as the Salinas Arch but cross the highway. Now that you are on the North-side go to the first street to the left (MVD direction) and travel along that street for many blocks until you see our Hall on the right side of that street. The Salinas Congregation's street address is on Yamandu (between Magaluna and Zapicán). The celebration will be held twice that night to accommodate the many visitors expected. You can choose to go at either, 18:30 (6:30pm) or at 20:00 (8:00pm).  We hope to see some of you there at this important occasion. You can read in the Bible of the account at Luke chapter 22 verses 19 and 20.


Seamus said...

Now THERE's another thing I just learned from your blog.

Even using an online translator I couldn't understand the phrase ¿Como ve usted a Jesus? (please forgive the lack of Spanish characters. I just found out how to come up with the leading inverted question mark. That's enough for today.) Yahoo's Babel Fish translates it as "As you see Jesus?"

I don't care how much they say that this language is simple, or that language is easier to learn, or the other language is more like one's own language. The truth is, very short, idiomatic phrases in another language are VERY hard to understand. I've given up trying to read newspapers in other languages. In reality much of communicating in ANY language is based on the fact that we already know what's about to be said even before the other person says it. When one runs across a short, cryptic phrase in another language, even if the subject is known, the phrase may be unintelligible.

This even happens in one's own language. I don't remember exactly what was said, but within this last year I was talking on the phone to a customer service rep who had a bit of an accent. A small accent. We got to the end of what I had called about and the lady said something else. She had changed the subject and, even though she had only a very slight accent and I was able to hear her quite clearly, amazingly I found it totally impossible to understand one word that she had said. I think I was most embarrassed as I asked her to repeat what she had said about 10 times. Literally, 10 times.

Finally, I caught a word and once I realized what idea she was trying to get across, I understood every word she said. I think it may have been as simple as, "Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

Anyway, the point of all this is that when I moved on, clicked on the image to enlarge it so I could read the writing at the bottom, I realized that ¿Como ve usted a Jesus? simply translates as "How (in what manner or in what way) do you see Jesus?" Birth, crucifixion or kingdom.

This is what will be the problem if I ever get to Uruguay at my age. Learning a new language isn't about vocabulary and grammar. It's about idiom which you can only learn by speaking and listening.

(Sigh) So much life, so little time.

Wally said...

Amen, brother! You said it all. We are just having 2 more trees cut down, today and Denise said- "It ain't over until the fat lady sings". Try a Google translate on that into Spanish.

Seamus said...

No ha terminado hasta que la señora gorda cante. ?? No encima hasta la señora gorda canta. ??

There's a cute, funny scene in the Tom Selleck movie "Mr Baseball". Selleck's character uses that phrase in the dugout of the Japanese baseball team he's on and his translator tells the other players, "When the game is over, a fat lady will sing to us!"

40 years ago the German major in the dorm room next to me and I were discussing idiom. He said that not everything can be translated into another language. I maintained that, as we are all human and are bound by that, that there is always and equivalent phrase in the other language. It may be a totally different phrase, using even a different image, essentially coming the other way around the mountain to get there, but that there must be a way to communicate all human concepts in any language.

I'm older now. And I'm not so sure of that any more.

Anonymous said...

"It ain't over until the fat lady sings" = No se termina hasta que no cante la gorda! (UY spanish)

Seamus said...

Gesundheit! And thank you.

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