Monday, March 29, 2010

Nothing to do with Mexico, but...

I was totally going to blog about this last night, but was too tired/lazy to turn on my computer.  Sunday nights for my gordo and I usually involve couch potato-ing. This is, of course, accompanied not only by the TV, but by the laptop as well. Must.Always.Multitask.

Anyway, with one hand on the remote and the other on the mouse, RS finds the most random websites that incite carcajadas {shrieks} of laughter. So I wanted to share this one with you.

Upside Down Dogs

Enjoy. More to come on the fabulous Sunday [March 28] we had yesterday that warranted being couch potatoes...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homesick, Nostalgia, and (maybe) Remorse...all in one.

As I was writing my previous post, I started thinking about what the Philippines is doing to promote its natural beauty, not only to Filipinos, but to tourists from around the world.

I'm so interested in these Mexican bicentennial videos partly because I am new to Mexico and the process of discovery is so intriguing. It's never really occurred to me to look for videos of the Philippines. Having grown up there, (1) I thought I already knew what it had to offer, and (2) I didn't need a tourism video to convince me of its splendor.

But that is not entirely true. Even after 18 years in Manila, I've barely traveled past Luzon island (OK, I've been to Palawan and the famed Boracay, but can you believe never to Cebu!?). It's kinda embarrassing to admit this actually. When you live somewhere, you always think you'll have time to visit what is close by. So growing up we always held off touring the islands in exchange for more faraway exotic (to us) places. Now that I live on the other side of the Pacific, I regret not having experienced more of the 7,107 islands. 'Cause who knows when I'll be back to do so...

So anyway, here are the videos. The first one is a compilation of short clips that were probably shown during TV commercial breaks around the world; and the second one is a lengthier, more complete and narrated version.

Maybe it will convince you one day to visit (if you haven't already) these exotic islands that will always be home. To me.

Now I Want A Leopard!

The last three bicentenario videos featuring - Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, and Sinaloa - not only cover the indescribable natural beauty Mexico has to offer, but each has their own 'mascots', if you will. The first appearances were of the mountain lion and wolf, then the deer and eagle, followed by the black stallion. My favorites were the lion and horse - until today. Now I want a leopard, as seen in the fourth installment of the series all about the beautiful state of Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-ha-ca). I wouldn't mind the parrot either. Check it out:

The other animals I was sure you would find in Mexico, but I have to admit, I did doubt the leopard. But after some (internet) research and talking to my gordo, yes there are leopards in Oaxaca.

I have yet to go to Oaxaca (ahem! gordo!)...but all I've heard are amazing stories about the culture and history and the incredible beaches. Not to mention the ravings about the extensive Oaxacan cuisine - mole, chapulines, chocolate- and who can forget mezcal? I found a cool website about visiting Oaxaca here.

I would assume there has been a surge in national pride as these videos are being aired, I mean, who wouldn't be proud of seeing amazing footage of their country? These short clips are fantastic for tourists too. If you are thinking about coming to Mexico, wouldn't seeing any of these videos help in making a decision of where to go and what to do? It would defintely make for a more authentic experience.

Sans the local "pet" by your side.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mexican Morning Madness

This morning, of all mornings, I WISH I had my camera with me. I should know by now that anything and everything can happen in Mexico City at any given time. So my fault folks...

With the absence of functioning red, yellow, and green lights since early yesterday evening - the Mexican driver has been possessed. Rutas driving on sidewalks, cars on the opposite side of the road, and of course, relentless honking.

What is normally a 5 minute drive to work would have been an hour no doubt, so we decided to walk the 6 block stretch. On my way back, I saw the obvious reason as to why nothing is resolved:

Two police officers in the midst of the honking chaos, eating their morning tacos. God forbid they have to actually work and direct traffic!!!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

how my NG is helping my TL

LOL :) Totally random title, I know. Let me explain.

The thought of moving to a new country is daunting, especially if you don't speak the language. Case in point: CHINA. I really don't know how I managed 4 years of the same 4 phrases over and over again - wo ting bu dong (I don't understand), wo bu yao (I don't want), wo mei you qian (I have no money), and wo yao qu (I want to go...). But hey, I survived right? Unfortunately my Mandarin didn't.

So now I find myself in some what of a similar (but not as grave) situation. You might be wondering, "why? you speak Spanish already don't you?" Well yes, not 100% perfect, but I'll give myself a 94%, which is definitely enough to survive. But the Spanish I knew before coming here is Spanish Spanish...from Spain. Huh?

The same way biscuits in England are cookies in America; Spanish vocabulary also changes drastically across the Atlantic. Although I've expanded my word base over the years, I'm still learning. Here are some of my favorites thus far:

chale - no way
chamaco - child
chambear - to work
chaparrito - shorty
chela - beer
compadre / comadre - brother/pal/friend; but usually used to address the godparents of your kids.
desmadre - kinda used to describe a disastrous situation, but I think it's more on the not so polite side (I wouldn't use it when describing an event to your grandma, for example).
guacala - gross / ew.
guey - man/dude
orale - right on; cool.
padre - awesome
sale - that's cool / ok.
tener hueva - feel lazy (again, not the most polite of sayings).

I decided against including the nastier slang (although I definitely have one or two (or three) favorites in that category too!), but you can check out a full list here.

Along with new words of course comes new pronunciations, the most challenging of which (for me) has been the dreaded TL. Most of these are proper names from Nahuatl, the Aztec language still spoken today in Mexico.


I seriously have laughing fits in my attempts to pronounce these words properly, but I've been getting better and better. The other day my gordo was giving me lessons, and quite impressed after he said, "see, your ng has helped your tl".

The NG he is referring to is that very specific sound in Tagalog that only native speakers seem to grasp properly.

ng - of
nga - pressing confirmation, truly, really. Oo nga - Yes, indeed.
hangin - air
ngayon - now
ngipin - tooth
langit - heaven
kulangot - booger

Did you try pronouncing the above? I found this mini-guide that attempts to help:

The Letter NG

This is a single letter in the Filipino alphabet and its sound is not at all foreign to the English speaker. It can be found in words such as “sing” and “hang” etc. The difficulty for non-Filipinos is that the ng sound is often at the beginning of a word or a syllable. Here is a trick to learn this sound. It works as long as you don’t pronounce the word “sing” with a hard g.

Repeat the words “sing along” several times together in a continuous flow:
Sing-along, sing-along, sing-along, etc…

Now remove the last syllable “long” and repeat several times:
Singa, singa, singa, etc…

Now remove the first two letters “si” and repeat several times while making sure that the sound of the letter Y does not creep into your pronunciation.
Nga, nga, nga, etc… 

Now you’ve got it!

Did it work for you?

Maybe with more practice my gordo's tl will eventually help his ng.