travel blog

Hey Little Mama

Sometimes I like to translate Spanish slang and Peruvian jargon into English in my head, and often, it's pretty funny. 



For example, Gringita and Mamita is a word I hear quite often. My great aunt, or grandmother, or aunt, I'm still not sure, is a very old woman who only speaks Quechua (a language I don't understand besides the word "siki" which means butt, which comes in surprisingly handy on a daily basis). She calls me Gringita and/or Mamita, mostly because she can never remember my real name, also, it really doesn't matter to her. I also often hear it in the streets too, in a less fine way, spoken by middle aged men, trying to get my attention or seduce me. Surprisingly, it hasn't worked thus far. Gringita and/or mamita in this case is usually accompanied with kissing noises you would make at a dog, clucking noises you'd make at a dumb chicken and a wink, and sometimes, with the considerate ones, even a hello or, slightly less considerate: "oye" (meaning "listen to me"). 


Normally I am repulsed by this. But the other day I realized how funny it would be if say, I were walking down a street in Goshen and a round, middle aged man passed me and said, "Well hey there, little white thing!" (Gringita) or a low, sexual, "Hey little mama" ;) 


The other less pleasant game I play is "Penis or Something Else Pokey?" It's a game perfect for crowded buses. The answer usually is, yep, that's definitely a penis. At which point the object of the game changes from guessing, to sprinting. 


The funny thing is, I do feel incredibly safe in Ayacucho. I've never felt this safe in a large city, to be honest. I run into at least one person I know every day as I walk. Strangers are helpful and people look out for each other here. 


However, it's a good thing I now have less than two weeks in this city, because my patience is wearing thin. The next nasty man who cat calls me is going to get a piece of my mind, in English, of course.