Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tico Nick Names

I think I'm starting to understand Tico culture. Ticos have a habit of calling people by names. For instance the parking guard on our street always greets me with 'buenes linda' (linda = pretty). At first I was a little put off. What does he mean hey pretty? Should I be nervous should I walk on the other side of the street? The next guard up the streets always calls me guapa (beautiful). And the orange juice grocery cart vender calls me reina (queen).

Now, I was trying to make friends with the guards because you never know when you might need them. A sheepish smile and a nod, nothing big you know. This is a third world country and there is a reason why every three cars needs a guard. If you didn't know this about Costa Rica there are parking guards for every block. You pay them around a dollar for parking in their area under the theory that they are guarding your car. They carry a stick that was probably an old broom stick and they wear an orange safety vest usually crusted with dirt. If anything happens to your car you don't have to pay them because they probably won't be around. Sorry got off topic.

So I think all of these terms are just friendly banter. Ticos are flirts that's just what it comes down to. They are so nice it becomes flirtatious with the opposite sex. Nobody actually thinks they are seriously trying to get with you that's just what they do. When I go to the gas station I will be called a cute name, but only if Adam's not in the car. But these names don't really mean anything.

I realized this when the old lady selling cheese in the market called me mi amor, meaning my love. You would never hear that from a clerk in the states but here it comes naturally, and I'm loving it more and more. What I don't like though, is being called dona. Our apartment guard calls me dona, which I think translates into ma'm of the house. I'm not old enough to be called ma'am, how do you spell that anyways?

Also the nick names can be quite funny. On Wednesday's I take horseback riding lessons (super cheap). Last Wednesday I rode a horse named Mr. Clinton. And seriously they named him Mr.Clinton because he's a studly stallion, you know like Lewinsky?!? My instructor had a good chuckly explaining that. Yes I understood your spanish...

So whatever the Ticos say, there still is a small miniscule element of truth in the nick names. It's just a cute thing they do, which is becoming more endearing not threatening.

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