How to Get your Hair Washed and NOT go to the Movies in Peru!
Okay, my Spanish is lousy! One thing I do is get similar words mixed up all the time. For example, one day I was knitting in a park. I like to knit both socks at the same time which is unusual—especially here.
A lady stopped briefly and commented on my knitting and I proudly showed her my socks saying, “Tejo dos calientes al mismo tiempo.” (“I knit two hots at the same time.”) She walked on, probably chuckling to herself.
Spanish lesson for the day: In Spanish, “socks” is calcetínes and “hot” (plural) is calientes. Say those words out loud. Don’t they sound almost the same? No? Well maybe it is just me.
Last year, while I was living in Arequipa, I decided to have my hair washed every week in a salon. For those of you who know me, you know that I am far from stylish and have not set foot in a salon to have work done on myself for probably 30 years. (Yea, I know—it shows.) I thought it would be a little luxury for me to have someone wash my long hair for me and it was so inexpensive here. There are salons everywhere.
My host, Adela, took me down the street to her hairdresser, Lily, who, for 8 soles (about $2.80) washed my hair every week. It was so fun and we became friends. But this year, at dinner on Wednesday, when I told Adela that I was going the next day to have my hair washed, she informed me that Lily no longer owned the little salon. She said the new owners were “mas caro” (more expensive) and that she would escort me to her new hairdresser. Adela and Manuel are great hosts and are always happy to show rather than tell their guests where things are. I was disappointed because I was looking forward to seeing Lily again.
A little later, our dinner discussion turned to other things. Adela asked if I would like to go with them to the movies one evening. I told her, sure, if it was not an action film or one of those with lots of car chase scenes. A romantic movie would be nice. She laughed and agreed. Of course, keep in mind that all this is done in Spanish, with me understanding about 15-20%, so we use many gestures and laugh a lot.
After breakfast on Thursday, I asked Adela what would be a good time for her to show me where the hairdresser was:
¿A que hora is bueno por tu ir a película?
And I made it clear that I was in no hurry—anytime was okay.
She immediately went over to their computer and started checking to see what movies were showing, asking me what I thought about some of them, and asking Manuel, her husband, and Michel, another guest, for their opinions. Of course, I understand about 15% of what I hear, so I was a bit confused but I figured that she was trying to coordinate the movie time with a good time to go to the hairdresser. After about 5 minutes, embarrassed, I put my face in my hands and apologized greatly: Lo siento, Lo siento mucho! (“I am sorry; I am very sorry!”— I have to do this a lot, so I know those words.)
Another Spanish lesson: peluquería is hairdresser and película is film.
Do you see what I did?
Luckily, everyone thought is was very funny. I had to repeat peluquería over and over before I could hear the difference and get the pronunciation down. Today, I am still repeating it in my head, especially whenever I pass one of the many salons on the street!
I did get my hair washed on Thursday—by my new hairdresser, Yose
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