Costarican idioms (loosely interpreted)
¡Hij’ue puta! (pronounced Way-Poota)
Okay, if you are sensitive close your ears; this one’s a swear word. It’s also the one most used in Costa Rica.
Literally it is translated as “shit whore,” but it is used the way we use son of a bitch or the F word to express shock or indignation. Or, it can be used to express amazement. ¡Hij’ue puta! that girl is gorgeous.
I saw a snake once. I was speechless. Not one swear word out of me.
I wrote about it and the essay appears on Gordon Grice’s blog, Deadly Kingdom.
Here is the beginning:
“Costa Rica is home to many of the world’s deadliest snakes, including thirteen species of pit vipers. The largest of these is the bushmaster (Lachesis muta), but it is the fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper), or terciopelo, that locals fear the most.
When we first moved to Costa Rica our neighbors repeatedly warned us about them. They believed if I merely saw a man bitten it would bring bad luck. I wasn’t keen on seeking one out, but sometimes a snake is just where it is.
One February morning back in 2007 my husband and I drove to the county seat to pay our garbage bill. I dressed casually in shorts and a tank top for comfort in the tropical heat. Alan parked our old, dependable Jeep pickup in front of the municipal building and I asked if he wanted to go with me. Getting the predictable answer, I left him there and walked in. Ten minutes later, I was back. I climbed into the truck and started to tell him about my success over bureaucracy.
Then something caught my eye.” (Click here to read the rest of the essay.)
Note: the photo at the top of this post is of an eyelash viper I spotted on our property a couple of years ago. Below is the fer de lance, responsible for the largest number of snake bites recorded here every year.