Figure out the best way to get from Central to South America, when you should book your accommodations for Carnaval and local language school recommendations. If it's on South America, it's in this forum.

tourist gringoy travel through S.A./Argentina/Paraguay

mynetdude

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  • Added on: February 18th, 2012
I'm not trying to make fun of things, but I have to be realistic and serious its not easy for me to learn & speak Spanish the way they do. Sure I know Senor, Senora and Senorita, Aqua, I can learn some other very basic words that are easy; that in itself is probably not the issue (or maybe it is?) I also have google translate on my phone too (but I think that requires an internet connection /sigh).

I have been told and I have read that its common for the locals to take advantage of gringos especially ones that don't speak Spanish. And I'm going to stand by the fact I don't speak Spanish because 5-10 words in Spanish isn't saying you speak Spanish! (you have to be able to say complete phrases and at least 20 different phrases THEN I might say I speak SOME Spanish).

I would like to do some solo traveling or travel with another backpacker who is interested in staying in hostels & guesthouses in areas where I might need a little bit of support in the "gringo" issues. (I know this isn't the forum to advertise for travel partners; bear with me).

Is it EVEN possible to travel solo? I would say without any experience, I'd have to say yes but at a significant disadvantaged cost. I'd like to know what some of you think/have to say.

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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
I don't think you have too much to worry about. When I first went to Mexico in 2008, I spoke very little spanish. Granted after about 7 days I decided to sign up for language classes. But before that, I managed to survive and I don't think anyone overcharged me due to my lack of spanish. Obviously I can't say for sure but if I was being overcharged it was by so little as to be unnoticeable. And if you do feel someone's overcharging you by a substantial amount, just walk away from the purchase.

BTW, you should buy a phrasebook to bring with you. They don't weigh much or take up much space.

mynetdude

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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
EMH wrote:I don't think you have too much to worry about. When I first went to Mexico in 2008, I spoke very little spanish. Granted after about 7 days I decided to sign up for language classes. But before that, I managed to survive and I don't think anyone overcharged me due to my lack of spanish. Obviously I can't say for sure but if I was being overcharged it was by so little as to be unnoticeable. And if you do feel someone's overcharging you by a substantial amount, just walk away from the purchase.

BTW, you should buy a phrasebook to bring with you. They don't weigh much or take up much space.


I have a phrasebook that came with one of my guides; trouble is I can't figure out how to pronounce some of the words if any. Although I should try.

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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
mynetdude wrote:
EMH wrote:I don't think you have too much to worry about. When I first went to Mexico in 2008, I spoke very little spanish. Granted after about 7 days I decided to sign up for language classes. But before that, I managed to survive and I don't think anyone overcharged me due to my lack of spanish. Obviously I can't say for sure but if I was being overcharged it was by so little as to be unnoticeable. And if you do feel someone's overcharging you by a substantial amount, just walk away from the purchase.

BTW, you should buy a phrasebook to bring with you. They don't weigh much or take up much space.


I have a phrasebook that came with one of my guides; trouble is I can't figure out how to pronounce some of the words if any. Although I should try.


Well spanish is a phonetic language so it shouldn't be too hard to learn. And you can always show a local the book and point.

zoomcharlieb

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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
learn how to say "como se dice" and "no intiendo" and you will go far.

mynetdude

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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
zoomcharlieb wrote:learn how to say "como se dice" and "no intiendo" and you will go far.


That looks easy, but question is do I pronounce it how I see it?

Ok I just did the google translate:

Como se dice is "As Stated" right? and its prounced as its spelled until you get to dice and besides the google audio feedback goes too fast IMO

for no intiendo that was actually easier than the first word, but one thing about spanish even though its phonetic a lot of words have the "y" like Senor (you say it senyor)

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  • Added on: February 20th, 2012
A quick correction....it's "no entiendo". With an "e' at the beginning.

"Como se dice" means "How do you say?". So you could point to an item and say "Como se dice".

As for pronunciation, the vowel sounds are probably the most important.

a= ah as in father
e=eh as in bet
i= long e
o = long o
u= oo sound as in boot

So "como se dice":

Como = use two long o sounds
se= sounds "say"
dice= deesay (with a long e sound in the middle)

You can read more here:

http://spanish.about.com/od/spanishpron ... vowels.htm

mynetdude

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  • Added on: February 20th, 2012
EMH wrote:A quick correction....it's "no entiendo". With an "e' at the beginning.

"Como se dice" means "How do you say?". So you could point to an item and say "Como se dice".

As for pronunciation, the vowel sounds are probably the most important.

a= ah as in father
e=eh as in bet
i= long e
o = long o
u= oo sound as in boot

So "como se dice":

Como = use two long o sounds
se= sounds "say"
dice= deesay (with a long e sound in the middle)

You can read more here:

http://spanish.about.com/od/spanishpron ... vowels.htm


ah now I was able to say it like the google translate says it, but this is not how the phrasebooks show the pronounciations... I like this type better than the ones given in the books also I'm sure some, but not all phrasebooks don't even indicate what your vowels should sound like.

MountaineerWV

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2012
While backpacking, unless you are willing to hitchhike or wait 4 days for a collectivo to take you to an isolated village (with no guesthouse, restaurants, or stores), you won't be off the gringo trail.

My Spanish is terrible, but it has never stopped me from finding food, fuel, or lodging. Take a few minutes to figure out the real cost of things and you won't be cheated.
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mynetdude

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2012
MountaineerWV wrote:While backpacking, unless you are willing to hitchhike or wait 4 days for a collectivo to take you to an isolated village (with no guesthouse, restaurants, or stores), you won't be off the gringo trail.

My Spanish is terrible, but it has never stopped me from finding food, fuel, or lodging. Take a few minutes to figure out the real cost of things and you won't be cheated.


Indeed knowing what you should pay or what ranges to stay within; it shouldn't be too bad?

So if your Spanish isn't great, are you still wandering off into isolated villages?

MountaineerWV

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2012
Absolutely. Hell, you don't even need Spanish there. Quechua and Aymara would have been much more useful.
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mynetdude

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2012
MountaineerWV wrote:Absolutely. Hell, you don't even need Spanish there. Quechua and Aymara would have been much more useful.



Haha, even worse :P

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2012
A hint:

Google Translate is a horrible spanish translator because it doesn't translate to the idioms and grammar of the other language,

A good phrase book is better than Google translate for that reason.
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zoomcharlieb

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2012
language skills are great if you have them, but not at all essential. The ability to "connect the dots" is more important. So if I'm in Flores and I walk by a travel agent, he will have a readerboard saying El Zotz $200, meaning he has a trip to El Zotz for $200. Trips in the middle of nowhere are better in most respects if you don't speak the language cause then your guide will keep quite and you can hear the birds chipr and the monkeys howl and maybe the peccary gnashing their teeth just before they rip you a new asshole, whereas if you speak the language, he will be telling you the mname of every damn flower and the cure for warts that it is or a new cnacer cure , stomach medicine, etc. this can go on for a long time as he feels this is what you want. I really don't let the lack of language ability be an excuse from not heading off into the wild blue yonder.

2wanderers

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  • Added on: February 24th, 2012
mynetdude wrote:I have a phrasebook that came with one of my guides; trouble is I can't figure out how to pronounce some of the words if any. Although I should try.
Full phrase books, which are still pocket sized, have better pronunciation guides than the little section at the back of the guidebook. Personally, I prefer a translating dictionary to either - easier to find what I'm looking for - but I don't find pronunciation to be a problem.

You're worrying too much about the barrier, though. It really doesn't matter, communicating to achieve basic transactions - getting food, bus tickets, finding a hotel, etc - doesn't require words. Learning the language will let you experience more of the local culture, and a language class is certainly a worthwhile investment, but you can still have a great time without it.

And the extent to which you pay higher prices while traveling is a function of local culture and how white you are. Nothing to do with language skills. Usually places with large tourism industries see foreigners as a cash source first and foremost, and that's where you see higher prices. Getting of the trail is the quickest way to get away from that.



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