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25 things that a US citizen finds funny in Spain

25 things that a US citizen finds funny in Spain

Jan 30th, 2017, 04:39 AM
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25 things that a US citizen finds funny in Spain

I just came across this post on http://lacabezallena.com/social/made-in-spain/ (in Spanish), that tells about those things that an American (from the USA) living in Spain finds funny or weird about this country. Most of them I find to be true...following, a rough translation:

1. Everyone smokes (well, this is not true anymore...30% of the population is smoker, similar to the US)

2. There are bars everywhere (correct...but it´s true that bars in Spain are much more different to those in the US...here they are places where you socialize with friends and family (kids are often see inside) and you don´t really go there to drink

3. Social healthcare, you can go to the doctor or hospital anytime and you won´t get an invoice afterwards.

4. Alcohol is cheap (this is true...and also part of our culture)

5. There are red haired Spaniards (the writer believed they were just in Ireland)

6. No drier for clothes at home (mostly true, yes, we hang them outdoors)

7. Funny names...a Spanish tortilla has nothing to do with a tortilla the way we know it and El Corte Inglés is not English at all.

8. Everyone keeps his childhood friends (true)

9. There are many bus and taxi lanes. In the US we have special lanes for cars with more than two occupants.

10. There are way far more old people in the streets than in the US. Maybe because we keep them in residences?

11. There are many small shops. And no Wallmarts. And people that don´t know what Wallmart is.

12. Plane tickets are very cheap. And public transport is excellent

13. There are several official languages and people actually use them in their daily life.

14. Supermarket cashiers are sitting down!!

15. You pronounce the brand names in English in a totally different way. My ears hurt every time I hear how you say "Colgate" (and I´d add Wifi or Levi´s)

16. Each town has an official Virgin and a Saint (true...in the US there´s just one virgin Mary...here there are thousands!!)

17. “Joder” (our f***) is not as offensive as "f***" (see? Fodor´s don´t allow this language and in Spain it´s not that offensive.

18. You have many days off and festivities, in the US people work to the day they die!

19. In many places in Spain people stare at black persons (not true anymore, I believe)

20. Clothes are very cheap, Zara is a luxury brand in the US and you can find shoes for 5 eur at Primark.

21. I´ve never seen before a "banking book" before until I arrived in Spain.

22. Soccer is practically a religion for Spaniards.

23. Iberico hams hanging in bars...scary for me, you can see the hoof of the pig, too real for me.

24. Much more variety of meat cuts and seafood than in the US.

25. Where you come from is not important in Spain and people are more liberal in habits and customs... (maybe)

I´d add that nudity is not rare on TV programmes and that going topless on any beach and kids going naked is very normal.

There´s also a link to those things that a Spaniard finds funny about the USA, I may also translate it. I hope nobody find offense on this!!
mikelg is online now  
Jan 30th, 2017, 05:48 AM
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Most of the examples cited above, are not funny any more either in the ha ha sense or by being odd.

The one that is still true is

15. You pronounce the brand names in English in a totally different way. My ears hurt every time I hear how you say "Colgate" (and I´d add Wifi or Levi´s)

No matter how many times we see "Ja, ja", the Spanish response for the online "ha, ha" we think it is funny. And the Spaniards never understand why we think it is funny, even after the explanation.

The American car Dodge is pronounced doe-Khay and Colgate is pronounced Cole-got-tay.
IMDonehere is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 05:59 AM
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Yeah, pretty dated and a lot of it not unique to Spain. Wonder what the author made of British pubs.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 06:52 AM
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Just about everything in that list is the same in France as well.

But what is a banking book?
StCirq is online now  
Jan 30th, 2017, 07:12 AM
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"Banking book"?

Search tuned up this definition from investorwords.com:

"An accounting book that includes all securities that are not actively traded by the institution, that are meant to be held until they mature. These securities are accounted for in a different way than those in the trading book, which are traded on the market and valued by the performance of the market."

Doubt he meant that, lol, but wikipedia has this:

"A passbook or bankbook is a paper book used to record bank transactions on a deposit account."
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 07:17 AM
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I struggle to see what I said this got my input moderated. Ah well.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 07:22 AM
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We Used to havé bankbooks when I was a kid in Belgium.
Mostly for saving accounts for kids. So we could see the history of our savings I suppose.
For kids born long ago.

Pronunciation in Belgium can be interesting too.
Q8 fuel stations are often called kew weet in the French way.

And in south france a guy opened a chain of fast food called 'mes couilles Mickey'. When asked why he said a chain was called 'ma queue Donald'.
WoinParis is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 07:38 AM
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Banking book is something that is being phased out (this year)
This is just one version as designs vary with each bank.
or this one
They allow the client of the bank to see what transactions have taken place. They can be updated at any time by a machine usually inside the bank. Some ATMs also allow the books to be printed.
The bank stills sends bits of paper to your home when a transactions has taken place and they can still send monthly statements. However it is said that a lot of banking is being undertaking electronically these days so the older generations are being left behind. We know a number of families who still have no internet or smart phones!
ribeirasacra is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 07:48 AM
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A lot of it's the same in Italy, too. And most of the things are relevant only for people who live in Spain.

Are plane tickets really very cheap in Spain? In Italy, trains are usually cheaper than planes for domestic journeys.

No Catholic would ever agree that there are thousands of Virgins. There are churches and shrines dedicated to different aspects of the Virgin Mary: Mary of Mercy, Mary the Sorrowful, Mary Immaculate, etc., but they're all the same Mary.

I think the banking book is the savings account book ("libretto bancario" in Italian.) In Italy, only people who don't know how to use a computer, or don't have one, still use a libretto. That's probably also true in Spain. They used to have savings account books in the US, too.

There are many differences in banking between the US and Europe (not just Spain).

There are no separate savings and checking accounts. In theory, all accounts earn interest, but in practice your fees may more than wipe out any earnings.

Payments are usually made by bank deposit to the payee's account; checks are hardly used at all.

Payments (either by check or deposit) are honored by the bank even if you have insufficient funds, but they'll charge you interest on the amount overdrawn.
bvlenci is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 08:13 AM
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If you tell a Spaniard that the Virgen of Rocío is the same as the Virgen del Pilar, they´ll never believe you. Many people wear in their wallets images or postcards of several virgins...
mikelg is online now  
Jan 30th, 2017, 08:18 AM
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That's not a view countenanced by the church.
bvlenci is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 08:21 AM
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This is just nit-picking, but I thought clothes were very expensive in Spain. My friend's luggage was delayed, and she finally bought an outfit at El Corte Inglés. Black pants, a flowered T-shirt, and a flowered over-shirt to match. $265.

The same thing at Macy's would have been half the price.

We were really pleased with the fact that she could buy her diabetes medication without a prescription.

Hours for meals are much different than in the U.S. Especially for dinner. I saw a sign outside a McDonald's that said (translated) "In Spain, if you get home at 3:00 a.m., it's not from going out (to party), it's from going out to dinner."
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 08:51 AM
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The smoking thing: Maybe in general 30% of people in Spain smoke, but if you regionalized that, I think it would be a lot higher in the north,at least that was our experience.

Pronunciation: How about Avis? Our first trip to France, our host at the BandB couldn't figure out where we wanted to go- the TGV station.

Friends were ordering cabinets, and struggled to understand what color of stain is Walk Lef-that would be oak leaf of course.
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 08:53 AM
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There are a fair few differences between banks in the US and Spain but generally in the favour of Spain. I used to run a little bit of an international business and working with (most) US banks was a bit like stepping back in time, almost as bad as Portugal.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 08:58 AM
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No, Peg, you are right. Clothes are, and have always been, very expensive in Spain.
This list is generally very dated. There aren't very many differences today, and that's the way Spaniards want it. They want to catch up to other Europeans, to be done with the Franco era. Once the Semana Santa parades, bullfighting, and flamenco are gone, there will be no reason to visit Spain ( just kidding).

Some changes:- the siesta is disappearing as are printed receipts in stores, including supermarkets.
Bedar is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 09:09 AM
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I struggle to see what I said this got my input moderated. Ah well.>>

mmm- I'm wondering too, bilbo. the new mods must be very sensitive - I had a post of mine removed recently too and I know that I didn't say anything rude or use offensive language [well, no more than usual].
annhig is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 09:18 AM
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That list is just silly or to try to show how dumb Americans are (or maybe the author is a dumb American, who knows).

For example, the idea that "El Corte Ingles" is not English is just ignorant. I would hope anyone actually living in Spain would know all those words and get a clue. Same for the idea that the word tortilla means different things in different countries.

Some of the items are just not true, either. Many Americans keep friends their whole life, also, some of my best friends are from high school and some of them have had friends since grade school since they lived in the same town since then. We have bus lanes in the city where I live, also, as another example, and pretty good public transportation. And oh yes, through in the stereotype about Walmart and how all Americans supposedly think Wallmart (sic) is the only place to shop in the whole world and that it must be in every country in the world.

Also, the idea that an American thinks it is "funny" or "weird" to have a govt health insurance program. Most people are more intelligent and know health insurance varies a lot in countries other than the US.

You can buy shoes for $5 where I live, also, and believe me, Zara is not a luxury brand in the US. There is a Zara in the city I live in and no one thinks it is some luxury store. It is viewed the same as Target or H&M or cheap chains like that.
Christina is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 09:29 AM
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#20. Primark is in the US. I love their clothes and was happy to see them at a shopping mall 45 mins away from me and now there is another one 30 mins away from me in the opposite direction.

I know what a banking book is. It was taught to me in school but I've never used one. I now no longer get bank statements sent to my house, everything is done on line.
sassy27 is online now  
Jan 30th, 2017, 09:38 AM
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P.S. The friend with whom I went to Spain on one trip has been a friend for 67 years, when we were in high school together.

The only time I have ever been in a Walmart, I went because I had received a gift card to Walmart.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 10:31 AM
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Yes, it´s obviously some thoughts of a guy from the US living in Spain and some of the odd things he found out while living here. Not a scientific study or anything!
mikelg is online now  

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