Sayings of my people
Unfortunately, some of the chosen examples are no longer used daily in the streets, but are retained only in the people’s memory.
Fregao: When a person wants to say to another that they shouldn’t go on bothering him they say No me friegues más. (Fregar = to scour, scrub)
Aplazado: This word is used to say to live in concubinage. When you ask a person if they are married or single, if they live together unmarried, they say Estoy aplazado. (Aplazar = to postpone)
La plata: Used to refer to Money (Plata = silver)
La pela: used to express the act of smacking the bottom as a punishment to a child, it is said, te voy a dar una pela.
Cayuca: this word is used to describe flat-bottomed boats with sharp prows and wide sterns. Those who row them are called cayuqueros.
Adio: this word is used not as a farewell but as an exclamation. For example, if you ask someone why they came late, they reply ¡adio, no había guagua en que venir! (translator’s note: could this term be derived from "Ay Dios!’ ?)
Vea: this is used as an affirmation, for example, when you speak of something and the Baracoan wishes to affirm what you say, he will respond ¡vea!
Me devolví: Phrase used as a synonym for returning. (literally “I returned myself”)
Me ripie como un yarey: I shredded myself like a leaf – hard to explain to a non-Cuban, but this is a very colloquial phrase meaning that one enjoyed oneself a lot at a party. Yarey is a fibrous plant whose leaves are used to make hats, baskets, etc.
Una lagrima de San Pedro: A tear of St Peter – means a stone
Esta pampui: To be ill, or when a fruit is rotten, esta pampui
Guineo Eguinoa: Name given to the fruit known as a guineo burro (plantain) in other places.
El barco de vela lo que necesita es viento: What the sailing boat needs is wind. Phrase which is used to say that what is needed is money and not advice.
Cuando se muera búsquenlo río arriba: literally "When he dies look for him river above’ – phrase which is used to describe a stubborn person
¡Arreovaya!: exclamation relating to anything which is disagreeable
¡Que abusador!: expression used when something extraordinary has happened, for example when a pilot goes by in a low-flying plane, when in a fight a man hits another mercilessly
Te voy a regalar un choncholí blanco: I am going to give you a white choncholí (NB: you will have to ask Yirandis what a choncholí is, no-one I know has any idea!) – used when one believes that something cannot be done and a charlatan says that it can, also to threaten someone, "if you dare do that I will give you a white choncholí’.
La ñapa: these were provisions offered by salesmen in olden times to attract clients
Revacando: to fight, but also to try to get out of a fight, when he who is attempting to depart from the scene is coming off worst
Celebrarse: literally to celebrate – pretty acts which have almost completely disappeared from courtship: squeezes of the hand, amorous games and kisses