With more and more travelers coming to visit Cuba, a little lesson in Cuban Spanish is in order. And don’t think you’re exempt from it because you took Spanish in high school and can communicate on a basic level with the host of your casa particular. If you really want to fit in with the local Cubans, you need to learn their favorite sayings; here are 20 of the funniest expressions to start with.
1. Cubans don’t eat hotdogs with “all the trimmings,” they eat them with “all the irons” (con todos los hierros).
2. Cubans are not “very talented,” they “go to Havana and extinguish fires” (va a La Habana y apaga fuego).
3. Cubans don’t “think something is outrageous,” they “throw a mango aggressively” (le zumba el mango).
4. Cubans don’t say something is “very far away,” they think it is “where the devil gave the three voices, and no one heard him” (donde el diablo dio las tres voces y nadie le oyó).
5. Cubans don’t tell you that “you have been taken for a fool,” they say that “they grabbed your ass” (te cojieron el culo).
6. Cubans aren’t just “fed up,” they are “up to their last hair” (hasta el último pelo).
7. Cubans aren’t “indifferent,” they “care a watercress” (me importa un berro).
8. Cubans won’t tell you something was “confusing,” they’ll tell you it was a “huge rice with mango” (tremendo arroz con mango).
9. Cubans won’t say something is a “big lie,” they’ll tell you it is a “big package” (tremendo paquete).
10. Cubans will never do something “underhandedly,” they will do it “by the left” (por la izquierda).
11. Cubans will not “cause trouble,” they will “bleat like a goat” (arme un berrinche).
12. Cubans are not just “proud,” they “cannot fit another bird seed into their butt” (no le cabe un alpiste en el culo).
13. Cubans don’t ask you to “stop being a fool,” they ask you to “stop consuming feces” (deja de comer mierda).
14. Cubans don’t think something will “end badly,” they think it will end “like Guatao’s party” (esto va a terminar como la fiesta del Guatao).
15. Cubans don’t think you are “pretentious,” they think you “polish yourself a lot” (te das tremenda lija).
16. Cubans won’t ask you to “keep a secret,” they’ll say “with a closed mouth, flies don’t enter” (boca cerrada no entran moscas).
17. Cubans don’t say someone “died,” they say “they stretched a leg” (estiró la pata) or “sang the peanut vendor” (cantó el manisero).
18. Cubans don’t say you should “attack the problem at its source,” they say “if the dog is dead, the rabies will stop” (muerto el perro se acaba la rabia).
19. Cubans don’t think something “will not last very long,” they think “it will last about as long as a sugary pastry at a school’s door” (eso dura lo que dura un merengue en la puerta de una escuela).
20. Cubans don’t “go somewhere reluctantly,” they “go like the cat whose tail is being pinched” (como el gato que le están pellizcando el rabo).