A few tips for Newcomers


Jun 2, 2008
I got elbowed in the stomach deliberatly once by an angry looking chubby teenager. Was walking along a pavement with my other half, and the evil bugger launched himself into me full force and would have winded me ordinarily. Stared at him non-plussed for a while, until he started swearing at me so i sighed and we wandered off.

Some people are just ugly and will get whats coming to them sooner or later.
Smile, through gritted teeth if needs be.


Jul 27, 2006
HotYogaTeacher said:
I always say excuse me. Always.
I know the difference between excuse me and pardon me, though in any language, pardon me is another way to say you need to pass, you can also say may I pass please. None of that keeps you from being body slammed on occasion, though most of my expat friends notice it happens more to women than men. Jimmy and I definitely notice that it happens less to him and less to me if I am with him.
Also, I have a beautiful accent;)~

Peace Bro~

ps~ I got offered a job today, by a company that does business with mostly American companies. Who'd have thunk?;)~

Since your reply was all in English, it isn't clear what you are saying to people on the street when you want to be allowed to pass. It appears you believe that pardon/perdon is the right thing to say ("in any language"). It's certainly close enough in French, but not in Spanish.

When trying to pass a group or individual it is customary to say "permiso" in Latin America, period. In Mexico the natives say "con permiso" and in Argentina it's just "permiso" without the con.

To say "perdon" in Spanish when you want to pass people in the street won't always have the desired effect. A native speaker of Spanish simply doesn't use the word that way. When you say "perdon" they will stop, turn, look at you, either wondering why you are asking forgiveness for or waiting for you to ask a question. If you say "puede paso, por favor" (which does mean "may I pass, please"), they will wonder why you didn't just say permiso in the first place. Then they will see you are a foreigner and understand.

Donquxiote had this problem when he was here. He persisted in saying that "perdóneme" in Spanish meant the same thing as "pardon me" in English. The fact that very few locals simply let him pass when he said it was proof enough. I just walked home to Recoleta from Congreso. I only had to say "permiso" once and the man in front of me instantly made room for me to pass without so much as a glance in my direction.

If you listen to the locals, you won't hear them say "perdón" when they want to pass someone.

It's always permiso. Ask any native. I asked several today and the answer was 100% permiso.

You may not always hear "perdon" when someone bumps you, but that's when most of them will/should say it.

Occasionally, I hear a foreigner say "perdon?" when they don't hear something clearly. It's another example of an uncommon use of the word here. Locals will probably understand, but it is far more common to say "como?" (which is considered more polite than Qué?).

Words that sound similar to or are even spelled the same in Spanish and English are not necessarily interchangeable.

There is no word that I know that sounds remotely like "excuse" me in Spanish (as there is in French), so I am not sure exactly what you are saying when you say "excuse me" here. If you do want to stop someone to ask a question, the word to use is disculpe (or disculpeme), but you wouldn't use it to pass someone when walking. If you do, they'll stop and wait to see what you want (probably still blocking your path).

PS: Congratulations on your new job. I hope it won't prevent your attendance that the next expat lunch.


Dec 2, 2008
one of my travel books said buenos aires has the worst pedestrian fatality statistic in the world. im not with the book right now, ill look it up later.