26 September 2010

I made a bear!

In México when someone makes a stupid or an embarrassing mistake they often say:

Hice un oso.
I made a bear.

If it was a really embarrassing mistake they might say:

Trágame tierra.
Swallow me earth. (Cover me with dirt as in "bury me")

Well, the other day "hice un oso" but I am not quite ready for the dirt. It happened when was leaving the shop in my wonderful 2004 slate gray Chrysler PT Cruiser. The shop where I work is located on a gravel street in an industrial park and we share the street with some companies that use huge trucks. One of these establishments is a cement plant so you can just imagine. Anyway, during the summer rains the street gets all beat to heck and sometimes there are pot holes that I swear could swallow a Volkswagen. In order to navigate successfully we have to memorize the location of the pot holes like the old Mississippi River paddle wheel captains had to memorize the river bed to avoid running aground. Whenever it rains heavily the pot holes (baches in Spanish) fill up with water so you can't tell which are the deep ones and which are the shallow ones unless you can remember which is which. Well, my memory must be failing me because I drove through a deep one thinking it was shallow and my oil pan bottomed out on a rock at the bottom. I felt a big thud but kept on going hoping and praying that it was just a bump to the underframe.

When I got home I had to stop and get out of the car to open the carport gate and after I moved the car into the carport I noticed some drops of oil on the pavement where the car had been temporarily standing. "Oh-oh", I thought, "That ain't good". It turned out that I was right. I called my friend Enrique, whom we call Quique (pronounced KEE-kay) for short, and he sent a tilt-bed truck to fetch my poor car. In a half hour we had it up on the rack and it was pretty clear by then that I had rendered the oil pan irreparable. Would you believe that it is made out of cast aluminum and that a replacement is very expensive? I am sure that you would. Well, this will teach me to be more careful but it was an expensive lesson. Like they say in St. Louis, "It may have made Bud wiser" but it made Bob several thousand pesos poorer.

The Ying and the Yang of it is that whenever something bad happens there is also something good in there somewhere and vice-versa. This case was no exception. I may have lost an oil pan but I gained some good vocabulary. I will start with the word for "oil pan" and keep going:

cárter inferior del cigüeñal (KAHR-tehr een-fehr-ee-YOHR dehl see-gwehn-YAHL)
oil pan

cárter superior del cigüeñal
(KAHR-tehr soo-pehr-ee-YOHR dehl see-gwehn-YAHL)

cigüeñal (see-gwehn-YAHL)

cojinetes del cigüeñal (koh-hee-NEH-tes dehl see-gwehn-YAHL)
crankshaft main bearings

muñón del cigüeñal (moon-YOHN dehl see-gwehn-YAHL)
crankshaft bearing journal

polea de cigüeñal (poh-LEY-ah del see-gwehn-YAHL)
crankshaft pulley

volante del cigüeñal (voh-LAHN-teh del see-gwehn-YAHL)
(alternate) volante de embrague (voh-LAHN-teh del ehm-BRAH-gey)

árbol de levas (AHR-bohl deh LAY-vahs)

válvula de admisión (VAHL-voo-la deh ahd-mee-SEOHN)
intake valve

válvula de escape (VAHL-voo-la deh ess-CAH-peh)
exhaust valve

levanta válvulas (ley-VAHN-tah VAHL-voo-las)
valve lifter

resorte de válvulas (rey-SOHR-teh de VAHL-voo-las)
valve spring

cilindro (see-LIHN-droh)

piston (pees-TOHN)

faldón del pistón (fahl-DOHN del pees-TOHN)
piston skirt

bulón (boo-LOHN)
(alternate) perno de pistón (PEHR-noh del pees-TOHN)
wrist pin (piston pin)

anillos de compresión (ah-NEE-yohs de kohm-preh-SEEOHN)
(alternate) aros de compresión (AH-rohs de kohm-preh-SEEOHN)
compression rings (piston rings)

biela (bee-EH-lah)
connecting rod

muñón de biela ( moon-YOHN de bee-EH-lah)
connecting rod journal

cojinetes de las bielas (koh-hee-NEH-tes de las bee-EH-lah)
connecting rod bearings

bomba de aceite (BOHM-bah deh ah-SAY-tay)
oil pump

cadena de distribución (kah-dey-nah deh dees-tree-boo-SEEOHN)
(alternate) correa de distribución (kohr-REY-ah deh dees-tree-boo-SEEOHN)
timing chain (or belt)

culata de cilindro (koo-LAH-tah deh see-LIHN-droh)
cylinder head

empaque de culata (em-PAH-keh deh koo-LAH-tah )
head gasket

cámara de combustión (KAH-mah-rah deh kohm-boo-STEEOHN)
combustion chamber

colector de admisión (koh-lek-TOR deh ahd-mee-SEEOHN)
intake manifold

colector de escape (koh-lek-TOR deh ess-KAH-peh)
exhaust manifold

mofle (MOH-flay)

varilla de medición de aceite (vah-REE-yah deh meh-dee-SEEOHN de ah-SAY-tay)
oil dipstick

bobina de encendido (boh-BEE-nah de ehn-sehn-DEE-doh)
ignition coil

bujía (boo-HEE-ah)
spark plug

distribuidor (dees-treeb-bwee-DOHR)

tapa de distribuidor (TAH-pah deh dees-treeb-bwee-DOHR)
distributor cap

bomba de combustible (BOHM-bas deh kom-boos-TEEB-leh)
fuel pump

inyector de combustible (een-YEHK-tor deh kom-boos-TEEB-leh)
fuel injector

carburador (cahr-boo-rah-DOHR)

motor de arranque (moh-TOHR de ahr-REYN-kay)
starting motor

I am thinking that perhaps some of you may have fallen into a deep trance before you got this far. I'll bet that I know who you are. When I count to three and snap my fingers you will awaken feeling very refreshed. One, two, three...SNAP! Hey! Bliss in San Carlos...don't forget to add these words to your flash cards. There will be an exam next week.


norm said...

All cars in Latin America should be fitted with a good solid skidplate. A sheet of quarter inch steel, a cut-out for the oil plug, 4 mounting points on the frame and you have protection from the dreaded speed bumps and pot holes of the Latin world.

GlorV1 said...

I hear those words daily. My husband is a master diagnostic technician, one of the best. :) Of course I thank you for the meanings.

Vic said...

The expressionis "Trágame tierra" (as in being swallowed by earth), not "traigame tierra" (bring me earth), hehehe funny mistake, but they do sound alike.

Bob Mrotek said...

Thanks for setting me straight. Now I can truly say "Hice un oso" and "Trágme tierra". I made the correction. Yes, my face is red but I'll get over it :)

Vic said...

Both in one sentence, nice! Keep'em coming and we'll keep reading them. ;-)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.