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#57965 - 10/12/00 03:31 PM Spain vs South America
steveaqui Offline
Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 76
Loc: Inglaterra
I’m interested to know what you Americans think of Spanish speaking South America as compared to Spain. I ask this because I am conscious of the fact that travel to the South of America would appear to be easier, quicker and probably cheaper. Also there is a wide range of choice from Chile to Cuba etc.
I would like to visit a few of the South American countries and as I said I am interested in comparisons between a place where all visitors to this site appreciate, namely Spain and South America.

Thanks,
steveaqui

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#57966 - 10/12/00 04:40 PM Re: Spain vs South America
Nicole Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 583
Loc: Los Angeles
I have lived in Colombia, Chile and Spain, actually (as well as FRance, but that's not really important), and traveled extensively in Peru, Argentia, Uruguay and Brazil. To be honest, besides the obvious language connection between Spain and South and Central America, I think it is really impossible to compare. I cannot speak for Mexico or Central America, but every south American country that I have been to has an incredibly unique ethnic make-up and culture, and therefore, appeal.

When I decided to do a year abroad I chose Spain for its proximity to other European countries, because although I was interested in the language, I was also interested in doing more traveling in Western and some of eastern europe. I came to really love Spain. I chose to go to Chile after college because I wanted to continue with Spanish and wanted a different experience.

I happen to be absolutely fascinated with history, so I looooove Peru, and was thrilled to get the chance to go back and spend some time in Cuzco and Machu Picchu (which I never spell correctly). Argentina, particularly Buenos Aires, is very Italian - you can hear it in the sopanish and can tell from the clothes and physical characteristics of the people

[This message has been edited by Nicole (edited 10-12-2000).]

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#57967 - 10/12/00 04:50 PM Re: Spain vs South America
Nicole Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 583
Loc: Los Angeles
sorry, had to do something else for a minute. As for travel, it is easier and cheaper to get to Europe from a lot of places in the States, than it is to get to southern South American countries. We can't [legally] go to Cuba as U.S. citizens, so I don't know about that. I made reservations for a trip to Cuba from chile, but someone told me that there was a possibility that the US gov. could confiscate my passport if they found out, I said no. However small the chance, I love to travel too much.

Anyway, the nice thing about a lot of South America is that it is still a little bit off the beaten track, and you have more a sense of specialness about your experiene. In Europe, you are fighting the crouds all summer. That said, I am a big art lover, so I am more than happy to be in a place where I can peruse museums all day. I think in general, Americans see Spain as more sophisticated than South America, because it is a European country. I do not happen to believe that is true, but it is generally more cosmopolitan than SOME South american regions.. As i said, I cannot speak for Central america (yet).

I could go on and on about my perceptions about the countries I have visited, but I won't bore you {unless you really want me to}. Besides, your destination is never the most important part of a trip. It is really the people you meet. Find some one that loves a place and it usually some one that made some great friends, lovers there..

[This message has been edited by Nicole (edited 10-12-2000).]

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#57968 - 10/13/00 09:49 AM Re: Spain vs South America
Brian Goldthorp Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 43
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Steveaqui -

I see you're in the UK. I would think the Spain/Latin America connection would be similar to the UK/US-Canada-Australia connection. That is, there is a common language (up to a point "hehehehehe") and common history but the cultures have gone their separate ways over the centuries, both from the mother country and from each other. No?

As for travelling to Latin America, as a Canadian we don't have the U.S. problem about Cuba so it is a cheap vacation destination for us (along with the Dominican Republic and Mexico) - lots of package tours. South America itself would be fairly expensive, though. Flying from Toronto to Buenos Aires, for example, would be longer than a flight to Europe and more expensive.

[This message has been edited by Brian Goldthorp (edited 10-13-2000).]

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#57969 - 10/13/00 12:49 PM Re: Spain vs South America
sevilla Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 6
Great site madridman!!!!!!
Spain and southamerica are very different. The only thing we share is the language, or at least the base of the languaje, and some years of history when we discovered America. We don't have the same customs, or culture, history... is like saying that USA and England are the same because both speak English. Honestly, I don't like when Southamerican say they are Spanish, they are Americans, or Mexicans or Cubans... and they should be proud of being independent form Spain. Is like if the Americans said they are English...

[This message has been edited by sevilla (edited 10-13-2000).]

[This message has been edited by sevilla (edited 10-13-2000).]

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#57970 - 10/14/00 10:41 AM Re: Spain vs South America
steveaqui Offline
Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 76
Loc: Inglaterra
Interesting information and thoughts, what I find particularly odd is the way that the US Govt. can stop its citizens from visiting Cuba. I don’t think we would take kindly to such a ban here in England.
I also find very interesting the comments about it taking less time to fly to Europe and also the fact that it’s cheaper.
Nicole, you really are well travelled!

Well got to go now and I’ll be back to the board in a week with some comments on my stay in Madrid.

Hasta luego a todos

steveaqui

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#57971 - 10/18/00 10:05 AM Re: Spain vs South America
brianvc Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 20
Loc: texas, usa
i have never been to south america, but i have certainly met lots of people from there . most of these were rich people visiting here in texas. i am talking here about South American countries and not Mexico.
they looked castillian-ish, meaning that they looked like they could have walked off a street in barcelona or madrid. it seems the rich down there are rarely the indigenous peoples. i watch their soap operas sometimes and it always shows white european types living some tragic, rich existence. the mestizos and or indians are usually the servants. i would love to hear more about race relations down there...it seems it is similar if not worse than here in the US.

i would also like to note how hard it is to understand some south americans because i am used to the language as spoken in northern spain. it always throws me off when south americans dont pronounce the letter S! but this makes it all the more interesting i think. and i would love to visit that continent.

a note (and then i will stop) on the Cuba thing. yes, the US has an illegal position on trying to bar unauthorized travel to cuba. but we also have to blame the cuban immigrant lobbying groups who push for this sort of stuff. i take offence to people who were born in another country trying to tell me i cant travel somewhere, because of politics. but our government is to blame also.

please note, cuba DOES want americans because of our dollars ("los washingtones" they say). they reportedly will stamp a separate form rather than your passport if you so desire. thus leaving no trace of your visit!

woo! sorry, damn long i must say. apologies, brian

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#57972 - 10/18/00 10:43 AM Re: Spain vs South America
El Boqueron Offline
Member

Registered: 06/09/00
Posts: 421
Loc: UK
BrianVC - I'm not sure how happy the typical "Barcelones(a)" in the street would be to find themselves described as Castillian!

[This message has been edited by El Boqueron (edited 10-18-2000).]

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#57973 - 10/18/00 11:32 AM Re: Spain vs South America
connie Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 153
I have never been to South America, but I know quite a few people from there who are doing postgraduate studies in the US, and they all claim that the US strucks them as being much more racist than their own countries. They say that there is no black-white dichotomy such as here in their home countries and that mestizaje was and is considered a desirable concept, there were political movements promoting it already at the beginning of the last century and no prohibitions of inter-racial marriage existed. Therefore, they find it weired that sometimes like in the US census there is mentioning of White hispanics and black hispanics because they do not define their own identity in those terms. On the other hand, they admit that there was an element of racism- albeit more subtle- in the mestizaje idea because there was an idea of "whitening" of the population inherent in the concept, with immigration from Europe encouraged as opposed to immigration from other parts.
But all in all, they said there is a lot of discrimination based on class, but not on race in a comparative extent. Peru has a president of Japanese origin--independently on what you think about him, it is a good sign in terms of diversity and tolerance for minorities.
On the other hand, what is true is that most of the people that I spoke to DID look like Spaniards. But still, they brought a lot of examples from their countries' history that seemed as if there was more racial tolerance. Any more opinions about that?

[This message has been edited by connie (edited 10-18-2000).]

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#57974 - 10/18/00 12:38 PM Re: Spain vs South America
Nicole Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 583
Loc: Los Angeles
The whole categorization of race is a strange thing really. The US believes in the one-drop theory - "one drop" of African blood makes you "black." Which I think is odd. Other countries have hundreds of distinctions depending on your ethnic make-up. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are less racist though.

Through out every South American country I have visited, your social class is inherently tied to your skin. In chile, all of the Gerente Generales were very light skinned, and the lower you go down in job status, the darker people's skin were. It was a literal skin pigment ladder in the microcosm of my jobs there. It is a complex issue. An individual's economic status is largely determined by family, literally, your last name (look at the people in government anfd economic positions of power and you see certain apellidos repeated inpartciular circles) - obviously your family has a lot to do with your ethnic background. In Brazil the wealthy neighborhoods are filled with Portuguese looking people, poor neighborhoods - african and native american. In Lima,I stayed with friend of my parents - two separate neighborhoods and social classes, same thing.

I think if you ask a Spanish looking, wealthy South American if there is a race problem in his or her country, they will say no. But, you can bet that their family gardner and servants were dark skinned.

I also think if you ask the average American white person what the racial problems are in the States, he or she probably won't know - a lot of people simply deny that a problem exists and insist that people are just exagerating. It isn't until you become really good friends or have a relationship with some one not "white" that you begin to see the enormous and wide reaching manifestations of prejudice. At least that has been my experience..

I think one difference regarding race between S.A. and the U.S. is that a whole lot of people are really poor in S. America, and maybe when those countries start to be more stable, and people see that the pie isn't being divided fairly, you might see more action in the direction of changing race relations. At the end of the day, they are each different coutries, and simply handle race in a way that mirrors that culture..

Sorry this was so long, but it is a really interesting topic to me.

[This message has been edited by Nicole (edited 10-18-2000).]

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