Language of Pasto -- ACHICHUCA / ACHICHAI

In Pasto, people address each other more formally than in other places of Colombia. Here you should address any man – young or old with the Spanish equivalent of Mr. – Don (pronounced: Dohn). You should address women 50 or older with Doña (pronounced: Dohnya). You should also use Señora (pronounced: Sehnyora) for married women under 50 and Señorita (pronounced: Sehnyoreeta) for unmarried women under 50. While these phrases are commonly used in Colombia in places outside of Pasto, they are REQUIRED to be socially appropriate in Pasto. So make sure you address people using these important words and their last name when talking to them.

Two other words that you should become familiar with are unique to this area – ACHICHUCA and ACHICHAI. These are interjections that, like School House Rock taught us, show more excitement and more emotion.

ACHICHUCA is used when you burn yourself or when it is really hot. For example, “ACHICHUCA, I burned my finger.” (ACHICHUCA, me quemé el dedo.)

ACHICHAI is used when it is really cold. For example, it is a freezing morning in Pasto, you would hear some one say, “ACHICHAI.”

Finally, what discussion about Pasto would be complete without a mention of the word CUI. Cui is the food most associated with Pasto. It is BBQ --Guinea Pig. It is served by families in Pasto on special occasions, however, you should probably give it a whirl. If you order it in a restaurant, you will usually get CRISPETAS (popcorn) and fried HIGADO (liver) while you wait for it to cook. You may even be asked if you would like REFAJO to drink. Refajo is a drink mixture -- the soda pop COLOMBIANA with CERVEZA (beer).* Foto by Dan..'s photostream


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