Gringa Moments

A Gringa on the Metro de Santiago

During my first year living in Chile my Spanish was pretty basic and since Chileans speak “Chileno” I wanted to take every opportunity to listen to Chilean speak in their natural habitat. Every day on my way to and from work I would take the Red Metro Line 1 and then change to the Green Metro Line 5. Easily I would spend 45 minutes during my transit to work. When the doors open and shut there would be a woman who says something over the intercom. This is what I would hear: 

I came to the conclusion that it was a manual code to shut the door (because I wouldn’t hear it at every metro station) and it went something like this: 6006, cierre las puertas”. A couple of weeks go by and I was traveling with a fellow gringa friend and we both hear the women on the intercom and started to discuss what she was saying. We both agreed that it was a manual code to shut the door.

Months go by and my fellow gringa friend and I are traveling together on the metro but this time with a Chilean friend. The “6006” code came on again while the three of us were together. My Gringa friend and I both repeated “6006” and laugh together. Our Chilean friend looked at us like we were crazy. The conversation went something like this:

Chileno: “Sorry, What do think the metro lady is saying?”

Gringas: “It’s a manual code to shut the doors. Duh!”

Chileno: “Ayyy you locas gringas! She isn’t saying that. She is saying “se inicia el cierre de puertas” (which means “the closing of doors will begin” basically)

Gringas: Silence for two metro stops to confirm if what the Chileno is saying is true.

**Mind blown**

I couldn’t believe it. I really thought it was code to close the doors. I was so wrong. The three of us were on our way to a party and our Chileno friend thought what happened in the metro was too hilarious not to share with everyone at the party. To this day, whenever the people who were at the party sees the two of us anywhere they shout “6006, 6006”

It’s been 6 years.



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Anyone know has lived in Chile knows that being called "gringa" is a term of endearment in the chileno's eyes. It doesn't mean from your from the United States, it just a way to identify someone who is from a country that speaks English.

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