Chamo, chamo!

"Chamo, chamo!!"

This enthusiastic yell of "Dude, dude!!" can be heard throughout the streets just a few blocks from my apartment. Though this call occurs in all of Lima, there is an interesting concentration of it covering four square blocks in the nearby area.

As a car turns the corner, the man and/or woman standing on the sidewalk yells out, "Chamo, chamo!!" to tell the driver of the car, that they are ready for a transaction. Should you desire, you can pull over the car and sell just about anything you want. Clothes, shoes, household goods, linens; you have it, they buy it. Easy as that.

Alvaro tells me that most sellers in this situation are individuals looking for easy cash and fast. You can only imagine why they would need that money. But through some sort of necessity, the chamos have arisen. My favorite part is how these small transactions have influenced the Spanish language.

Chamo went from slang meaning "dude"
to a noun meaning: "the person who buys stuff on the side of the street"
to the verb chamear meaning: "to sell random stuff on the side of the street"

Ah, yes, the glorious transformation of a language.

"Chamo, chamo!"

1 comment:

Ley said...

Very good observation!
It's nice to know that, even though you are an English speaker, you can also recognize that kind of "modismos" in Spanish!
Ask your boyfriend 'cus maybe I am wrong but, "Chamo" is a Venezuelan word and it means "Young boy"... Maybe Peruvians started to use it very much and now it is part of them... who knows!? Maybe like "Chevere"!

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