|Calle Obispo Cobos, Úbeda|
But already in that first week of getting settled in Úbeda I was hearing taló and taleugo being thrown around in the streets, and it appeared that people were just saying it to random folks as they passed them by. It really threw me for a loop; I wondered, are they really saying “hasta luego,” See You Later, to their friends as they walk past them? It didn’t make any sense for people to say “goodbye” when you’re supposed to say “hi” to someone you pass in the street.
|Calle Minas, Úbeda|
Shouting out an hola or ¿que tal? implies you have time to spare and want to start a conversation, see how things are going, how their grandkids are, etc. So if you happen to say hola to a friend while you’re on your way to the farmers’ market ten minutes before it closes, you kind of leave them hanging without finishing what you started; they thought you wanted to chit-chat or had something to say but then you kept walking!
If this sounds confusing and almost counter-intuitive, don’t sweat it, because I have Spanish friends themselves who aren’t sure when to say which phrase! But as a general guideline, use hasta luego when passing by an acquaintance (and continuing on), and hola and its many variations when you see someone you know and want to stop and “say hi.”
What do you say when you walk by people you know on the street? Comment below!