1 Vote

I'm not sure what "los portales" means in this context (from Arráncame la vida by Ángeles Mastretta):

"Lo conocí en un café de los portales. En qué otra parte iba a ser si en Puebla todo pasaba en los portales: desde los noviazgos hasta los asesinatos, como si no hubiera otro lugar."

Now, I know that "los portales" normally means "the doors" or "the entryways", but "a cafe of the doors/entryways" doesn't make sense to me. And GoogleTranslate gave me "convenience coffee", but that doesn't make sense with the next sentence ("engagements and assassinations took place in convenience, as though there were no other place"). Any ideas?

  • lol... I think that is probably assignations (tryst); not assassinations. (unless it's a gangster/hitmen cafe). Did you type asesinatos correctly? - 0074b507 Oct 28, 2010 flag
  • Nope, it's asesinato. The book involves a lot about dirty politics--I don't think the asesinatos and noviazgos are necessarily taking place in the cafe de los portales. - Soninmyeyes Oct 28, 2010 flag
  • Well, apparently they do--page 85, and someone was just stabbed in one of those portales. - Soninmyeyes Oct 28, 2010 flag

6 Answers

1 Vote

HI Soni, I guess this is it, when you enter la Plaza Mayor de Madrid, you will find portales to enter. In these entryways, which are broad and longish, you will find even restaurants.

This is not a very good photo, but I think you can see the shops inside the portales.

alt text

  • esta foto es de Puebla - 00494d19 Oct 28, 2010 flag
  • True! I'm in Puebla now, and I see those kind of arches all over the place. - Soninmyeyes Oct 28, 2010 flag
1 Vote

could it be a cafe similar to this hotel? (with porticos)

hotel los portales alt text

1 Vote

I think this one is clearer:

alt text

1 Vote

Noviazgos y asesinatos...good things and bad things happened in los portales..wink

0 Vote

Hmm... yeah, that sounds right. The assassinations-in-the-porticos part still strikes me as somewhat odd, but I guess that's just how it is. Thanks, all!

0 Vote

¿Qué les parece esta traducción?:

"I met him in a café tucked behind a walkway lined with columns supporting a scalloped-arch façade. Where else would it be -- if, in Puebla, everything happened on those colonnaded walkways: from lovers strolling, to hitmen striking -- as if there were no other place."

Notes: It's clear from these helpful photos that "los portales" cannot be translated by a handy one or two words, but needs a more expansive conversion into English. "Noviazgo" can mean courtship, as well as engagement or betrothal; in this context, courtship seems more germane. "Asesinato" means murder; "magnicidio" means assassination (referring to the murder of a famous person, usually a politician).

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