Thursday, April 29, 2010


There are three definitions for pilas:

1. A water deposit with an area for washing (click here for pictures of modern pilas). The one in the picture is a communal pila. It has 5 spots for 5 women to come and wash. Women would come here wash and gossip making I am sure a wonderful event. Communal pilas are still in the rural areas. Pilas are the next step above washing clothes in the river on a rock.
You can find a pila at basically every house in Guatemala

2. Batteries. That toy comes with batteries included. El juguete trae las pilas incluídas.

3. Colloquial expression: From the concept of batteries comes this very common expression used when somebody needs to get more proactive or needs to be more energetic. One would say: "Ponete las pilas." or "Me voy a poner las pilas." (Put on the batteries. or I will put on the batteries.) Also someone that is pilas is a person that is energetic, thinks quick on his feet, similar to chispudo.

The picture is a communal pila in Finca Filadelfia

Thanks to Pablo`s comment for reminding me to write another very Guatemala memory. At soccer games the commentator would switch the microphone as follows: Luis was commenting on a play and to give the microphone to the other commentator he would ask: ¿José cual es la Pila? (What is the battery) Jose answers "Ray-o-vac- tremenda en duración"(Long lasting Ray-o-Vac) and keeps commenting.


Pablo said...

Cynthia: !!¿¿CUAL ES LA PILA??!!

Guatemalan Genes said...

Bueno para eso hay dos respuestas:

1. Ray o Vac tremenda en duración

o como dice el chiste

2. En la que lava tu m.... jejeje

Nancy said...

¡Qué pilas! Cynthia. Me encantó la foto. Cuántas historias habrán escuchado esos lavaderos públicos.
Buen tema para un cuento ¿no? Es un gusto volver a leerte y saludarte.