Baño ruso

Here are some internationally-inspired expressions you may hear in Mexico.

Baño ruso

A baño ruso, a Russian bath, describes an quickie method of getting clean. Instead of taking an actual shower — which could involve heating the boiler first — you just splash your face and upper body with water from the sink. Te hiciste un baño ruso. You took a sponge bath. The Russians aren’t to be credited with or blamed for this technique. It is called a baño ruso because of the implicit rhyme with cara limpia, culo sucio.

DVD stand, Mexico City

DVD stand, Mexico City

Aire polaco

An aire polaco, a Polish wind, refers to a gust of cold air that could chill you to the bone if you’re not properly bundled up. The unfortunate Poles are invoked due to a play on words:
Tápate, que te va a dar un aire polaco.
¿Polaco?
Por la cola. A gust of cold air up your butt.

Note that aire is countable in Spanish: un aire polaco.

Calzón chino

If you get a calzón chino, you aren’t receiving a pair of Chinese underwear. Instead, you are getting a wedgie, that is, you’re being hoisted up by your underwear. Speaking of schoolyard pranks, pamba al nuevo is a hazing game where you dar un pambazo, smack the new kid on the head. A pambazo is a potato and sausage sandwich.

Semana inglesa

The expression semana inglesa, English week, is sometimes encountered in job listings. It refers to a five-day work week, the norm for Mexican profesionistas. Many working-class Mexicans work Monday through Saturday.