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There’s this awesome new sport where you levitate over the ocean’s surface and mimic the walking guy on the crosswalk sign while wild waves crash all around you.

At least that’s what this sign might lead you to believe.

In actual fact, it’s a sign reminding you that though in Iquique, you might be a couple of blocks from the beach, it’s still a possibility that a rogue wave (or tsunami) could come around and leave you scrambling for purchase. (inundación, flooding)

It’s also part of a larger plague of misspelled and otherwise mistranslated signs you find all over the world. I must admit to entertaining both myself and my mother into fits of pterydactl-squawk punctuated giggles by reading aloud the pamphlets produced by some of the national parks in the north of Chile and trying to guess at what the original meaning.

I can understand the occasional bad translation on a menu.

Take this one, for example:

Sweater gives trout. Also known as sudado (sweated) de (of/gives) trout (poached trout). Ow, my aching mandible, with all the wool. It’s funny, it’s scoff-worthy, but then you get over it (this gem in the bus station in Puno, Perú). I’m sure some guy had his afternoon free, and they sent him to the Internet café to get a little work done, and this is what he came up with. Whatever. I certainly don’t expect every mom and pop restaurant on the continent to get their menu professionally translated.

What I don’t get is the signs, put there by municipalities, by government agencies, by presumably moneyed entities that don’t get check their work. Chile is a rich country, especially when compared to its neighbors. Surely we can do better than floonding.

Or maybe it really is a new extreme sport. Wonder where I sign up.