Now, if you are looking at the word BOMBA in Spanish for the first time or even as someone who has studied Spanish for years, you are probably thinking it means “bomb”. Well, that is correct.
Most of the time.
I studied Spanish for several years before I headed to Mexico. I was pretty confident that I knew what I was doing. I spoke with confidence and only balked at heavy slang that was particular to the region.
There is a bomb in town!
I was in Barra de Navidad, a small beach town about 4 or 5 hours outside of Guadalajara. One day I woke up and my shower would not turn on. I also was quite dismayed to find out the toilet would not flush either. Did I mention my then-boyfriend had made use of it before this realization? Not a pleasant situation.
We decided to just pick up our laundry that we had dropped off the night before and head to the beach. However, when we got to the laundromat they simply handed me the bag of dirty clothes and explained that they couldn’t wash them due to the “problema con la bomba.”
I stared at the woman and asked her to repeat, but she really had said “problema con la bomba.” I turned back to my non-Spanish speaking boyfriend and said “Apparently, there was a bomb in town….”
He was not a seasoned traveler and was already a little freaked out by Mexico, so you can imagine what this did for his morale. We spent the rest of our stay in this town believing there had been some sort of mini-bombing in the tranquil beach town of Barra de Navidad.
The truth? Bomba also means water pump.
I didn’t figure out that bomba had another meaning until much later. Looking back, my mistake was pretty embarrassing. Assuming that a small beach town had been bombed and it had only affected the water supply is pretty ridiculous.
Lesson learned: If you hear a word you know but it seems odd in context, ask for an explanation, there is a good chance the word has more than one meaning.
Any other meanings for BOMBA in Spanish that you have run across?
Check out these other articles about the Spanish Language.
Featured photo image: Water Pump by Martin Cathrae via flickr