Posted by: Idioma Extra | March 2, 2010

Tuesday’s News

It’s cops vs. vendors in the daily drama along the boulevards


Every day there are at least two clashes between street vendors and the Policia Municipal. The San José police officers, themselves, admit that each month the number of vendors on the downtown pedestrian boulevard and other similar streets increases.

The law prohibits using the boulevards and other public places for street sales. Police are having trouble enforcing this edict because each month there are from 11 to 16 new vendors.

The vendors frequently play a cat-and-mouse game and roll up their wares when they see police approaching. Still, there have been violent skirmishes between police and vendors.

The bulk of the enforcement falls to the municipal police, a force that numbers just 200 police against an estimated 800 vendors. Sometimes the confrontations get so intense that the Fuerza Pública tactical squad joins in.

Tourists and visitors have mixed feelings about the situation.

Around 3:15 p.m. Monday, Ryan Macy, an Australian tourist, was walking on the boulevard. He said that San José is a very small capital and very welcoming, but space here in some places is very narrow and impassable because there are vendors on both sides of the boulevard.

Macy also said that visitors can find inexpensive goods or souvenirs, but he said he believes the municipality should have more control over this activity.

At 3:25 p.m., in front of the Banco Central building where a large number of vendors congregated, municipal policemen arrived. Some 11 officers were ready to run after at least 20 vendors who quickly packed their bags and their goods when an associate gave an alert. This prompted a chase.  If caught, vendors can have their wares confiscated.

At 3:30 p.m., in the midst of the confrontation between police and vendors, Steve Bradley and his wife were eating at a restaurant on the boulevard. They got up from their seats to watch what was happening.

Bradley said it was all a “show at coffee hour.” He said he was annoyed to see this happen every day, often until 4 or 5 p.m. The situation always is the same, he said: police officers behind the vendors. “I’ve seen fighting with stones and guns,” he said. “I have seen ladies get beaten and bloodied in the clashes, and they are just people walking on Avenida Central.”

Word of the Day

Main Entry: skir·mish
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English skyrmissh, alteration (influenced by Anglo-French eskermir to fence (with swords), protect, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German scirmen to protect, scirm shield) of skarmuch, from Anglo-French escarmuche, from Old Italian scaramuccia — more at screen
Date: 14th century
1 : a minor fight in war usually incidental to larger movements
2 a : a brisk preliminary verbal conflict
b : a minor dispute or contest between opposing parties <the debate touched off a skirmish>

More Vocabulary

Chase: n. the act of following or pursuing rapidly; pursuit
Clash: n. a hostile encounter; a sharp conflict
Enforce: v. to carry out effectively
Ware: n. manufactured articles, products of art or craft, or farm produce: goods
Welcoming: adj. receiving with pleasure or hospitality

Love those Phrasal Verbs!

Get up: to sit up or stand; arise

     Everyone in the office got up from their desks to see what the commotion was outside.

Emailing Phrases

Below are some phrases used in business emails in English. To learn more phrases and expressions, consider Idioma Internacional’s AFD 450 Emailing and Business Communication Course!

Requesting/Confirming Meetings

I was wondering if you’re free for lunch tomorrow.
How does Thursday afternoon work for you? I’m busy until 2, but we could meet at 2:15.
Could we reschedule the sales meeting? July 23rd isn’t good for me.
So we’re all set for Tuesday’s conference call. Talk to you then.

Referring to past actions/correspondence

In reply to your email dated November 15th, please see the attached memo.
Per our conversation this afternoon, I’m attaching the January sales figures.
Regarding our phone conversation today, I am writing to explain our return policy.


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