Turn turn turnstile

anti tourniquet 


bus station tourniquet

Those are three Google searches I did a few minutes ago to no avail. Can you tell what I was looking for? Hint: I was (unintentionally) thinking in Spanish. I’d read that Bogotá’s TransMilenio BRT system is planning to implement anti-colado faregates, and I wanted to see what such an apparatus would look like. Just really tall? Google was no help, though, until the last query, when the first result was the Wikipedia page for turnstile. Oh, turnstile! Of course, of course. You know what, though–I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying tourniquet in English for the last good while or so. I’ve definitely talked about turnstiles in Spanish far more than I ever have in English, so I guess it figures. Probably because now I live in a major city where I regularly take public transport, and my exposure to turnstiles in the States was decidedly skimpy. How I previously lived without that daily or even bi-daily metallic brush against my waist, I don’t know.

So, yes. Turnstile is el torniquete in Spanish. Tourniquete is also the word used for a medical tourniquet. A tourniquet constricts an artery on an arm or leg to control bleeding, and the idea of a turnstile/torniquete is to constrict and control access into a location. Apparently they say molinete in Argentina (like a pinwheel) and torno in some areas of Spain. Another throwaway fact is that turnstiles are also called baffle gates. The DRAE also said that a torniquete can be some part of a bell, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

At the end of the Wikipedia article on turnstiles, they dedicate an entire paragraph to “Turnstiles in Russia.” The novelty is that “In the early 2000s, Moscow authorities sought to further improve fare collection; since enclosing all bus and tram stops and providing them with fare gates was not feasible, they installed turnstiles inside each city bus and tram.” Yes, and? That seems normal to me (isn’t it? I’ve lost all touch with normality), but Wikipedia clearly did a double backflip about the far-out insideness of these turnstiles. Though it mentions that these groovy inside turnstiles are also seen in Chile, Brazil, and Hong Kong. They’re pan de cada día here in Colombia.

Enemies of crinoline petticoats

I’m going back to the U.S. tomorrow and will be there for eleven days, so if Vocabat can make herself stop eating all the delicious food that will abound–we’re doing an early Thanksgiving–and get around to blogging (oh, who am I kidding? I need to blog like I need to breathe), then she’ll be broadcasting from the U.S. of A, very happily a few pounds heftier. Tune in!

6 responses to “Turn turn turnstile

  1. ¡Ay, caramba! I can’t believe I’m the first to comment!
    So you say you are visiting the U.S., aye? Please tell me that you are coming to visit NYC? We have p l e n t y of pasamientos y torniquetes for your leisure. May I have the pleasure of giving you an amazing grand tour of the city? (sin cargo) But, if that’s too much to ask, then have you considered doing a video blog about your trip back to the U.S.? Video blogs are becoming quite popular nowadays thanks to YouTube.


    • Haha- I have plenty of old posts where you can still get to be the first one to comment! ;)

      No NYC this trip- just the Southeast. But when I do go, of course you can give me/us a tour. And vlogging, eh? I don’t know what I’d do a video blog about. Ideas?


      • Ideas? Let’s see…
        I believe whatever you truly love doing would make a great vlog to watch.

        Also, I think I read in one of your older blogs that you enjoy dancing, no? Maybe you could create a vlog giving your viewers a step-by-step on how to move as good as you with a dance partner?

        Or, might I suggest replacing your “ABOUT” page from this blog-site with a short video of you introducing yourself as the one and only vocabat? Personally, I think that suggestion would be very appealing–it would give the reader a chance to connect your voice to the fascinating blogs you write.

        Other suggestions might include making vlogs of the bloggable things that transpire in the daily life of the vocabat? You could talk about yourself, things in the news that you find interesting/ annoying, or maybe provide pronunciation for most of the new words you come across on your daily encounters with Spanish-speaking natives.

        The choice is yours entirely. I’m sure whatever you choose to do will continue to bring you new viewers and much success. :)


  2. Maybe one day I can take a picture of the gates used in NYC that can be used to prevent colados. I am not even sure if that is why they have them, but they are pretty of inconvenient.

    Coming to the US? I might be in Bogotá then.


  3. I meant to say that I will be visiting Bogotá at that time, not that I will go to Bogotá as a result of you coming to the US. We can be in the same town at the same time, no problem with that.


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