What the Foca?

We needed laundry detergent and this week we were greeted at the store by some new (to our area of the United States), Mexican-made options. I was immediately drawn to the bars of Zote because they smelled so good, but Carlos said Zote is for washing clothes in the river. (I later found out that while Zote is traditionally used for hand-washing laundry, you can grate it up and use it in the machine – still altogether too much work for this gringa.)

Another choice was Roma, and while I liked the image of the señorita on the bag, I ended up choosing Foca. The cute seal (“foca”), image on the bag isn’t why I chose it though. I just like saying “foca”. With some Spanish words, I am still a middle school girl at heart, and “foca” makes me giggle because of its resemblance to an English word we shouldn’t say in polite company. (Want to know another word that makes me laugh? The Salvadoran Caliche word “bicha” which, despite resembling an insult for females in English, simply means “girl”… If Paris Hilton was a Guanaca, do you think she would say, “What’s up, bichas?”)

This Spanglish cartoon is evidence that I'm not the only immature bilingual out there.

Anyway, despite spilling Foca all over the floor in the laundry room when we first opened it, (“Awh, foca!”), it has turned out to be a good purchase, ($7.88 for 11 lbs.) The clothes come out clean though I wish it left a stronger scent. Most importantly of all, I get to say “foca” more often.

Posted on November 30, 2010, in humor, Language. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Fun post which brought me a smile. Thanks!

  2. too funny!

    We have moved to the “unscented” variety of laundry detergent. My husband suddenly HATES the smell of all soaps!?

  3. I live in Mexico and I use Foca all the time!! I use the liquid kind most of the time but I use it because it says its biodegradable.. and I like to try and be environmentally friendly :) I use lots of downy “suavizante” to make the clothes smell good since you’re right it doesn’t have much of a laundry fresh scent!

    • We don’t have liquid Foca here, LOL. Just the powder. (At least at my store.) I like the scent of Downy, too, but I don’t usually buy liquid fabric softeners because I had a bad experience with it ruining clothes, (and it’s also expensive.) … I rely on dryer sheets to give the clothes a good scent.

      Thanks for your comment! :)

  4. :) You’re such a dork. (MY favorite middle school saying)

  5. Tracy,

    Family Guy had a similar bit regarding seals on a recent episode. Freakin hilarious:

    • ROFLMAO! … I never thought I’d say this, but in this one instance, French trumps Spanish. Hilarious!

      • BTW, to get back on track with the subject, I’ll send you a block of “jabon de tunco.” That’s the old school, river laundry washing soap. Ask Carlos if he’s heard of it.


      • Okay, Carlos isn’t sure if he remembers. He says he remembers something brown. LOL. I swear, you’d think he left at the age of 2 instead of 18… So, is “jabon de tunco” brown?

      • Okay – will ask him and report back. LOL. (He likes the smell of the Foca though. He says it smells like El Salvador.)

      • ROFLM (2 vs 18)

        I believe it is brown. I know they sell it at some of the local salvadoran stores. I’ll have to take a pic and send it to you. LOL

  6. Hahahahahaha! I love the mother foca cartoon! That is the best! I also love the word foca. Our 18-month old daughter is now saying “foca” a lot (there’s one in a book) and I giggle everytime she says it.

  7. jajajajajaja a good laugh i needed today!

  8. hilarious!! I think I might start saying this more often.


  9. Jabón Zote!!! Awesome!!! It takes out all the tough stains from clothes!!!

  10. Apparently, I shop in the wrong stores since I don’t know what the foca your talking about. I’m a Tide with a touch of downy girl all the way (and I even have the BF hooked on how good our clothes smell) , especially when combined with Bounce in the dryer. Clean and static free!

    But I have to admit, if I ever do see this–I’ll take a big whiff–I’m curious what El Salvador smells like! :)

    • “I’m curious what El Salvador smells like! :)”

      It smells like spring fresh pupusas. LOL

      • Jabón de Cuche!!!!!waca, eso huele tan feo (es hecho de la semilla del aceituno). Recuerdo que veia las bolas de jabón en el mercado. Cero “looks” pero la gente del campo lo amaba! Al igual a un tal jabón Salvavidas que es de color rojo y que yo no sé porque asocio con olor a perro mojado (go figure that one)!

      • ROFLMAO (perro mojado)…

        Tenes razon en lo de la gente del campo. Creo que lo usan para banarse, lavar ropa y hasta los platos quizas…para todo…

        Aqui lo venden en las tiendas donde se encuentran productos guanacos. No se como pueden seguir usando eso en realidad…

        Pero al mismo, aqui se conoce gente que hasta se traen piedras de los rios donde lavaban su ropa en sus pueblitos (no es paja). Ojala no meten las piedras a la maquina de lavar.

      • Tengo una piedra de la playa en la Libertad. Bueno, un día tuve una mancha en mi camisa que yo no podía quitar para nada. Ví a la piedra y pensé “¿Por qué no?” … Así que yo estregué la camisa con la piedra y ¿sabes qué? Quité la mancha! Pero, con qué finalidad lo quitaba! La piedra hizo un hoyo en la tela! jajaja ….. ¡Qué mensa soy!

      • Tracy,

        Eso mismo te iva decir…quitaste la mancha, pero hiciste mierda la camisa. LOL

        Pero la piedra tuya la trajiste de recuerdo de la playa, no especificamente para lavar como la que trae la gente que yo conozco….LOL

  11. Hahaha. Very funny!! A joke in Spanglish:
    Un zorro inglés y un perro argentino corren por el campo. Ninguno ve al otro, entonces chocan violentamente.
    El zorro se levanta, verifica que su cola no esté muy despeinada y dice: “I’m sorry”
    El perro se sacude la tierra, se soba la cabeza y responde: “I’m perry”.
    Hope you like it!

  12. My Colombian husband uses a variant of this…”foquear” is to sleep, or nap. Freaks me out every time he says he’s going to foquear!!

  13. “mother foca” hahahahaha en mi vida me he reido tanto! lol
    on another note, I love Zote, it leaves the clothes super clean and reminds me of my abuelita. She always uses it to wash her clothes and I’ve washed mine with it just to have “her” smell :)

  14. Oh FOCA!! That was funny!! I’ve never seen that brand before. I think it’s time I took a little trip to my local Latin Market. ;)

  15. Be careful that your bag does not say “Phosphate Free”, that’s the weakened americanized version..Been seeing it a lot more here, even walmart is selling this version that doesnt work. Roma is another one, and there’s even a USA version of Ariel that doesnt work also.

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