Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Spanish Lesson #2

I feel lazy to do nothing. Even the dogs are sleeping in the middle of the street in the heat of the day under the shade of the palms. Its funny to see, they don't even lift their head sometimes as golf carts and bicycles swerve to avoid them.

To break up the monotony of magga season we took a little trip to civilization (Chetumal Mexico) to go to the Mall Las Americanas, eat McDonalds, see a movie dubbed in Spanish (Nacho Libre) and shop in Chedraui which is the Mexican equivalent of Kmart, Target or Walmart. After shopping (marveling over this and that, that is totally unavailable in Belize) and walking around in air conditioned comfort we head off to the little hotel right across from the Nuevo Mercado which is the open air market complete with a chicharrone stand. For $25 U.S. we get a double room, with cable TV, private bath, hot & cold water and air conditioning. We rest up and then head out for dinner at El Buen Gusto.

Bigness: Order for me, I have to use the bathroom.

We've been to this family run restaurant in Chetumal Mexico before, so I know what to order. If you want to order the soup you have to ask for calderon and not sopa. If you ask for sopa they will misunderstand my Spanglish and bring me some very nice thick corn tortillas with shredded chicken, cheese, tomato and cream poured on top, when what you wanted was chicken broth with a plate of chopped onion, cilantro, peppers and tortilla chips on the side to add to the broth.

Supergirl and UNBaby were with us. Supergirl makes a lame attempt at reading the Spanish menu and when the sweet little Spanish girl came to the table, I decided to be mean.

Me: Order what you want.

Supergirl: uhh... (mouth opens and closes, eyes squint then open real wide like if she did this it would all of the sudden appear in English)

Me: Stop acting like you don't speak Spanish (this is what I hear from Bigness every time we go to Mexico)

Supergirl: MOTHER... I DON'T speak Spanish. (I know when she addresses me as MOTHER, she's irritated)

All this time the sweet Spanish girl is just watching the exchange, waiting patiently for Spanish words that she can understand, and UNBaby is hiding under the table untying her mother's shoes.

Me: What's the Spanish word for tacos?

Supergirl: Tacos?

Me: Right!

The little girl starts to write.

Me: Now how many do you want?

Supergirl: Four?

Me: And what is the word for four in Spanish?

Supergirl: Quatro?

The little girl writes again, then looks at me.

Quisiera Dos tortas con el jamón y el queso (I would like 2 ham and cheese sandwiches on a bun heated on the grill)

Me: ...Y Quatro Salbutes (and four little corn tortillas that are fried and puffy, then they put shredded chicken, cheese, and tomatoes on top)

Me: ...Y Tres pollo calderones (and 3 bowls of chicken soup)

The little girl reads back the order and quantities and at the end of the sentence it ends with an upside down question mark.

Me: Está para mi esposa (I just told her the food was for my wife)

The little girl's eyebrows go WAY up and she tries to not laugh

(IT GETS WORSE) Then realizing my mistake I try to correct myself
Me: Soy embarazado está para mi esposo (I just told her I am pregnant and its for my husband)

The waitress cracks up out loud and goes off to the kitchen to put in the order for this massive quantity of food.

Me: I'm glad someone thinks I'm funny... (I'm wondering if its something I said...)

I know I've made some sort of word mistake, but have no clue and am not going to dig myself in deeper. I should have said "me desconciertan" which means I am embarrassed, but I didn't realize my mistake until days later. See... this is my punishment for being mean.

Bigness came back to the table just as the first round of plates is arriving and prepares himself for the feast. Reviewing the order with me he comments "Gial you order too much food."

Me: I know how you like to eat too much (and he DID eat it all)

The bill for the whole dinner including fresh juice to drink came out to $15 U.S.


Miguel del Vailongo said...

Hola, por lo visto si le "agarras" al español, es que me es difícil escribir en inglés.
Pues estoy buscando blogs de estadounidenses que hayan visitado Chetumal (si, soy chetumaleño), y el tuyo me pareció muy interesante, lo estaré revisando.


Rainypete said...

Apparently I'm eating in the wrong places. That would have probably et you back about $30.00 in these parts (or maybe more).

Caribbean Colors said...

Los saludos Miguel de Chetumal vamos a Chetumal alrededor una vez al mes para las compras y para un gusto de la civilización. Gozo el venir a Chetumal, pero no quisiera vivir allí.
Buena suerte en encontrar blogs. Usted puede traducir de español a inglés en el Internet en

Kat Campbell said...

That is too funny! And you're right, being mean always comes back at ya.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Did Supergirl find out your mistake? If she didn't you could've brazened it out.

hahaha...so much for being 'embarrassed.'

Ale said...

thats funny!

when i worked in italy at this cafe i used to pretend i dont speak english just to watch people TRY to speak in italian :))) love it!!!

Anonymous said...

Just for future, you will need to ask the waitress for 'caldo' not caldero lol. Ah! the things we learn everyday.

Patry Francis said...

Great dinner, great price, great post. I leave satisfied!

DCveR said...

That "pregnant" thingy happens a lot to Portuguese people trying to speak Spanish too. I just wonder... what if the little girl understands a little English? That would make it even funnier.

Hayden said...

ohhhh.....now I'm so HUNGRY! yum!

cream said...

A pregnant pause!!! Hilarious!
Too much food for $15! And no waste!

Caribbean Colors said...

I'm back after a long pregnant pause. I didn't intend on being gone so long, but it just happened that way.... more later.

Rudy Girón said...

Caribbean colors, don't they speak Spanish in Belize? I thought most of the population was from either Mexican or Guatemalan descend.