Yesterday, Randall spent the morning securing a starting battery, a new water pump and a couple of through-hulls we needed. He got back to the boat and realized that the battery did not have enough connection points to work for our starting battery. He sent Jake to return the battery while he got started on the water pump installation. We have found that the bar, restaurant and hotel staff all typically know enough English to get by in a conversation with a one-language gringo. However, outside that circle of people, you need some Spanish to get by even at the grocery store and marine chandlery. Jake copied a few phrases he might need to accomplish a product return. He came back and reported that it all went fine until it came down to what amounted to the clerk’s desire to know if he wanted cash or to exchange the battery. Jake thought he was getting the gist of the question but was not really getting the deal finalized. Finally, another customer stopped at the desk to serve as translator and it went smoothly from there. How nice!
Lily, too, made her first foray into Spanish-speaking by asking a waiter, “Donde esta el banjo?” The waiter easily understood her request and responded, thankfully, in English “left, right, second door.” We have eaten at several street taco vendors but this was our first dinner out at a nicer restaurant. All the downtown restaurants have a “street hawker” posted outside to draw in the customers. They call out their specials, compliment you on your beautiful children and boast about their chef’s unparalleled cooking ability. Randall said he was going to get a table at a restaurant that did not try to pressure you into dining there. But, alas, we were all pulled in by an especially animated, friendly gentlemen who begged us to stop at his carefully prepared seafood display under a glass counter at the entrance. He was quite funny and we shortly found ourselves at one of his tables after he crowed loudly and announced we were to have free chicken soup to start off our meal. He continue to entertain every potential diner at the front but took several quick side trips back to our table to demonstrate his plate spinning ability and make sure we were as happy as at all possible with our decision to eat there. We got the check and he rushed over, shouting, “Oh no, oh no, let me take care of this!” He then got out his lighter, light the bill and let it burn a second or two. Of course, he put it out without real damage and handed it back sorrowfully explaining he could not. We all agreed that we got to see someone enjoy his work.
Jake and Lily are not the only ones throwing around Spanish words. I try to acquire a few words every day. On this note, I am a little sad that we will be leaving the marina this week since I have found myself an extremely handsome Spanish tutor. Ah yes, I have your attention now. Ok, he is not really my Spanish tutor but he keeps turning up at the pool, at the boat next to us and at the end of the dock with his fishing pole. He has shown Lily where the eel lives and how to pop out the eyes of pinfish so the pinfish eyeball won’t float the fish up when used for bait. While Lily follows him around discovering local curiosities, I am close behind saying things like “Barlito, how do you say “eel” in Spanish.” (eel=morena) “Barlito, how do you say dirty in Spanish?” (dirty=sucio) “Barlito, what was the lady just asking you about your fish?” Barlito always supplies the Spanish words/phrases and patiently repeats words until I come close to the right pronunciation. Eight-year-olds are so patient with slow adults! I will now always be on the lookout for kids willing to tutor me in Spanish.
Randall and Jake went to Cancun today to finalize the entry paperwork. Lily and I are spending her birthday drawing, swimming, reading and waiting for Barlito to emerge with some fascinating bit of Mexican nature.