Mar 24 2008

Un Poco De Español. MUY poco.

Published by at 7:18 am under Ecuadorian Highlands,South America

A lot of the trip in South America, we’ve been around English-speaking guides, but in Ecuador we’ve had some opportunities to use the Spanish we learned from reading the Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook we picked up at the airport on the way here (Dave took German in school, I took Latin, and I’ve had a little bit of Italian in the past, so we are serious gringos here).

Given the low standards set when buying a phrasebook right before arriving to Ecuador (we bought it after the Patagonia part of the trip), I have been feeling pretty accomplished with my use of Español. I am really comfortable ordering food and drinks, telling taxi drivers where to take us, and I was able to bargain at the market we went to on our own (though not as well as the Ecuadorians, obviously. Apparently, after soccer, bargaining is the national sport). Our Patagonian guide Irene would attest to the fact that this is incredible progress given my limitations in Patagonia, where I pretty much knew how to say “Gracias” and “Donde estan los banos?”

Unfortunately, I’ve had two blows to my Ego Español in Ecuador. The first was that it took about 20 minutes and an English-speaking manager to tell the hotel that one of my T-shirts was missing when the laundry came back (don’t worry, they found it the next day!). The second blow happened yesterday when we were picked up by a driver from our hotel in the highlands to return to our hotel in Quito. Our driver spoke no English. It’s an hour and a half drive. It was a pretty quiet drive. And we had a few misunderstandings along the way.

Guess I should stick to food and drinks if I want to keep believing that I’m pretty good at this Spanish thing.

– Meredith

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