It’s me again buddy. I’m still wandering around the streets of Buenos Aires with the camera over my shoulder. The more time I spend in the streets here the more I get to thinking about you and how you would manage if you ever came this far south.
I remember that time you took the Missus and went off to visit your cousin in New York City. I laugh every time I think of the tales you told about not being able to understand what “them city folks” were saying.
Well Homer, you need to come here and see how you get along with your redneck English in this land where very few people fluent English.
I’ll give you some pointers.
First, it’s usually ok to mime what you’re asking. For example, if you’re asking someone “What time is it?”, point at your wrist and they’ll understand. However, it’s considered rude if you point to your crotch when you ask where the bathroom is.
If you see someone smoking a cigarette on the street and point to the cigarette in their hand, then point to yourself and make a smoking gesture with two fingers, you’ll usually end up making a new friend and getting that smoke you wanted.
Sometimes though Homer, miming just won’t work, so you need to learn, “Yo no hablo español”. If you say that with a smile, whoever you’re talking to will know you’re not from around here and usually will be understanding and help you out.
In the meantime, there’s some common phrases that you might want to learn before you travel south of the equator. Most people will find these helpful Homer, but with your country accent, I’m not sure anything would help; but I’ll try.
Do you speak English? ¿Hablas Inglés?
Do you speak Spanish? ¿Habla usted español?
Where is Madonna? ¿Dónde está Madonna?
Where is the men’s room? ¿Dónde está el baño de hombres?
Where is the ladies room? ¿Dónde está la habitación de las chicas?
Where is the doctor’s office? ¿Dónde está la oficina del médico?
Spare change? Repuesto cambio?
Are you married? ¿Está usted casado?
Homer, I’m not sure you really need to learn this last one. But a friend of mine on Facebook suggested I include it in the list, so there it is.
OK buddy. I need to be going now. Tell the missus I said hello and I hope you folks have a great week there in Bent Fork.
Your friend, still lost in the barrios in Buenos Aires
- Letters to Homer: The Buenos Aires Bus System (journeyamerica.wordpress.com)
- Letters to Homer: Some Challenges in Argentina (journeyamerica.wordpress.com)
- Letters to Homer: Safety in Argentina, Part I (journeyamerica.wordpress.com)
- Letters to Homer: Safety in Argentina, Pt II (journeyamerica.wordpress.com)
- Survival Spanish phrases for travellers to handle 8 basic situations (practicalspanish.wordpress.com)