I love it when an attempt is made to use our high school Spanish. Most of the time, it falls very, very flat.
A few years ago, we were in Uruguay – we are going there again in a year. We were introduced to a fantastic restaurant in Montevideo, the capitol of Uruguay. We figured the place out on the second visit: Just order a single steak, and a nice bottle of the local wine. The steak was a piece of filet the size of a softball, and the bottle of wine a fantastic local red. Plenty to split. The bill, including what we have been told was an obnoxious American tip of around 50%, about $11. So, the 4 of us hopped into a taxi from our hotel downtown, and Charles said “I’ve got the directions in Spanish and I know EXACTLY how to get there!” To the driver: “Dos blockies righto and tres blockies lefto.” Twenty minutes later, the cab driver returns us to our hotel, and restarts the meter.
As I’ve recalled earlier, my first job out of college was for a steel company in Houston. It was a steel plant, right on the Houston Ship Channel. We would regularly get visits from people looking for a job. Our receptionist spoke no Spanish, and she had to constantly run people off looking for a job. Let’s just face it, she didn’t get the job for her smarts. One day a group of us headed out to lunch, and she asked Arturo if he could make her a sign for the front door, saying that we didn’t have any jobs available, in Spanish. Arturo said “hang on guys, this will take just a minute.” A few minutes later, Arturo joined us for lunch. By the time we got back, she had put a new sign on the front door of the office: “No el helpo needo”. Good one Arturo!