During a recent dinner in El Calafate in Argentina, I realized that this idea of ‘faking it’ isn’t as hard as I had once thought. After being in Spanish speaking countries for the last 2 months – I had picked up some words – mainly niceties such as please, thank you, hello, goodbye, excuse me, and some menu words.
I ordered a hamburger and draft beer by pointing and sounding out the words on the menu – however the pointing was really all that was necessary. The waitress took my order and asked me something in Spanish without really looking up from her notepad. I realize that in that sentence I heard the word frita which basically sounds like the word “fries” and in the context of the situation in which I ordered a hamburger I put it all together and quickly realize that she’s asking if I want fries with my burger. I answer “si” without really skipping a beat in the ‘conversation’. She scribbles on the pad and walks away.
About 15 minutes later she brings the food and says something again. I assume that she’s asking me if I want anything else with the meal because that’s the typical way a conversation like this would go. I answer “no” and smile. She walks away once again.
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