By Eric Roberts


embarrassedIn Spain many years ago at the University of Salamanca, the waiter came around asking for drinks? I did not know any drink by name in Spanish. I quickly thought Coca Cola is Coca. What to add? Ah ha....Rum.

So I answered “Rum y Coca” I got this blank look so I repeated “Rum y Coca” Then a friend leaned over and said: “Ron y Coca” And I always thought “Ron” on the bottle was Bacardi first name.

After a long trip to Mexico, and going out to my first dinner the waiter asked: “Tomar, Señor? Stumbling for the word for beer I answered “Servicio por favor.” He pointed and said in English “It is down the hall.” My friends laughed and with a red face I said “Cerveza, por favor.”

Once in my Spanish class during a summer in Burgos, we had a guest speaker who was an Olympic champion in sailing. As we were supposed to try to converse in Spanish, I said “Tenemos en Seattle un Olympic Champion también!” Everyone laughed, as Olympic Champion mushroom wouldn’t quite do it.

On a field trip to Mexico with a group of kids taking Spanish, it was possible for a seventeen-year-old to buy beer. When we first arrived in Oaxaca, we all went out to dinner and one boy, trying to impress his girl friend, ordered: “Dos Equis, por favor.” The waiter returned and set down one cool bottle of Dos Equis. The young man lifted two fingers in the air said: “Yo quiero DOS.” He had expected two beers. Another time, we all went to the hot bathes in San Juan Cosala. When it was time for lunch, we said the hamburgers here are great. One person wanted to try out his Spanish, and we practiced on the way to hamburger stand. “Hamburguesa sin cebollas!” When it was his time to order, he confidently said: “Hamburguesa sin Huevos.” He broke the place up with laughter.

The waitress had to turn away, the cooks helper was on the floor, the cook smothered a laugh as she turned away from the food. Huevos has two meanings; eggs and in slang, testicles.

Now it is my turn. In a very nice Hotel in Mazatlán, I went to the desk to get a room. Here is the conversation.

“Habitacion por favor.”

“Would you like twin beds or a king?”

“Grande, por Favor.

“Would you like a room with a view?

“Si! Buena vista. Cuantas cuesta?”

Now my wife breaks in with: ‘He is speaking English! The desk clerk says: “Let him try; it is good practice.”

It is true if you don’t roll your RRRs in perro, all you have left is a “but.” Is that one or two tts?

For all you people trying to learn to speak Spanish (I’m included) you have to open your mouth and try. Even if you goof, you are trying! Here is a little tip on pronunciation from a Spanish teacher. Spanish vowels.

“A E I O U el burro sabe mas que Tu.

Translation: The buRRRo knows more than you.

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