Can You Tell Me How To Get...
Enero 30 -
It's pretty incredible that we've been able to get as far as we have in Mexico on good
Seriously. Everywhere we go, we just smile and point, and people seem
to understand what we're getting at: food, bathroom, gas, highway directions. True,
knowing Spanish, or at least a small portion of it, might have been a keen asset to
have coming into the country, but we don't think that far ahead.
Occasionally we find ourselves in a situation where one simple word would solve any
confusion. Words like "south", or "left", or the number "fifteen", for example.
Every so often, I see a sign or hear a word that triggers a childhood memory. A word
like "abierto". Abierto, abierto... where do I know that from? Then a gruff voice
in my mind says "cerado!"
The answer arrives in the mental image of a cartoon box: open... closed. It's then that
I come to the realization that any Spanish I knew before yesterday was learned from
That's it! Thanks to Luis and Maria, owners of the Fix-it Shop next to Hooper's Store,
I was given a basic education in Spanish. As long as the price of anything isn't over
ten, I wouldn't have any problems. Ocho pesos? No problemo. Tresa pesos? What the
hell is "tresa"? I'll just hand over a hundred and hope she has change.
Rules of the Road
1. Go as fast as you like. The speed limit is only a suggestion.
2. Pass whomever you like, whenever you like. Pass on a double line on a cliff between a bus and a chicken truck. They'll make room.
3. If you're behind a bus or chicken truck on a twisty road, and they put their left signal on, they're telling you it's safe to pass.
4. Wave "thank you" with the back of your hand, not the front. I don't know what the front means, but they don't like it.
5. Slow down, and I mean slow down, for "topes" and "vibradores". Trust me.
So what have I learned since? We can start with the road signs. No tire basura means
"Don't throw trash". A fine message in theory, though widely ignored. Transito Lento,
Carril Derecho was another easy one to figure out: "Slower traffic, Right lane".
The word Carril gave me enough to transfer knowledge to Carril Izquierdo Solo
Para Rebasar, which I assume is "Left lane only for passing". Not bad for two days,
Incidentally, how did a simple word like "left" end up being "izquierdo" in another
language? Everywhere else it's simple... left/right, gauche/droite, links/recht...
That sign at the top, though: No deje piedras sobre el pavimento. They gave me
nothing to start from, except maybe "pavement". My best guess was "don't walk on the
pavement", getting walk from pied, the French word for feet. It seemed like good
advice, not to walk on the road, considering the driving habits here.
But no. I learned later that it meant "Don't leave your stones on the road". Apparently,
when a car breaks down around here, and they want to alert you of its presense in a
lane of traffic, they'll place large, sharp, tire-popping, chassis-denting stones in that
lane, so you'll have the good sense to change in time. All they ask is that when you've
fixed your car, you go back and remove the stones. A reasonable request.
Thinking back, I'm not sure I remember Sesame Street teaching more Spanish than the basic one-to-ten,
and the abierto/cerado sketch. They sure as heck didn't teach left and right; I'm
sure I would have remembered hearing Maria say "izquierdo". In fact, a lot of the
stuff we've been running into, like the road signs, don't have any words that come
close to anything I learned on Sesame Street. Although, I suppose the show wasn't
intended for those of the consenting age to drive a motor vehicle.
We made it! We pulled into the Cinepolis 16 parking lot after dark, met my parents under the Elektra sign, and
that was that. No more night driving for me!
|D'yuna: ||Hotel Room|
|Comida: ||On the Road|
|K's Order:||Pemex Burrito|
|A's Order:||Pemex Burrito, Rice|
|Cena: ||Jésus Romero Flores #115|
|All:||Seafood Jambalaya in Tortillas|