02 February, 2009

Castellano only please!

"SPEAK SPANISH," the man seated in front of us demanded! As my friend and I were the only English speakers on the bus, it was very obvious that the indignant man was speaking to us.

We're were not speaking loudly by any measure, especially with the bus engine roaring and the traffic flying past us. Nonetheless, my friend and I lowered our voices and tried to take the man's concerns in mind.

Once again he turned around and let loose another volley of demands. Now - in my amateurish stage, my ability to understand rapidly-spoken Spanish is poor. Further, it was only 17hr00 and the man smelled heavily of alcohol. Between the pace of his speech and the slurring, I understood very few of his insults. Nevertheless, I got the point.

I understand where he is coming from. I am a visitor to Argentina and I should respect the local language and customs. As Americans, we demand the same of visitors to the United States.

But I am trying. I have been to Spanish school, hired a tutor, and sought out language exchange partners to make Porteño friends and practice my Spanish as much as possible. But it takes time and I've only been here for three weeks.

5 comments:

homo_superior said...

Sounds like an asshole to me. So far I haven't met anyone even a third as aggressive. It was worse in Czech Republic, where it was a common attitude, even among the non-drunk.

I would hate to have him treated like that in America, where in my neighborhood, at least half the folks spoke Spanish anyway.

Sounds like somebody with an inferiority complex, and not a little xenophobia.

Baino said...

Aww, I think you were unlucky. When Clare was in South America (admittedly she didn't go to Argentina) she WANTED to speak Spanish but they spoke so fast, they lost patience and reverted to English because it was easier! You'll get there!

TrUlster said...

Yeah, uncommon for BsAs for sure. BTW shoot an email to trulster at the gmail company.

homo_superior said...

Meanwhile an American attacks a group of Russian for speaking Russian: http://tinyurl.com/cl9g28

TCL said...

@ homo_superior - I know it's the exception and not the rule here in BsAs. Porteños for the most part have been nothing but friendly.

@ Baino and Trulster - unlucky and uncommon indeed.

@ homo_superior - f&%$@ hell.