It’s a simple enough issue.
At several points during the day, I will be on the hunt for the (ban-YOS) banos.
Repeat after me….(Senor, donde estan los banos?)
If I can’t find anyone to ask, I will wander toward the back of the cafe/gas station/coffee shop/restaurant. I will bypass the door that says (OHM-breys) hombres. I also won’t go to the one marked (CAH-ba-YEROS) caballeros.
After all, I have a smattering of Spanglish! You can ask Kevin about my great language ability (though he’ll probably just tell you that he is a saint because he has to listen as I steadily & slowly pronounce signs like a babbling five-year old excited by her ability to sound out syllables).
Back to those banos.
I’ll be looking for the door marked (Moo-HAIR-ess) mujeres or maybe the one that says (DAHM-mass) damas. At the very least, I’m hopeful that I’ll see the silhouette of a curvacious woman wearing a starched-skirt dress from the fifties.
Recently, in the dimly-lit back room of a restaurant, the only door I found was a funny Alice-in-Wonderland-narrow-door with a tiny brass sign.
Now. A little more context might be required…during this month in Mexico, I have opened doors to find janitorial closets, mechanical storage and any number of randomly placed oddments that did NOT include a toilet or did indeed, include all of the aforementioned, AND a toilet…I’m telling you this so that you know I don’t just go grabbing doors willy-nilly.
Instead, I am the gringa standing in front of door numero (1!) uno, (2!) dos o (3!) tres, carefully considering her options, never quite sure what I’m about to find.
So. I stared at that shadowy-brass sign again. I sounded it out carefully…(lahh-DEEE-ess). I cast about in my rather-limited Spanish vocabulary for the meaning of this new word.
Nada. Nyet. Rien. Nothing. Clearly I’d exhausted my brain’s entire language larder.
I said it out loud again…(Lahh-DEEE-ess).
And then I started laughing.
I was still laughing while I washed my hands and I was laughing even harder when I rejoined Kevin at our table.
Maybe it’s time for some real Spanish lessons.
Or maybe just an English refresher course?