The joy of coming on holiday to Spain with a Spaniard is that you never really have to worry about conversations. I mean if Tibu wasn’t here, I’d make a good attempt, but think about it, if you were a Spaniard what would you rather hear; a fluent native speaker, or an Englishman making a really bad attempt? So really, my not speaking Spanish is doing everyone a favour.
The one thing that we do tend to forget though is dialect. Of course we are very familiar with different accents in English, but we aren’t quite as tuned to regional variations in other languages. We were in Antequerra the other day and Tibu was doing sterling work in asking the waiter/barman/owner (it was a very small place) about the menu. After the cleaner/chef/accountant was out of ear shot (which was a job in itself, because as I said it was a small bar, Rachel was at one end of the table and was virtually sat in the street, Tibu was sat at the other end of the table and was at the back of the bar…and there were only 7 of us!) Tibu said;
“I’m struggling to understand what he is saying. He keeps dropping letters from his words”.
Ah, lhe’s a Spanish Geordie I thought. We should have seen if Karen had a better chance of communicating with him. When we were in Ronda, we had the opposite problem. One of the few Spanish words I do speak is gracias (thank you). I also know that the c is pronounced as a “th” sound so you say “grath-e-as”. I had noticed that sometimes people put a little up inflection on “as” part, others just say it straight. However one shop assistant in Ronda had a most unique way of saying it.
Yeah, no “c” as a “th” and no little “as” but a great big arse. I think the people of Ronda are the cockneys of Spain.
The other night we went out for a meal (yeah, we left Villa Hollywood for the night. Quick update on the villa, last night we found out from the Taxi driver that the villa was once owned by a rock star, but he didn’t know who. Today we found out that it was one of the members of UB40, but we don’t know which one. That would explain why there is so much red, red wine in the place and only one in ten tiles in the pool. Sorry, I know, terrible UB40 puns there. Back to the restaurant). We had a lovely meal and there had been lots of discussion about the wine choice, the ingredients in the dishes etc. At the end of the meal the waiter (I think he was just the waiter in this case, it was a much bigger place) said to Tibu (in Spanish);
“Your Spanish is very good. You can hardly hear any accent”
“That’s because I’m Spanish” Tibu retorted.
Tibu’s problem is that because he has spent last 30 years in England, his Spanish accent has changed. It’s a bit like Karen’s family who are convinced that having lived in the North West for the past 22 years she has completely lost her accent. It all gets very confusing.
Last night we went out for another meal (yeah, another one! We booked the same two taxi drivers, Manuel and Juan. Tibu reckons that 90% of the male population of Andalusia are called either Manuel, Juan, Pepe or Antonio. Tibu is actually a really old fashioned name. It’s short for Tiburcio which is Spanish for Cedric…I think). After all the coffees that we have bought out, even dad knows the order and whilst mum, Nikki and I drink Americanos (so black) he has milk with his, so a “cafe con leche”. When it came to ordering the coffees, dad took this opportunity on the penultimate night of the holiday to show off his Spanish skills. However he forgot the first two words of his three word order and in a scene reminiscent of Father Jack in Father Ted, just shouted “LECHE!” at the poor unsuspecting waiter. Perhaps in a couple of holidays time he might have mastered all three words of his order.
Well that’s it. Once I’ve posted this I’m off to pack, and by this time tomorrow we will be sat in front of the telly saying “shall we put the heating on?” and “how come we only have 10% left on the Sky Box! Have you been recording neighbours everyday when we have been away?”
I hope you have enjoyed our adventures. Our next scheduled holiday is in September, so I’ll catch up with you all then. Have a lovely Summer. X