No pictures today but a nice story to tell instead. I had planned or more accurately I guess Lupita had planned to meet me at the Puerto Viejo for lunch on her only day off, yesterday, Sunday. We figured we would be watching the Daytona 500. No such luck, rain delays, etc we never saw any Nascar, Fox Mexico showed some of the closing ceremonies from the Olympics instead. So my friend Lee who had walked down to the bar with me left and I waited alone for Lupita.
She arrived and I think was quite surprised to find me there alone and likely wondered if she had been or was being set up. In any case we went to lunch as planned at the Copa de Leche where I know they have wifi in case I had to use my cell phone to translate anything. We sit down and the first thing she asks is “do, you have a wife?” ..”yes but I hope that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends” I explained that my wife knows I have met her and is happy I have a friend willing to speak Spanish to me, no secrets, honesty. That seemed to satisfy her, at least she never ran away and we proceeded to have lunch. She seemed a little nervous at first but got over it slowly. (This is all done by way of my iphone translator of course, that amount of Spanish is way over my head)
Immediately after that, the wifi failed, apparently all over town, and no more electronic translation was available. Probably the best thing that could have possibly happened. Now we had to talk. Well, either that or sit there in uncomfortable silence. So, we struggled through, and it was a struggle at first. Lupita has about 4 or 5 words of English and my conversational Spanish is really really basic. My verbs don’t get conjugated, my pronouns are a mess, but I do have some words and a willingness to try and communicate and most luckily Lupita has a willingness the bear with me through it all.
I explained I am like a baby learning Spanish and we started off by my asking her the Spanish word for fork, spoon, plate, table, whatever was at hand. I would use a Spanish Phrasebook I had, to ask a few questions. It all worked out OK. Lupita soon learned to use the phrasebook too to show me a word I didn’t understand.
After lunch I wanted to show Lupita the view (buena vista) from the top of the Freeman Hotel. It is stunning and I really doubted she had ever been up to their rooftop deck. We got up there and her jaw dropped. She had never seen her own city from that perspective. (I gotta tell you it is one absolutely outstanding view) She had never seen this beautiful view in her life and was stunned at the beauty of her own city. I think she began to see it through the eyes of us visitors.
It occurred to me, since we could see so much to start pointing out anything I could see and knew both the English and Spanish words for and tell her the English. Worked like a charm. We saw the Sea, the seawall, cars, trucks, streets, roads, buildings, patios, palm trees, on and on and then I started asking words for things I didn’t know in Spanish. It was great. She says to me, Esta divertido! It’s fun! It was fun!
So to make a long story short, maybe it’s too late for that. I had a great afternoon with Lupita. I learned a lot of Spanish, she heard a lot of English, she corrected my grammar in a lot of cases, and I learned a few things. She got a start on the English she wants so badly to learn. It was all good. Mutually beneficial and fun. She told my friend Sandra, my bilingual friend from Costa Rica who introduced me to Lupita, she had fun and would like to do it again. Great!
It was travel at its absolute best. Meeting a really nice person, both learning a new language, and having fun. I couldn’t have imagined the afternoon working out any better.