Friday, January 7, 2011

Billy's Turn at This

Greetings to all Cheryl's blog followers. We all have heard the saying that "Anything good is worth waiting for" right? Well, this post isn't it. When I told Cheryl that maybe I could do a "guest" blog, she jumped at the chance. OK, so maybe it took a few weeks or a little more, but here goes.
To start with, I am not a writer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn once. What I wanted to write about are some things that I have seen and/or observed in the past 6 months.
  • The People-Every single instance of my interaction with any local Mexican person has been, to say the least, a very good experience. We made friends with a couple of waiters and were taught how to ask for certain things relative to the restaurant experience. Simple stuff like a glass of water with ice, or maybe a beer. No wait, I already knew the beer one. Or, "where are the bathrooms"? Sorry that goes hand in hand with asking for a beer. But, you get the idea. People here are very helpful.
  • The Money-Two years ago, when we were here, I used to go to the local store and just hold my hand out with money in it and the cashier would take the amount needed. It's a trust thing. That has changed as I have learned the money and it wasn't really all that hard. Remember, anything to the right of the decimal point is pretty much a waste of time. (unless you have a huge amount of it) The hardest part of the money was to STOP equating with the dollar. It IS NOT a dollar, but a peso. For instance, if we went to the grocery store and spent $700.00 pesos, we used to think "Well ok, just spent $70 dollars. This thinking, while quite normal for new ex-pats, will drive you crazy. A short drive for me, so they tell me.
  • Driving-Not for the faint of heart. On and earlier trip here, we had the pleasure? of driving with a local. OMG!! (means Oh My God for anyone without teenagers) Some of the moves he pulled were quite extraordinary. "Hey, isn't this a one-way street"?I asked, "Well, I am only going one way". he replied That sort of stuff. Mostly, I drive around town and to the other towns nearby. No, not mostly, but all the time!! No worries, though, I feel safer with me driving. Oops, maybe I shouldn't let that one go. Yeah, what the heck. I am off track, a bit here. The thing about driving here is to, as they say, put the pedal to the metal and go, baby, go. When pulling out on the careterra, or main street, if you normally would wait, don't. Just do it. It is really what is expected, and that's no lie. The people on the street expect it, the guy behind you expects it. One word of advice here though, don't get into an accident. More so if you have to go to the bathroom as you will be at the scene for quite, and I mean quite, some time. I'm talking hours, maybe 4-5 hours or more. And, whatever you do, no matter what the other person in the other car tells you, NEVER, EVER move you car after an accident. Bad things will happen to you. To make this point more clearer, if that is possible, even if you have a crash on a Sun. outside a church as church is getting out, do not move your car. Really. For sure.
The Language-My favorite topic. The language learning experience can be fun if you want it to be. Or, it can be a drag. For me, its a blast. The locals are very helpful to us, much the same we would be to someone trying to learn English. I am only skimming the surface of the language so far and just beginning the tough stuff like verb conjugation. The thing I tell people, and you are people, is to keep you eyes AND ears open wherever you go, whatever you do. And please, don't try to literally translate from Spanish to English. It too, will make you crazy. There are just too many phrases that if you translate them to English will sometimes make you nuts. Ok, now for some examples. We were walking one day and some school girls passed us and were approaching other schoolgirls. As they passed one another they said "Adios" What? All the books say that adios means good-bye. True, it does. It also can be used as a greeting. Well, I'll be. Who knew? One thing that really struck me was whenever we were leaving a store or restaurant, the cashier would say "Que le vaya bien" HUH? That's not in any book I have been reading. After asking numerous people, Mexican and English speaking, here's what I found out. It sort of means "go and be well" or something like that. I asked how do I respond and was told just say "Gracias" One gardener told me its just like when we say "Have a good one" A good what?he says. That Americanism confuses the heck out of the local folks here. A blogger friend of ours once said she was sitting in her car at a red light and started to read some signs. And, she says all of sudden she started to wonder when she learned those words. It just happens. We were at a red light in front of Wal Mart and I was reading the bill board in Spanish and realized that "Wal Mart has all your Christmas needs" WOW!! One of the little things I have learned is that "v" actually is pronounced "b" . Cervezca, beer, is pronounce "Cerbeza" Same with "vaso" glass, becomes, "baso" ok,ok, I am not a Spanish teacher, however, did i tell you about my Holiday Inn stay.
I will write more later, but now it's time for a cerveza frio.

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