TIMES I HAVE EMBARRASSED MYSELF BY TRYING TO SPEAK SPANISH DURING MY FIRST 24 HOURS IN MEXICO CITY
I am shiny and dumb, and I'm here for five more days
- •at customsthe customs agent says, "how many days are you in Mexico City?" I say, "six." then I say, "seis." he has serious second thoughts about allowing me into his country
- •ordering tacosI place my order, un bistek y dos pastor. the dos becomes tres somehow, which is fine -- more tacos! what I am not prepared for is how quickly the man tells me what it costs. panicked, I hand him a 200 peso note. it was 54 pesos. I go linger by the pastor spit in shame
- •getting coffee in Mercado Roma"café con leche, por favor," I say to the girl making coffee. she says something that I don't catch at all. my Spanish-speaking friend Gustavo says, "she's asking what kind of milk." I ask him how to say "whole." he has no idea. I look at the girl with a face of pure terror. "regular?" I say. I pronounce it "reg-oo-lar." she pities me. I drink my coffee
- •ordering mezcal"how do I ask for the woodsmoky one?" I say out loud, to other humans
- •speaking to our waiter in a nice restaurantGustavo's at the bar closing our tab. the waiter approaches and starts speaking rapid-fire Spanish. I catch that he's asking if we are waiting on a fourth. "si," I say, "our uh, nuestros amigo, uh, esta a la, ahhh, he's over there." I point. the waiter says, "all right all right all right"