Since our arrival in Sevilla in July, Jerry and I have said some funny things in Spanish — while not intending to say some funny things in Spanish (remember when I said cojones — anatomical balls — instead of cajas — cardboard boxes). And Margarita has misunderstood some of what we’ve said (remember when she thought we were saying Jerry was from Santacoda as opposed to South Dakota, and then tried to find Santacoda on a map).
But the “lost in translation” flub that now has me laughing is one I heard Friday night at a wonderful dinner arranged by Albert and Lola, when we met Manuela, Alejandro, and Alejandro’s sister Pastori.
Alejandro knows only a few words of English and he told his story of going to New York some years ago. He was in Midtown Manhattan and wanted to visit Chinatown. The extent of his English at the time was, I think, “excuse me,” “hello,” and possibly “thank you.” Alejandro is not shy. He figured if he simply hailed a cab and then said to the cab driver, “Excuse me, Chinatown,” the driver would understand and get him there.
The New York cabby did a double-take when this burly, well-dressed man jumped into the back seat and announced in a rich basso voice “Kiss me, Cheenatown!”