I just returned from a wonderful two week vaccation in Spain and Morocco. According to the "why are you reading this blog?" pole (which is still open so if you haven't voted yet there is still time), there are more people reading this blog that are interested in dyslexia than to little old me. So I'll try to skew my vaccation recap to look like a discussion about literacy.
Let's get something clear. I can bearly speak English, and am totally hopeless when it comes to learning foreign languages. It's not that I think English is better than other languages, or that I want to be insulting to people of other cultures by refusing to learn their language. I'm just not very good at it. So most of my attempts at forieng comunication fail.
I still love traveling. Everytime I go somewhere I come home wishing I had the means and time to travel more. And these past two weeks in Spain and Morocco have been marvelous - even if I didn't know how to talke to anyone.
Spain wasn't to bad. I took Spanish in highschool. That doesn't mean I can speak it, but I at least know how to ask people "donde esta el bano?" and if I'm really lucky and they answer with lots of pointing I can even compreheand their answers. My husband also studied Spanish in HS and my father in law is nearly fluent. So when my one linguisted limitation reared its nasty head, there was usually someone else around to help me out.
So why is it that I accedentily ordered an Octopus Omlette on day for lunch in Madrid? Nothings more appetising than a mouth full of tenticles in the morning. Other than my inability to read the menus, I didn't have much trouble in Spain.
Things were more complicated in Morocco. There people speak Arabic, and reading that is so far beyond my capabilities there really isn't even a reason to try. Before Morocco became an indipendent nation, it was a French colony, so the western language people speak there is French. I know three words in French, thank you, yes, and no. That and sign language was my only defence in navegating through the exciting city of Mereckesh.
My sister in law did study abroad in Paris while in college, so she managed to searve as a translator when we did inportant things like purchase train tickets. When we were lucky enough to find restarants with French menus she helped out there too. I am happy to say I didn't eat a single octobus while in Morocco, and you can't really go wrong with a lamb kabab.
The market venders in Morocco did display the most amazing ligusitic capablities I've ever witnessed. Nobody can claim that the people in the developing world aren't inteligent. And it doesn't matter where you're from or what language you speak, the vendors in the Mereckesh Souks can sell you their goods.
Anytime a westerner walked by one of their stalls they would hollor out a greating in French. If you don't respond, they'll pop into English, the Spanish, German, ect, spouting greatings in every language under the sun. My brother in law speaks Russian. Just for kicks he did all his barganing in one stall in Russian, claiming to be from St Petersburg. The vendor had no probles selling his items.
We may have better roads and cleaner drinking wather than they have in Morocco. But I've lived in the United States for 30 years and I can bearly read English. Yet there are hundreds of intellegent Moroccans that have found a way to make a living and support their families by learing how to say "Do you like this scarf? I'll give you a good price," in more than a dozen languages.
Joke of the Day
An American traveling in Spain stopped at a local restarant for dinner. While sipping his sangaria, he noticed a sizzling, scrumptions looking platter being served at the next table. Not only did it look good, it smelled wonderful. He asked the waiter, "What is that you just served?"
The waiter replied, "Ah senoir, you have excellent taste. Those are bull testicles from the bull fight this morning. A delicacy."
The American shrugged his shoulders. "What the hell, I'm on vacation. Bring me an order."
The waiter shook his head, "I'm sorry senor. There is only one serving per day because there is only one bull fight each morning. If you come early tomorrow andd place your order, we will be sure to save you this delicacy."
The next morning, the American returned to place his order. That evening he was served the delicacy of the day. The meal was delicous and he enjoyed every bite, but he finished far sooner than he would have liked. He called the waiter over. "This was wonderful, but much smaller than the plate I saw you serve yesterday."
"Si senor. Sometimes the bull wins."