Friday, June 6, 2008

Why does he laugh?

Today I am trying to finalize the last of our plans for the Argentina/Chile vacation, since we are departing (holy cow!) next Friday. All the major stuff has been done for a few weeks now. We bought our airline tickets to Buenos Aires and then onto Santiago. I've booked 4 nights at a B&B in San Telmo, Buenos Aires and 5 nights at a B&B in Providencia, Santiago. We chose to go the Bed and Breakfast route based off of some awesome reviews I read, the really reasonable rates, and the thought that we could get lots of advice from locals this way. I tend to be a little un-trusting of the concierge desk in tourist towns since they often only suggest the expensive tourist-catering restaurants, tours, etc. I'm hoping for a little more of a local feel to our travels, and hopefully this route is going to serve us well!

As the designated travel agent in this relationship these days (given my intimate relationship with my computer and the fact that I am not working 12+ hour days unlike the other half of this union), I have been reading travel journals, forums, and getting all the advice I can on what is "must-see/must-do" for both of these locations. I could always use more advice though, so feel free to share your ideas in the comments section! We are trying not to plan our days out too much though, because we really want to talk with our hosts once we get there, run our thoughts past them, and then see what they have to recommend as well.

My final must-do task for the trip was to book a room for our final night. I ended up finding really cheap tickets round trip from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires, so then we bought another round trip ticket from BA to Santiago. We get back to BA at 7:00 pm into the regional airport and then catch our flight to Brasil out of the international airport the next morning at 10:00. I've been trying to find a hotel close by the international airport so we don't have to get up super early and battle rush hour traffic on a Tuesday morning. I hadn't had much luck finding anything nearby until today when I discovered a pousada that is just minutes from the airport and offers a shuttle service. Score! I checked their website and their prices were good, so I decided to drop them an email and try to reserve a room for the night. The tricky thing is, it is in Argentina. And their website didn't advertise anything about speaking English. And I really hate to be all American-like and assume everyone else in the world is supposed to be able to speak my native tongue. So anyway, I talked to Eric a little while ago, and our conversation went something like this . . .

(After some conversation regarding the plans for this evening, etc.)

Me: Oh yeah and also I found a pousada that is really close to the international airport and they offer a shuttle service and it's just $80 for the night. (I know, run-on sentences and no commas, but I usually speak this way when I get excited.)

Eric: Sounds good. Especially the shuttle. Do they have a room available?

Me: I emailed them to find out . . . in Spanish.

Eric: (Laughter)

Me: (Totally offended) Whaaaaat?

Eric: (Still laughing) How'd you do that?

Now, I don't know what would lead my husband to think that I couldn't handle making a simple reservation request in Spanish. I mean, I used to work with lots of guys from El Salvador when I was in college in Georgia. I picked up a few things here and there. Of course, there was that stopover in Mexico back in December when for the life of me I couldn't quit saying "Bom dia", "Boa noite", and "Obrigada" to everyone. (You Spanish speakers having a hard time understanding what I'm saying yet?) And then there was that event that occurred a few weeks ago when I called a B&B in Santiago that hadn't responded to my email. Their website advertised that they spoke English, but, because you never know who is going to answer the phone, I decided to say hello in Spanish and ask if they spoke English before being my American self and assuming they must. That conversation went something like this:

Friendly Lady: (Identifies the name of the establishment and says some other stuff in Spanish that I couldn't be bothered with trying to figure out.)

Me: (Inhales in preparation to start speaking a little Spanish. And then panic stricken as the only thing I can think of is "Bom dia!") Uhhhhh (Then quickly presses the end call button on Skype.)

After collecting myself and remembering the tougher, more advanced Spanish stuff like "Hola" and "¿Habla inglés?" and writing it down in front of me in case I panicked again and tried to speak Portuguese, I successfully called back, discovered she did indeed speak English, and then found out they were all booked up for our dates.

But anyway, I still don't know why my husband laughs at me when I tell him I emailed the pousada in Spanish . . .

And our 11 days in Spanish-speaking countries is going to be a blast with my fun little mix of English, Portuguese, and a little Spanish thrown in for some extra flair (assuming I remember any Spanish, that is.)


Mamasphere said...

I'm impressed!

Portuguese has totally taken over all of the Italian and Spanish I used to know (and I used to be fluent in Italian). I don't even remember the most basic things anymore.

Will you be blogging from your trip?

Emily said...

Oh, um, hmmm, I guess I somehow forgot to mention my little evil friend, Babel Fish Online Translation. Please, don't be impressed!

I am banned from bringing the laptop on vacation with me. Partially by my husband, partially by the stupid one-suitcase-with-20 kg-limit-of-checked-luggage and one-piece-of-8 kg-carry-on imposed by the airline. I don't pack light. Especially when I have to take snow bibs, etc. So, I won't have my computer. But . . . maybe if I find a computer then I might be able to check in a couple times. Otherwise, just lots of stories for after we return!

Rachel said...

spend as much time in Palermo Soho as possible. That's where I lived when I studied in BA and it is one of my favorite places in the entire world. and don't miss the feira in placa franca on the weekend.

Rachel said...

i'm forgetting spanish too omg. Feria in Spanish...i meant. (craft fair) best one ever.

Aline said...

Hey Emily,
As a Brazilian we used to say that we know "Portunhol" a mix of Portuguese and Spanish. Usually if you visit the cities in the south especially Santa Catarina you will find a lot of Argentines and we always try to communicate with them through our Portunhol :)
One more tip as i watch tv here...the travel channel...Samanta Brown made a special about the Latin America. You might want to check the special in their website.
Have a good weekend!

Lori - Blondie in Brazil said...

I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip. Those places are on our list for next year.

I have come across two blogs of (US)Americans living in Chile. We communicate a lot through our blogs and they are great girls. You might want to check out their blogs and contact them if you need some help in Santiago.

Kyle -
Emily -

colojo said...

Emily: I'm sure you love to shop so don't miss the Galerias Pacifico in Buenos Aires. Very impressive shopping center. And if you can somehow take a trip into the Andes from Santiago you won't regret it. A popular destination up there is the Portillo ski resort on the Chilean/Argentinian border, about a 3 hour drive or so out of Santiago. But now that I think of it, we went in the summer and it's winter now, so that may not be so doable. Have fun!