25 March 2009

South Texas Vacation Notes

1. My friend says, "Let's go get some breakfast tacos!" He means to take me here:

2. My untrained, picked-up-here-and-there Spanish does fine here when it comes to ordering two different types of tacos and it even works when I have to make a substitution because they ran out of chorizo.

3. Later on the same day, said Spanish (in)competency does not cut the mustard when I have to run into a gas station after the radiator hose on my friend's custom-built Shelby Cobra blows off. No problem getting water, but the phrase "large flathead screwdriver" proves a little more difficult. Help comes in the form of a bilingual man wielding three tall Budweisers, Clamato and lime-flavoring packets.

4. When wandering around the local public university in search of an air hockey table, I see this sign in the middle of a fountain. I am told not to be surprised.

5. It is not uncommon for buildings to get in the way of cars in South Texas.


Jim Sligh said...

I think "large, flat-headed screwdriver" would stump me, too, and I tell people I speak Spanish - but I don't have to deal with a lot of broken machinery in Andalucía.

A friend mailed me Season 5 of THE WIRE for my birthday, and for kicks I'm watching it with the Spanish subtitles on. Knowing Mexican Spanish and Andaluz are different is not the same thing as seeing it (DVD was subtitled in the States).

All the profanity's completely wrong, the colloquial language is unrecognizable (I mean, even by subtitle standards). "Ustedes" really trips me up, especially when it shows up underneath Snoop saying "all you motherfuckers."

You get used to vosotros out here.

I miss the concept of breakfast tacos. (Aren't they "breakfast burritos" anywhere else but Texas?)

Buster said...

1. The bad subtitling is better than bad dubbing, when the original bleeds through under the lacking translations. In Russian, every juicy American swear tends to turn into "chert!" (damn!). It's a pity.

2. Yeah, the breakfast taco was, to my mind, remarkably burrito-like. To make things more confusing, most locals were calling them taquitos, which makes me think of the little fried things and not some egg and meat rolled up with salsa in warmed flour tortillas.

3. The real culinary find of the trip wasn't the breakfast taco, however, but fresh, spicy Gulf shrimp with lime.