Here in Panamá too a lot of folks from North America also seem to think it’s just an act – that the Panamanians really speak English fluently and only do the “Spanish thing” to drive these transplants crazy. Some gringos have lived here for many years and still are unable to speak the least bit of Spanish – and when someone doesn’t understand what they are saying their solution is simple: keep speaking English, but SCREAM IT AT THEM.
Speaking of restaurants, I heard one thirsty gringo, not knowing how to ask for agua, kept screaming “Water!” at the waitress. She smiled, sure she understood at last, and took him to the men’s room. You see, the word wáter means “toilet”.
As for me, I have a strange theory, but it seems to be working out pretty well. My theory is that I am a guest in this country, and therefore I must conform myself to the country, and not the country to me: it makes more sense for one person (me) to learn Spanish than for a whole country to learn English just to accommodate that one person. According to my theory, people actually do speak Spanish all the time here, even at home when there are no gringos around, and not just to drive me nuts when they see a foreign face. Therefore, I conclude, it’s my responsibility to work hard at speaking Spanish as well as I can.
* * *
As they come to me to be written, new chapters will be added to this blog, so stay tuned! But the blogs up to a certain point are now chapters are now in a book.
So, to read more, you need the book A WRITER IN PANAMÁ.
The book is available in three formats:
HARDCOVER (large-size edition, photographs on nearly every page)
SOFTCOVER (large-size edition, photographs on nearly every page)
SOFTCOVER (smaller size edition, no interior photographs)
E-BOOK (all versions available, including Kindle and Nook, no photographs)
To browse or order, CLICK HERE!
The book is also available through Amazon (USA, Great Britain, and continental Europe) and other major book retailers.