Despite knowing no more than a handful of words in Spanish I have managed over the last couple of days to successfully purchase (in increasing difficulty)
- Stamps for some postcards back to the UK
- Train tickets for a day trip to Almeria
- Coach tickets through an automated ticket machine at the bus station
I would like to claim this is because of a fast mastery of the language, but it isn’t.
The stamps were got by taking my postcards to the counter, stumbling through a phrase from the phrase book and being reduced to a polite Si, when asked, in flawless English, if I wanted stamps for these three postcards back to the UK
The train tickets were purchased through the judicious use of making a note of the train times and service numbers in both directions, the date of travel and then a combination of bad stumbling through phrase book and the use of small slip of paper with aforementioned times and dates on it (along with an arrow in both directions to show that I wanted to come back as well).
The coach tickets I was most impressed with myself, as I didn’t see any English, and didn’t use the phrasebook. Instead I copied exactly what the previous three people in the queue had done and hoped.
I made it all the way to Jaén and back, with my tickets being inspected, so I either did it correctly, or got it so spectacularly wrong that everyone decided to take pity on me (and then have a dam good laugh about it later!)
So to all the people of Andalucía that I have caught up in my bumbling, apologies and thank you, and to all those Brits who wonder why they are disliked for talking slowly and loudly in English to be understood, you don’t need to. Just a bit of prime Boris Johnson bumbling and you can get by just fine!