Monday, July 19, 2010

Knowing the Language... Priceless

Living in one of the world's most diverse cities means being having the world's many cuisines at your fingertips. A long-time franks, burgers and fries fan, my husband is really getting into ethic foods. He often calls on me to place the order since I'm more experienced at speaking to people for whom English is not their mother-tongue. Today, that skill translated into $7 saved. It reminds me of the time I spent negotiating at an out-of-the-way bazaar in Hurghada, Eqypt. I was not at all fluent in Arabic but I taught myself the numeric symbols by studying a few business cards I had acquired during our day trips. The numbers were translated so that Westerners would be able to telephone the tour company, car service, etc. I used them to tell the savvy salesmen that I knew that the marked price for Okra was three Egyptian dollars and not seven. Don't ask what I was doing buying okra in an out of the way bazaar on the Red Sea. Most gals go for the bracelets or wall hangings.

Anyway, I knew enough Spanish to read the "Especiales Diarios" tucked away in the only non-translated section of the menu. I ordered the half chicken meal for $11 instead of the $18 we would have paid by adding on the extra sides from the English-language side. I thought about pocketing the money I saved him but I figured bragging about it would be more valuable to me :)

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