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The Babel’s Tower

The Babel’s Tower

The story goes that once, many years ago, men were bored and idle through the land and decided to build a very tall tower high. They set to work, and after a while got through the clouds and reach the sky at lunchtime, just as God was taking a nap. As usual, God woke up pissed, kicked into the tower of men, and as they fell and were scattered throughout the world, condemned them to speak different languages ​​so they could not communicate with each other and not to return to fuck building more turrets. That is why today the people of a country can not be understood with another country, unless they are very smart and give them to study languages ​​…

In my case, I got to Madeira thinking that speak Portuguese would be a cinch, because the most absolute and confident ignorance, I always thought that this language was same than Spanish. After one month and a half here, I have yet to ask the people to talk me slowly and, if possible, with signs. As I get language lessons twice a week, and try to speak in Portuguese whenever I have opportunity, by now I defend myself enough to survive. Other times, however, I find people who, as a foreigner, do not take me seriously or even I hesitate. Eg:

-Situation # 1: The neighbor has two dogs that spend their lives attached to a rope in the backyard, and as they are sad and frustrated, bark. They bark day, barking at night, barking at dawn, even bark between them. I really like dogs, and I hate this situation, so one afternoon I standed on a neighbor’s house with my best intentions. I came, I said “I’m your neighbor, I am a student and this and that, and I offer to bring free walking the dogs one day a week”, using my best Portuguese. For the man offended, he was indicted and often told me “no, no, no, no, no!” Like saying, “who the hell are you and why do you stick your nose where it does not belong.” I insisted a little, but no way. I’m sure if I had mastered the Portuguese, at least I had not left there making a fool, and could have made the individual reason that animals deserved better.

-Situation # 2: On Friday made a spectacular sunny day, and I went to the beach to give me a swim. On the way out I sit in the balcony of a beach bar for a drink, and as the next table people were eating prawns, say as ale, I want some shrimp too. So I approached the bartender, asked the price of shrimp, and he says clearly: – “Three.” I, astonished, asked – “Three?” And he answered yes. I eat the prawns thinking, “how nice is life, I love the sun, I love the beach, and I love this piece of prawn dish for only 3 euros”. Overall, I finish, I’ll pay, and the bartender says: “It’s ten euros”. Look what I smelled from the beginning, but I’m sure the guy said “three”, which in Portuguese sounds almost like “ten”. But then, I saw the face of foreigner and nailed me right.

On these occasions, inevitably feel like you’re at a disadvantage, and wish to speak perfect for you not fooled. The good thing of this is that now I have more desire to learn Portuguese and I’m more motivated to lessons. Also, I always ask twice the price before buying something, because I  will not want to go as two German tourists who a taxi driver claimed more than 400 euros to get to visit a small town next door.

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About marcel

Soy un isleño de 27 años, natural de la isla de La Gomera. Tengo una licenciatura en geografía por la Universidad de La Laguna, y máster en Teledetección y Sistemas de Información Geográfica por la Universitat Auónoma de Barcelona. Mis intereses son el surf y la naturaleza, y me encanta la buena comida y el cine.

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