From the sneakily successful travel series with over 1 million copies in print, Wicked Spanish (over 250,000 copies in print) is the devilishly funny pocket-sized guide to language and culture in the land of manana. From managing epic taxi rides (The Old Man and the Chevy) to Perfecting the Haggle to Tipping the Police, Wicked Spanish anticipates and prepares norteamericanos for a wide range of exotic Latin customs and conditions-also know as que sera, sera. Explain to your innkeeper that you'd rather have private accommodations: Pero you prefiero un cuarto sin escorpiones. ("But I'd prefer a room without scorpions."). Politely ask your waiter what you're eating: QuS hace immovil dentro del mole? (What lies motionless under the spicy chocolate sauce?). And Mi abuelo perteneci. a un sindicato obrero ("My grandfather belonged to a labor union") may be just the ticket for kidnap victims of revolutionaries. Once acclimated, you'll make clever cockfight conversation, understand Zapotec Basketball, and even enjoy a cold cerveza with your wife in a friendly men's bar: No la mires. No le hables. No la toques. ("Do not stare at her. Do not address her. Do not touch her."). Above all, you'll learn the real meaning of Vaya con Dios.
THE OLD MAN AND THE CHEVY The manana concept is a paradox of Hispanic culture. While the clerks and waiters of an entire nation may appear to be in a collective coma, the taxi drivers seem to have Benzedrine in their blood. The antiquity of many taxis only adds to the terror of high-speed rides. But before you resort to violence or leap from the vehicle, try a little verbal persuasion. This car is amazing. Este carro es increble. I never knew chicken wire Yo no saba que la tela met.lica had so many uses. tena tantos usos. When did the brakes go out? Cu.ndo se fueron los frenos? In the Eisenhower years? En la Spoca de Carranza? Please give us helmets/blindfolds. Por favor dSnos cascos/unas vendas para lost ojos. Look, if you don't slow down, Mire, si no reduce la velocidad, no le voy a pagar. I won't pay you. That's much better, thanks. Mucho mejor, gracias.
Excerpted from Wicked Spanish: For the Traveler by Howard Tomb
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