i visit barcelona for the first time, but i do not speak any spanish. (outside of
what luis taught me on sesame street - but 'agua' and 'gracias' are not sufficient
spanish to get prostitutes on the rambla to take their hands out of your pockets)
rather than speak english - because i was convinced that everyone in spain would find
that unusual and unforgivably rude - i choose to point or gesticulate wildly, inserting
the word 'agua' wherever appropriate. after an exchange with the concierge at my
hotel, during which i was trying to request extra body scrub for my room without
the benefit of language, he remarks to pair of british tourists standing next to me,
"i think it is very brave for a mentally retarded adult to travel alone, abroad.
excuse me for a moment while i help him find some insect repellent and a glass of water."