We should have a whole section on here regarding language and other cultural gaffes. I’ve had more than I can count, and many of them are unprintable if we want to keep our “G” rating (actually I am not oblivious to the fact that we lost our “G” rating when we posted the picture of “la paseo” as our masthead).
The most recent “faux pas” of the week occurred at a restaurant at Owen’s soccer (futból) club. We went to the club for Owen’s team photo after Owen’s team had played a game Sunday morning. We (the entire team) missed the photo session due to the timing of the game and the transit time it took to get back to the club as the game took place on the other side of Barcelona.
We decided we would grab a quick bite to eat at the club as we had been in motion all morning and we were all getting hungry. We sat down, and as often is the case, no waiter showed up at our table for quite some time. In order to be prepared for the eventuality that a waiter might grace us with his presence, we wanted to have all of orders figured out before they arrived at the table. Unfortunately, there were no “cartas” (menus) at our table, though the ladies at the table behind us each had one and they were getting ready to leave. So I quickly racked my brain for the phrase I had learned – ¿Puedos? – which literally translates as “Can I” or “May I?” – and I pointed at their cartas.
Thankfully, they understood exactly what I meant, and seemed incredibly excited to share their menus with me. Once I opened one of the menus, I quickly understood why. It was a photo of their child’s team that had been taken earlier that morning. They thought I wanted to see the team photo of their kids, not order some tapas! They immediately read my surprised facial expression and I was totally busted. Whoops!