Turns Out, the Whore Wasn't Included

Turns Out the Whore Wasn't Included via @hahasforhoohas

Enunciation is important. Very important. Let me bring you back to that fateful day my friends, the day my lack of enunciation changed a cab ride. Forever. And ever and ever.

Picture it: Spain, August 2004. A bright eyed blonde with curly hair, speaking very little Spanish except for knowing the lyrics to "La Bamba," sets off for a semester of adventure in Northern Spain. That 21 year old girl was me. And I will therefore now speak in the first person. I arrived in Bilbao, Spain with my large American Tourist luggage and handy pocket translator, hoping to fit in as much as possible. My first cab ride would prove otherwise.

Turns Out the Whore Wasn't Included

I hail down a taxi at the Bilbao airport and helped load my clunky, red luggage into the back of the white Mercedes cab. (They have awesome cabs abroad, don't they?!) He asks me where I want to go and I answer, "San Sebastian". So far so good. I look out at the rolling green hills as we drive and think to myself, "This is like a dream. I feel as if I'm a Spaniard, like I fit in here so well."

As we near our destination, I remember a quick tip I read in a book by Rick Steve's about tipping abroad. It wasn't like the US and I worried I would overpay my new Spaniard friend. Fear not! I quickly pull out my handy black Casio translator and use my short Jimmy Dean sausage like fingers to type in the word, "tip" and it comes up with the word, "punta" like the tip of something.

I prepare to ask my first question in this gorgeous land, I now call home. With determination to sound like a true Spaniard, I speak quickly and with confidence. "Es la puta incluido?" (Is the "tip" included?) My cab driver becomes wide eyed and gasps. He replies, "Queeeeeeeeeee?" (What?) I figure I didn't speak quick enough and repeat with more confidence, "Es la puta incluido?" My brown eyed friend, still wide eyed, doesn't reply and stares ahead at the road. I go over what I said, over and over again in my mind and figure I must have offended him by asking if I should leave a tip with the total cost of the cab fare.

Fast forward 2 weeks as I learn Spanish swear words from friends. I hear the word, "puta" (b*$#@ or whore) and remember the fateful cab ride to San Sebastian with the confused cabbie. I realize I had asked him if his b*$#@ or whore was included.

And that my friends, is the importance of enunciation.