Their heads quickly and simultaneously pivoted to look at me.

I’d come to this Thai restaurant in a backpacker-dense quarter of the Old Town for a plate of Pad See Ew Gai. That there were 2 Spanish speakers at the a nearby table was the bonus. There was too much background noise for me to do more than recognize some words of their animated conversation. The two noise sources moved on, so at the first sign of a significant pause in their conversation (they’d just asked for the check), I said ‘Disculpe.’, the Spanish version of ‘pardon me’ or ‘excuse me’ used when seeking attention.

I opened by saying I understand your accent but don’t know what country it’s from. We spoke briefly of Spain, where I was going next year, and their home, Barcelona.

I wanted some Spanish practice, but got more. They, as did almost all of the Spaniards I spoke with in Spain, showed no signs of impatience with my halting sentence construction, mixing of present and past tense or simply using the infinitive instead of a conjugation,e.g., ‘to buy’ instead of I ‘bought’. Furthermore, they spoke slowly and simply enough for my limited ability. It’s comforting to have more conformation that Spain could be one of the easier countries in which to begin learning conversational Spanish.

On a lighter note, national differences in Spanish accents:


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