So you want to learn Spanish?

My folks were here visiting for the holidays. My father and I got into the bad habit of going for a walk along the Jerte river after lunch. I say bad habit because he’d smoke a cigar and then, on the way back to town, we’d have a gin tonic somewhere. Exercise, Spanish-style.

The river flooded its banks in early January. We were walking one day and we had to turn back because the path dipped down under about six inches of water. We crossed a footbridge and tried the other bank. After a few minutes we had to turn back again. Downstream of the old Roman bridge the iron benches were almost completely underwater. A schlubby middle-aged guy with earbuds (who was, unfortunately, wearing Spandex) was walking behind us.

He saw us turn back and, without taking out his earbuds, yelled, “¡¿Está inundado?!” (“Is it flooded?!”)


“¡Me cago en la puta!”

Rio Jerte a su paso por las huertas de Plasencia

The guy turned around and started back in the other direction. He continued yelling to himself.

“What did he say?” my father asked.

Me cago en la puta. I shit on the whore.”

My father shook his head.

“Get used to it. If you’re gonna be spending more time over here after you retire, you’ll be hearing that phrase on a daily basis.”

“Kinda like the way the Irish slip the word feck into every sentence two or three times?”



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