Of all the unique things experienced by visitors to Mexico City, I’ve found that our US-based guests are most surprised that English is not spoken more prevalently here. I think there’s a general assumption among Americans that everyone in Mexico is dying to move to the USA and hence is furiously learning English. Point of fact, many Mexicans are perfectly happy here in Mexico! And although plenty of folks do speak English in DF, it certainly isn’t the defacto language if you venture off the 4 or 5-star hotel tourist circuit.
All of that said, the last thing I want to do is dissuade non-Spanish-speakers from taking a trip down to Mexico City! You can certainly get around DF; it may just be a bit trickier & require a bit more research in advance, depending on your travel goals.
Of course, depending on your travel goals, your best bet may be finding yourself a Spanish Wingman. This was the lesson learned with our most recent visitor– let’s call him “Mandrew” for the sake of anonymity. Mandrew is an experienced world traveler who enjoys learning about the culture of other countries, ideally as communicated through their women. Despite claims of spanish/portuguese/swedish/thai fluency, most of Mandrew’s foreign vocabulary seemed centered around greetings & ordering tasty beverages. However, his regular traveling companion (let’s call him “Mruckenmiller”) assured us that Mandrew’s efforts had never been stymied for lack of knowing a language, offering anecdotes of various Brazilians who fell victim to his portuguese-free charms.
I thought Mandrew might be stymied in the Spanish-heavy environment of Mexico City. Instead, I learned that he is a man who knows when to call on his resources.
Saturday night was bustling at Big Red in Polanco last week, so we settled in for a nite of miniscule-but-bargain-priced tequilas & beers. Late in the evening, Mandrew spotted a lovely lady mysteriously sitting alone at a table, so he made his move. Two minutes later, he was back at our table to inquire whether John would be so kind as to join him.
And so it was that John made his debut appearance as…. SPANISH WINGMAN. Experience the drama via my photos from our nearby table, slightly blurred due to my constant laughter. Although I could not hear the dialog per se, I’ve extrapolated a few quotes as I imagined them…
Mandrew: "Oh-la senorita... You are so pretty tonite in that trendy outfit. Did I mention to you that the leopard is my favorite wild animal? Wearing that shirt, you remind me of the time I spent in Tanzania working on my doctoral thesis entitled 'Similarities and Differences Between Leopards and Siamese House Cats'... John, can you translate that?"
John: "Este... Mandrew te dijó que es un placer conocerte y el nunca ha visto una mujer tan hermosa quien parece como un gato de Africa. El era un doctor para los gatos en Africa." (In English: "Uh, Mandrew says it is a pleasure to meet you & he has never seen such a beautiful woman who seems like a cat from Africa. He used to be a doctor for cats in Africa")
[Imagine various other photos of witty repartee here]
Girl: "¿Cual es tu planeta favorito? Mio es el sol. Siempre ha sido mi favorito." (English: "What's your favorite planet? Mine's the sun. Always has been.")
[Insert additional awkward pauses & deep eye-gazing]
John: "El dijó que 'Eres preciosa; tienes ojos bonitos y me encanta cuando sonríes. Tambien tu cabello es como una cascada de leche chocolatada.'" (English: "Mandrew said "You are beautiful; you have pretty eyes & I love it when you smile. Also, your hair is like a waterfall of chocolate milk.'"
Mandrew: "OMG, you like technology?!?? I love girls who like technology! John, ask her if she has ever networked more than 4 Linux workstations to a remote printer."
Mandrew: "I hope jpeg technology still exists in 30 years so our grandkids can see how we first met!" Girl: "Me gusta cuando me tocas con tus patas de gato grandes" (English: "I like it when you touch me with your big cat paws.")
Suddenly, prospects began to dim when her two guy friends showed up:
Mandrew: "So great to meet you gentlemen. I was just telling your lady friend here how much we enjoyed the two full days we spent in the Anthropology Museum here in Mexico City. I just can't stop learning about Mexican history!"
While the combination of Mandrew’s powers of seduction + John’s Spanish Wingman translations were strong to quite strong (just like Mruckenmiller’s stock portfolio), in the end the 4 of us opted to return to our apartment unaccompanied by these newfound friends. Don’t worry, readers who were rooting for Mandrew. You can rest assured that he did not sleep alone that nite.
Even fewer translations were required to arrange this relationship.
Any single, English-only-speaking males who are planning a visit to Mexico City in the coming months, do advise if you would like to investigate engaging John’s Spanish Wingman services. Fees are negotiable & while results are not guaranteed, let’s just say– Unless the goods [aka, you] are odd, your odds are good.