Last week I was in New York City (and the surrouding burroughs) visiting friends and family. While everyone else was working, I was taking advantage of summer sales to stock up my year round summer wardrobe (a necessity for those who live in Qatar).
Much to my surprise I heard French, Spanish, and Portugese while out and about the places of town the rest of New York avoids when the tourists are in.
You may think that given New York’s reputation for a plethora of ethnicities and nationalities, this should be no big surprise. But it was, because these were Europeans coming to spend their highly valued Euros in bargain price America. No lie, I almost lost my life several times to some very eager pre-teens shopping their wallets out around Fifth Avenue.
So imagine my even greater surprise, when a few days later, back in D.C., purusing a few stores I didn’t make it to (because of the rambuctious crowds in NYC) on hearing a group of men trying to find a Spanish speaker among the staff of Victoria Secret. Never one to let those seven years of formal study go to waste, I came forward and tried to make sense of what the three men from Spain (as indeed they were, although everyone who speaks Spanish is not always) wanted.
Turns out they were taking advantage of the Euro – or hoped to for their female loved ones – to purchase the best of Vicki’s. The hilarious thing was that these gents had no idea what women’s sizes were, much less what a cup on a bra measured. Therefore even my Spanish was unable to help in this vexing situation. What does one do when one has money to spend but no means of communicating?
Point to a good Samaritan’s chest and saying, “Let’s start with this one?”
Well, no, dear reader, if you were wondering, that’s not how I’d recommend getting started buying unmentionables in a foreign country.
I advise the use of a cell phone.