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DesktopWeb FormText   el barco grandeSat, 12 Feb 2005 06:32:25 GMT # 

meaning 'the big ship'. that was the extent of the spanish that i had to use on the trip. actually it did come in handy that one time. because our taxi driver was going the wrong way. i told him to take us to the cruise terminal, and i think he was taking us to the airport terminal. when i realized he wasnt going to make a u-turn, i pulled out the 'el barco grande' line, referring to the cruise ship, and he made the u-turn to get us where we were supposed to go. then he tried to double the previously agreed upon rate, even though the distance ended up being much shorter. so it was nice to know a little spanish, but not really necessary at all. we negotiated all our shore excursions off the boat (which was much cheaper). all of these people that were handling the money knew how to speak english. on some occasions the taxi companies had a front guy that negotiated the rate in english and then would tell the driver where to go in spanish. the confusing part was figuring out what currency you were talking about. sometimes they used the english numeric words when asking for pesos and spanish numeric words when asking for dollars. my assumption was that you would use spanish for pesos and english for dollars ... wrong. i quickly learned you had to agree upon currency 1st and then you could refer to numerals using either spanish or english. even if they did not speak english, they did understand the english numeric system. i preferred dollars just because the numbers were smaller in both languages. saying 50 pesos just sounds like alot more than 5 dollars does. it also felt good to have an idea of what was being said in the conversations around you. even though i could not understand them entirely, i could at least understand the topic of the conversation and that i shouldnt be interested in what they had to say.