Hubby and I are ugly Americans.
We repeatedly travel to foreign destinations not knowing a word of their language. No matter how many times we are almost kidnapped, can't find band-aids or pay 3x as much as needed, we continue.
We are, as I type, in Italy.
We've been here about 24 hours.
The only phrase we have mastered is Parla Inglese or Par-lah Eenglaysay which, for those of you as ugly as us, means, Do you speak english? And when I say we've mastered it, I mean I know right where that phrase is in my pocket Italian/English phrasebook and can find it just like that. And by just like that, I mean after I dig it out (again) from the bottom of my bag (which takes at least 5 minutes), then another 5 minutes digging around for my glasses, then I can start thumbing though the book like an ugly american maniac.
Yep, that's me and hubby. Unleashed on European soil with only our idiotic optimism as our guide.
To my credit (we also spend a lot of our time giving ourselves too much credit) I've been picking out useful phrases from the handy phrase book for our planned outing today.
But, the pronunciation is tricky. For instance...
I can order penne in a restaurant. Duh, I can even do that at home. But, if you order pene instead of penne (and I'm not sure what the pronunciation difference is) depending on the cafe, you'll either get thrown out or the waiter will unzip his pants and put his penis on your plate.
You can see how we might get into trouble.
Luckily, the phrase book is divided into helpful categories, like eating, health, traveling, entertainment, etc.
Not sure what the guidebook author was thinking, or maybe we know even less about our Italian friends than we thought. For instance:
Finding a prostitute is a common request. And right after you find one you can tell her you are covered in bed bugs, which is the first phrase after "prostitute" in the guide.
You can tell the taxi driver to slow down or you'll throw up. How do you say that in New York?
You can sing all the words to Volare or Happy Birthday. Just those two though.
You can announce you're a virgin, or not a virgin, you're a pheasant plucker, have bad breath, or you're Peter Piper picking peppers.
You can call someone pussy cat, cupcake, honey bunch or sugar pie. Or, pig, stupid, and/or jerk.
You can tell people what planet you're from. Which might come in handy if you're scratching yourself from bed bug bites, introducing yourself as Peter Piper, or asking the waiter about his penis.
You can ask if anyone wants to hear you burp, if they smoke pot, or if they believe in Santa Clause. There's also a handy section on conversing with Italian animals so you can avoid those embarrassing cock-a-doodle-do, tweet-tweet and quack quack situations.
The profanity section is one of my favorites. I find that as soon as I cross the border (any border) I become a teenage boy. In this section I can ask if anyone farted (so far, I haven't seen the translation for the smeller's the feller), call the bus driver an idiot or cretin, and inform someone their mother is a...well, you get it.
But...can I find a hospital, call a taxi, or exchange money?
Those sections in the phrase book aren't very interesting.
But if you want to rustle up some assholes for a thumb wrestling contest, I'm your girl.
BTW...the title of this post pretty well sums it up.
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