Language - Learning Spanish
Updated: Feb 23
I've always been a lover of learning languages, Kelvin has not, so when it came down to who was going to try and learn enough of the language to be able to communicate with others on a daily basis, it naturally fell to me. Kelvin will be learning as much as he can though, and I also hope that we will pick up some good language skills as we travel.
Several people recommended the Michel Thomas method of learning as it's all CD's, no pens, paper or trying to memorise stuff advocated, and quite cheap, especially if you buy it second hand on eBay or borrow it. I'm not sure that you can learn the content of the whole 8 hour course actually in 8 hours, or anywhere near that, but maybe that's just me? What I can say is that so far I've found it a great way to learn Spanish. It also gives me something interesting and grey matter stimulating to do on my hour commute to work and home again every day, so long as my brain is still working, otherwise the radio quickly wins over.
Only practice makes perfect, or at least somewhere along the road to 'not too bad', and I'm quite looking forward to that, as well as feeling a little apprehensive.
In my humble opinion, learning the language is a key part to any travel adventure, even if it does come out all wrong, but it's the effort to try that can make a difference. Also, from what I've been told by fellow travellers, in a lot of rural and suburban areas of South America there is minimal english understood at best, but then why should we expect people in a predominantly Spanish speaking country (or Portuguese if in Brazil of course), to speak our language? Unfortunately, on multiple occasions I've been witness to the fact that speaking more slowly and loudly will not get you any more understood if you don't speak the language, unless of course you have an amazing talent of playing charades!
We will be taking a list of bike parts translated into Spanish, just in case, as well as a Point It book (should our Spanish vocabulary or charades skills really fail us), that came highly recommended from a friend of ours, and also the Latin American Spanish Phrasebook from Lonely Planet. I'm sure we will need to put them both to the test at some point, and probably more so in the early days, in break-down situations (bike or human), or when we really can't find the toilet roll we need to buy.