Google Translate, Sex, and Drunk David in the Pouring Rain

by David · 9 comments

After I had been studying Spanish for 8 months I thought it would be a great idea to visit Spain for immersion.

 

David Mansaray in Madrid

 

When I got to Spain, however, I realised I didn’t know Spanish at all. All of a sudden people were talking about politics and religion and following conversations was difficult.

I remember being really confused because I kept hearing people say “haber”

Why was everyone saying “haber” (which in Spanish is one of the ways to say “to have”) ?

I remember tweeting about my frustration and then my friend Berta tweeted back:

“They’re probably saying “a ver”, which means “let’s see” ”

Oh, that makes sense…

( For those of you who don’t speak Spanish: “h” is not pronounced in the language and “v” and “b” are pronounced in the same way.)

I guess I didn’t know Spanish too well…

I remember feeling  happy because my girlfriend at the time came to visit. It was an opportunity to take a break from Spanish.

The night that she came, we bought 2 bottles of wine and went to a hotel to celebrate. For the record, I’m a really light drinker and it doesn’t take much for me to lose control.

Hotel Bedroom

If you’re still reading you probably want the details, right? But I promise, the sex isn’t the best part of the story. I’m sure you’ll understand if I skip to the part where my drunk girlfriend is in the room crying and shouting.

“My life is over”

“Why don’t you listen!”

“I’m not ready to be a mother!!!”

I jumped out of the bed and put on my clothes.

“Everything will be….” I couldn’t finish my sentence because I toppled over as I tried to put on my trousers.

“you’re not going anywhere, David. It’s raining and you can barely stand”

“I don’t care what you say, I’m leaving this room, and I’m going to buy the morning after pill.”

¿hay una farmacia cerca? I asked the lady at the reception.

Hotel Reception

 

“hay una, pero esta bastante lejos”

“So…there’s is a pharmacy, but it’s far. Ok, I can do this.” I said to myself.

She drew the route on a map and wished me luck.

I was walking through a storm drunk, trying my best to not topple over.

After walking for 10 minutes, I felt lost so I took out the map to see where I was.

The rain shot down on the map like bullets and instantly tore it to shreds. Great.

The next 20 minutes were awful. Falling over in the rain while drunk is horrible.

When I made it to the pharmacy I was out of breath and drenched.

I walked up to the counter and the lady said:

“¿en qué puedo ayudarle?”

“Erm….”

I didn’t know how to respond.

She was asking me to tell her what I needed, but I had no idea how to say “the morning after pill”.

I asked her if she spoke English.

She didn’t.

There was an awkward silence which lasted a while, I’d go as far as to say it was eerie.

She stared as I racked my brain for the word “pill” which I had seen in the picture dictionary I had back in London. I remembered the word in Spanish started with “p”

“P…”
“Pa…”
“Pastel!”

Yes, that was it!

“Pastel!

I did my best to explain what I wanted.

“Quiero un pastel mañana”

She didn’t understand.

I said it louder.

“QUIERO UN PASTEL MAÑANA”

She seemed more confused. I was desperate so I started to act.

“Quiero un pastel mañana” I said, while rubbing my stomach, trying to communicate I wanted a pill to stop a woman from getting pregnant.

She started to laugh. I thought hard about what I must have been doing wrong.

I sat down to think. I thought and thought and thought…..

Then I felt my phone in my back pocket and shouted “Google TRANSLATE!”

I yanked my phone out of my pocket and typed into the translator “I want the morning after pill” then showed her the phone.

“Ahhhh! un momento por favor”

It worked! It worked! She was off to get the pill and Google translate stopped me from becoming a father!

What went wrong? Well, my grammar was bad, but more importantly, I had been using the wrong word.

The word for pill in Spanish is “pastilla”, and the word “pastel” which I was using means “cake”

I thought I was rubbing my stomach telling her I wanted the morning after pill, but I was really saying:

“I want cake tomorrow”

Damn, what an experience.

The day Google translate stopped me from becoming a father.

@DavidMansaray

  • Haha. WHo would have thought Google Translate would have said you like that :D.

  • Eve

    ejejej, very funny situation…I’m spanish speaker from the caribbean, and for me it’s a little difficult to understand Spain accent.

  • Christian

    So funny! There are a lot of situations like that one inside a same language in different countries. You may know that “coger” in Spain (which is really common for to take) means fucking in Argentina and some other Spanish speaking countries lol.
    By the way “pastilla” isn’t the most accurate word for that kind of pill at least in Spain. The Spaniards say “píldora” (tomar la píldora). It used to be just a synonym but when anticonceptive pills appeared it got a specialised meaning because of the influence of French and English (pilule / pill)…
    I like your pic because it reminds me many things (pics too with my girlfriend 😉

    Hugs!

  • light487

    Sounds similar (without the potentially pregnant girlfriend bit) to my experience in China for the first time. I knew that 9 months of learning couldn’t really prepare myself linguistically for the challenge of visiting China, for the first time, by myself without any real support for at least the first day or two before I had the ability to call friends in Shanghai and Beijing. That first 24 to 48 hours was extremely memorable, just trying to get the basics done to get myself in contact with people who could help if I needed it etc

    I simply wasn’t prepared for how insanely difficult it was to communicate in the real world with a language that you barely knew. I got through it, quite well in fact, and I learned a lot of Chinese in that month I stayed in China. I visited around 6 cities and in only 2 or 3 situations I found myself calling my lifelines to help with the translating. During my second trip, a year later, I bought an iPod Touch and loaded up the Chinese dictionary on it.. that made such a massive difference but then again, it allowed me to lean on technology way too much and I didn’t find myself forced to learn on the spot.

  • Martin

    My story
    is definitely not as interesting, exciting and life-changing as yours but I
    want to share it with you anyway 😉 Here goes nothing 😉 I’d been studying
    English for a little while and my girlfriend and I thought it’d be cool to go
    to London and hone our (as it turned out) pOOr language skills J Also, we wanted to spend a little time
    together and the tickets were really cheap so.. what else could we do?;) Our
    visit had nothing to do with language immersion though, as we stayed there only
    a week and a half but it was good linguistic
    fun anyway! After an extremely bumpy flight we managed to touch down safely and
    set foot on British soil for the first time. It was a bit of a shock for both
    of us since we had never been abroad before but at the same time we felt
    absolutely exhilarated by the experience! Anyway, after a rather lengthy coach
    ride from the airport to the center of London we had to get to the hostel where
    we, beforehand, had booked our tiny room (believe me it was really tiny!). We
    knew that when you’re in London and you want to get to a place “real quick” the
    best way to do it is to take the subway (or the Tchyuuube as they say in London
    ;)) The idea seemed so great that we didn’t think too much and shot off
    straight to the nearest subway station. Here’s when it gets a little more
    complicated. When we BEHELD the (never-ending) branchy structure of the London
    subway system we got really confused and decided to ask around. The first
    person who fell victim to our ignorance -;) was a woman who happened to be
    passing by while we were still staring at the map trying to make sense of it
    all. Obviously, she must have spotted the confusion on our faces and guessed
    correctly that we were strangers. She was kind enough to speak slowly so we
    could understand everything she said. Not only did she help us out but she also
    boosted our linguistic confidence so much that later after that (although we’re
    normally quite timid and shy) we started chatting up some people on the Tube!
    It was amazing to be able to converse in English and actually understand what people
    were saying to you! That’s not the end of the story though 😉 So… we got off at
    the station from which we were to take another train. Although the “first lady”
    seemed to be rather London-savvy and knew quite a lot about the London subway
    system, I thought, just to be on the safe side, it would be good to ask someone
    if we were going the right direction and not getting lost in the middle of
    nowhere-London. The platform we “alighted” on seemed completely devoid of people
    but out of the corner of my eye I caught one guy sitting on a bench, reading a
    newspaper. I walked up to him and asked politely if we were going the right
    way. Now comes the (not-so)funny part. The guy looked at me from under his
    paper and let out a stream of sounds which, after reaching my eardrums, were quickly
    transmitted further to my brain… but the brain was like: “What the hell? I can’t
    understand a word he said!” You might say: “But you must have understood
    SOMETHING!?” But no! Nothing, not a word! I don’t give up so easily so I asked
    him once more if he could repeat what he had just said and.. he did… But again,
    what reached me was a bunch of unintelligible snippets of (obviously) English but
    they made no sense at all and I had no freaking idea what he was trying to
    communicate to me. I felt so embarrassed! I tried again, to no avail. Had to
    give up. I just nodded my head and uttered a quick “thank you” and walked away.
    In the end, we managed to get to our hostel without any trouble but I was so
    bummed out I kept quiet about the unfortunate incident throughout the rest of
    the trip 😉 Come to think of it, I suppose the guy might have been a Cockney and
    I wasn’t really used to that accent at the time… P. S. London is still one of
    the most amazing places I’ve ever been to 😉

    Martin

  • Diego

    Hahahahahaha! What an aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawesome story, David!!!

  • Courtney Almon

    Lol omg! Hilarious!

Previous post: