I’ve lived in this part of the world for long enough so I really should speak the language, but the truth is I’ve been lazy and haven’t bothered to learn it much. I understand a lot of Spanish, if it is spoken slowly and clearly as if to an idiot (which, at times, I really feel I am) so in the main I have managed to get by without much difficulty.
My problem – I’ve convinced myself – is a lack of confidence in my ability to sound coherent (let alone intelligent) when attempting to speak Spanish. It’s better to adopt a blank expression on one’s face than sound like a total baboon. Well, that’s my excuse anyway, for what its worth.
In all the years I’ve lived in or next to Spain there have only been a handful of incidents when I have felt completely lost, when Spanish people, who for some inexplicable reason do not speak English, have accosted and bombarded me with a torrent of words that all sound like just one long word until they eventually draw breath.
One such incident happened today, when I was accosted by some non-English speaking Spaniards demanding to know why I was wondering around their urbanization with a video camera in my hand.
This was a new experience for me, as so far no one has either been in the vicinity or bothered to pay me much attention while I have been walking around the many urbanizations Hamilton Homes has on their books, merrily shooting away and trying to come up with new, innovative ways of capturing gardens and swimming pools on my camera. There’s just so many ways you can shoot a palm tree…
Luckily an English speaking Spanish gentleman came over and offered to translate, and very soon the whole matter was cleared up. He even offered me a beer but I declined. I’m a professional, after all, and alcohol in the heat might have impaired my creativity, and may have even gotten me into trouble with the local Guardia Civil if I had been caught driving under the influence while on my way to my next assignment.
Generally – when people have been around – I’ve been left to my own devices and just got on with the job of capturing the apartment buildings, the houses, the gardens and the amenities as best I can.
I’m becoming quite an expert on Spanish urbanizations and now instinctively know what to look out for, what to film and what not to. Young ladies clad in skimpy bikinis is a definite no-no, and so too are young children. Pointing a video camera in their direction for too long is definitely asking for trouble, and bound to result in a bombardment of long Spanish words – most of them unrepeatable expletives. No, it’s better to focus on the palm trees and the blue sky.
I feel lucky. Here I am, a British ex-pat, roving around some of the best parts of Southern Spain in the sunshine, and doing a job I love. It’s hot work but thoroughly enjoyable – provided I’m just left alone to get on with it.