More linguistic adventures today with our Guardian Juan. Today he learned to say, “good-bye” and I learned the Google Translate I was using to talk to him about the household items we would buy in the afternoon was set for Spanish from Spain and not Central America.
I was thrilled at first to learn that “una barbacoa” was Spanish for BBQ, which Mr. Yolkobsen had asked us to find at the Antigua Guatemala market. Since it sounds so much like English, I thought I would not have trouble remembering this useful noun. Alas, Juan looked at the screen in a way that made him the poster kid for the perennially perplexed. Turns out “estufa con carbon” or something like that was the ticket. Not so easy to remember, but I will carry on.
Though the Antigua Guatemala market has many interesting and alluring items, we headed off to get the most mundane of house wares. These included: a toilet brush (“bano cepillo”); large bucket (una cubeta); cloths for dusting and wiping this massive colonial house; vinegar for cleaning the thousands of little panes of glass in la casa; and a plastic basin for me to soak my feet. (The Antigua Guatemala cobblestone streets kill my feet no matter what shoes I wear.)
At least I was able to say to him in Spanish that I would be going out at 1 o’clock and returning at 2 o’clock in time for our market foray. While I was playing language roulette with Juan, Mr. Y was a the dentist having a root canal. So I wanted to go and get some soup and ice cream at El Bodegon (the large American-style super market across the street from the main and more traditional/real ”mercado” on the Alameda Santa Lucia).
Aside from our language experiments on poor Juan, we are also testing out dentists here in Antigua Guatemala. Mr. Yolkobsen needs a root canal, a new crown and an impacted wisdom tooth pulled. He found a father and son dentist team who practise state-of-the art dentistry. Clinicas De la Cruz La Antigua Guatemala. The son studied dentistry in Rochester NY. (By the way, he said he froze his you-know-what off in both places.) The bill for all of this would have cost at least $7,000 in Toronto. The Antigua Guatemala “dentistas” are charging us circa 5,800 Quetzales, about $725. ”!Que bueno!”
The irony is that my Toronto dentist, a lovely woman with amazing green eyes and a strong Romanian accent, warned me against the so-called third world dentistry to be found here. She insisted I take a prescription for antibiotics since I was “entertaining,” as she so eloquently put it, an infection around one tooth. The price for that consultation, which included a cleaning from the hygienist was $200. I think I will get these dentistas to help me stop entertaining whatever else is going on in my gringo yapper as soon as Mr. Y finishes serving as my dental guinea pig.