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It's better than drinking the water

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Editor
"Mexico…never really been but I'd sure like to go."
Those may be the words to a James Taylor song, but they have a certain ring to me these days. Next month, that's where Greg and I are going on our honeymoon.
The trip will mark the first time I've been in a place where the predominant language is something other than English, unless you count the time I went to San Francisco where the language spoken doesn't resemble anything I speak. (I dare you to go to China Town and ask for sweet tea and see what response you get.)
And while the information from the resort where we'll be staying assures us the staff is well versed in English, I immediately started to worry.
Tapping into my trusty computer, I found an English to Spanish translation program. I looked up all the essentials, such as:
"Where's the restroom?"
"Can you call me a taxi?"
"How much does this cost?"
And, "Help! I'm being eaten by a shark."
But above and beyond all that, I knew one thing was more important for me to learn than any other. I had to know how to ask for a Diet Coke.
"Surely you can just say 'Diet Coke' and someone will know what you're talking about," Greg said. "I doubt you have to say anything special."
I wasn't taking any chances.
I looked up "Diet Coke" and found out it translated into Spanish to "Coque de la Dieta."
At last I had a spelling, but the problem of pronunciation arose.
Using my best Spanish accent, I attempted to pronounce the words.
"Cocay De Lay Dieee-ta," tumbled from my mouth, sounding more like Scarlett O'Hara than Jennifer Lopez. Greg laughed.
"I don't think that pronunciation is exactly correct," he said. "Maybe you could just hold up a card that says "Coque de la Dieta" and wave it at people."
I was undeterred.
Last weekend, Greg and I went to our favorite Mexican restaurant. After he took our drink orders, I cornered our waiter.
"Do you speak Spanish?" I asked, prompting him to look at me in such a way to make me wonder if I would have been better served to ask if he spoke English."
"Yes," he said, his English faltering.
"Can you tell me how to order a Diet Coke in Spanish?" I asked.
He smiled and the words rolled off his tongue, so smooth and sure it sounded like he was reciting poetry.
It sounded like "Coka de la die-ta," with a little trill thrown in for effect.
Each time he came back to the table, he pronounced it back for me and had me echo him. Time after time, he said "Coka de la die-ta," and I answered "Cocay De Lay Dieee-ta."
Maybe that sign wasn't such a bad idea.

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