Friday, March 04, 2011

Spanish For Cruisers

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
34 42.54 N 081 05.58 W

We enrich our lives in many ways here in Marathon.  A while back Libby and I were having dinner aboard Carpe Diem with our friends Bob and Sandra.   Bob mentioned that he would like to learn Spanish.  Libby and I jumped on that idea; we thought it would be fun and useful.

How to organize that?   Well, it just so happened that on a mooring two boats away sat Kathy Parsons.  Kathy is the author of Spanish For Cruisers, and excellent book that focuses on the specialized language needs of cruisers.  With just a little coaxing, Kathy graciously offered to teach free lessons up at the tiki hut.  In the picture below, you see Kathy and her students enjoying a nice afternoon (buen tarde) learning Spanish.   Of course, Kathy didn't mind it when each couple decided to buy a copy of her book.

Now, Kathy has departed the harbor but the lessons continue. How? Well just by chance, a local resident named Luiz heard Kathy talking to us at a SSCA luncheon at a local restaurant. She mentioned that there were cruisers in the harbor looking for lessons. Luiz volunteered, "I can teach them." So we accepted his gractious offer. Now, several times per week we take our dinghies over to Luiz' house on Sisters Creek and we enjoy lessons from a native Spanish speaker from Venezuela. Luiz is not a polished teacher as Kathy was, but he does an excellent job nonetheless. We love the opportunity to learn.

By the way, what specialized language do cruisers need that differs from what tourists need? There's a famous and amusing example. When a boat is approaching a dock, it is common to call to those on shore, "throw me a line". Well if your Spanish is imperfect you might call "tirarme la ropa" (throw me your clothes) rather than "tirarme una soga" (throw me a rope). After everyone stops laughing at you, they may explain the joke.

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