02 April 2009


I’ve been experimenting lately with the culinary delights of the Chinese takeaway around the corner from my flat in Madrid. Yes, much like Irish bars and American fast food franchises, it seems there isn’t a major city in the world in which one can’t find a Chinese restaurant within a couple of blocks of any given point on the map.

Another universal feature of world culture is that, wherever they are, Asian people have difficulty distinguishing between their /l/s and their /r/s. At the risk of sounding racially intolerant, I can assure you that this is just as funny in Spanish as it is in English. And it’s doubly hilarious when one reads a menu which has been translated from Mandarin into Spanish, and then translated by Chinese people from Spanish into English underneath, resulting in a brand new dialect which I’m going to call “Espangrish”.

Apologies to anyone who doesn’t have enough Spanish/popular culture to get the following series of humorous anecdotes. Just take my word for it; they’re hilarious.

The special of the day was “noodles with three delicious”. I didn’t have the nerve to ask “three delicious what?” so I just went with the old classic “Arroz Frito con Pollo” (it’s Aloz Flito you plick!)

The best bit came when I paid for it. Admittedly, I still have quite a bit of trouble with Spanish numbers, especially when they’re said too fast. But I was pretty sure something had gone horribly wrong when the assistant charged me “telez con coa lente”. It took me three tries to realise the price was “tres con cuarenta” (that’s three forty if you’re playing along at home).

So I finally got my fried rice, and it wasn’t too bad, especially given Spain’s relative distance from China as compared to Australia’s. And I was absolutely stoked to find someone in Madrid who speaks Spanish worse than I do.

Far from home

Garry with 2 Rs
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