Our secret language is almost back.
Somehow, inexplicably but terribly predictably, our time in Curacao has flown by.
But in less than a week we’ll be back in Ecuador. Hostels. Almuerzos. Buses, backpacks, and bed bugs.
We’ll lose many things, like the ocean (oh lordie, I’ll miss this majestically swimmable ocean), but we’ll gain a couple things back too. Our secret language, for one.
Worldwide, there’s always a good chance the person in front of me at least understands English, and in Latin America Spanish is the overt language, which normally leaves Dutch, but not in Curacao.
But soon Dutch will be safe again, where, for example, a typical evaluation of a hostel might go like this.
T & K enter a cheap hotel.
T: “Buenas tardes, buscamos una habitacion, tiene un doble disponible?”
(Good afternoon, we are looking for a room, do you have a double?)
Hostal staff (HS): “Si, quiere verla?”
(Yes, would you like to see it?)
T: “Si, por favor.”
They go upstairs and enter a plain room. There are a couple blots of crushed mosquitoes on the walls and an overriding odor of dirty laundry, but the bed is made and there is light coming in the window. K goes to check the bathroom while T peels back the sheets to check the mattress for bed bugs.
T: “Si, le creo, solo es algo que hago siempre.” There are no overt signs of bed bugs, though the mattress is a tired gray color.
(I believe you, it’s just something I always do.)
K: Coming back from the bathroom, a carefully neutral expression on her face. In an open and airy voice “De badkamer is echt vreselijk. Het ruikt er slecht, de vloer is zwart met schimmel, en ik denk dat er bloed op de muren is.”
(The bathroom is really disgusting. It stinks, the floor is black with mold, and I think that’s blood on the walls.)
T: Nodding, with a thoughtful but open expression. To HS “Hay wifi, o una cocina?”
(Is there wifi or a kitchen?)
HS: “Si si.”
K: “Serieus, het ruikt alsof iemand daar gestorven is.”
(Seriously, it smells like someone died in there.)
T: To K “Well, maybe we should go get something to eat and see if we can find our Canadian friends.”
HS: Aha! They don’t know I understand English! I have broken their codes!
T: “Vamos a almorzar, y buscar unos amigos. Gracias.”
(We’re going to go eat lunch and look for our friends. Thanks!”)
T & K leave, shuddering and thinking about where they can wash their hands. HS smiles and waves goodbye, feelings unhurt.