Saturday, February 2, 2008

My First Military Checkpoint

We got stopped in a Military Checkpoint today! We have seen many of these checkpoints along the way but they have always been stopping traffic going in the opposite direction to us. This time it was our turn. Two soldiers that looked to be about the same age as our granddaughter (12) waved us over. They were both carrying M-16’s (or some other Very Big Gun) at the ready and one of them had an electronic “sniffer” that he waved at the RV as we stopped. The 12 ½ year old asked us something in Spanish that I did not understand at all. When I made no response except giving him a stupid grin, he repeated the question louder. I said, “No Comprende” and shrugged. He repeated the same question, this time quite a bit louder and started looking over my shoulder into the back of the motorhome. His younger buddy started moving his finger towards the trigger so I thought now would probably be a good time to answer him although I had no idea what he was asking. Thinking quickly (for me) I said “Guadalajara”. He looked at me and said, “Guadalajara?” I said, “Si. We are going to Guadalajara.” He then said something else I did not understand and I, thinking that “Si” was probably as good an answer as any, said, “Si” and gave him my “stupid tourist” smile. At that point he looked at his buddy, shrugged and waved us through thinking the next stupid Canadians are going to be his buddy’s problem. I have no excuse for knowing so very little Spanish. We are guests here and should be able to communicate. It is not their job to learn English, it is our job to learn at least some Spanish! An embarrasing, possibly dangerous situation like this would never have happened if we could have communicated better. I still have no idea what he was asking. I hope it was an inquiry as to our destination because that was the answer he got.

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