Day 413 – September 7, 2012
And now, the latter half of the story that started with this blog post, A Cure for the Doctor.
As we left our wandering shutterbug hero, he was being confronted by the construction foreman after talking a few photos of the McDonald’s being built nearby.
While other folk have blogged about the etiquette of taking photographs in Peru, I could not find any helpful hints about shooting snaps of a building in the process of being built so I was unsure if I had broken some taboo.
The gentleman asked me why I was taking a picture – which, when I thought about it afterwards, seems like a perfectly reasonable question. Why would someone take a snap of a half-way building?
Now, I have a bad enough time explaining in English that there is a website, imugr, where people upload pictures. One of those images was of the actor David Tennant with the quote attributed to him stating that he had never seen a McDonald’s or Burger King being built…they just show up. Since I had seen this McDonald’s near Lima being built, I wanted to take a picture of it and share that image on this website to show Mr. Tennant that indeed a building belonging to the franchise Ray Kroc created could be captured in the process of being built.
Now try saying that in Spanish without the use of Google Translate.
So I did the next thing and improvised.
In my best (and halting) Spanish, I explained to the scowling foreman that my friends back in the United States and I had a joke about never seeing a McDonalds’s being built. Therefore, I wanted to take a picture of his construction site to show my friends so we could have a big laugh.
It could have been the fact that I was a goofy American (or German…I get mistaken for that nationality a good deal), but I like to think that it was my increasing command of the Spanish langauge that softened the countenance of the foreman’s face. Satisfied by my answer (or possible confused by it), he half-smiled and walked away.
And I ambulated away with my prized photographs.
My lesson for the day is this: When I first arrived in Peru, I often said I knew enough Spanish to get me into trouble. Now I can say that I know enough Spanish to get me out of trouble.