Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hello…Hola….Salam Malak...Bonjour…Sannu

I realized today that in a week I have been in 6 countries & spoken in 5 languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, French & Hausa). Here in Niger, the main languages are French & Hausa. The French I can understand some, since it is close to Spanish at times.

Had a funny experience at an airport in North Africa. Our plane was late and we (read I) was concerned we might miss our connecting flight. A man had greeted me in French, so I got out our French phrase book and asked him did he know why the plane was late. He replied something that was to the effect of he wish he knew. At that point I said I only spoke a little French but more Spanish. It turned out he was ½ Spanish, ½ Belgian, so we switched in Spanish and had a great conversation. Then he asked the officials in French about the plane, translated into Spanish for us, and we in turn translated for a Russian woman who spoke English but no French or Spanish! The plane turned up an hour late, but we managed to catch our connection.

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