A couple of years ago we took a family trip to Costa Rica. For those who have never been, Costa Rica is a gorgeous country with stunning vistas, abundant wildlife and the nicest people you will ever meet. Their national currency is called a colon (pronounced ca-LONE) and when you have more than one, they are called colones (co-LO-nez).
Although most Costa Ricans speak English, the national language is Spanish. I do not speak Spanish. I actually do not speak any other language besides English. Some people have an ear for languages. I’m not one of them. Even growing up, I was probably the only kid on my block who couldn’t speak Pig Latin.
I’ve picked up a word or two here and there and have learned how to ask where the bathroom is in about five different languages. But that is about as far as I’ve gotten.
So, one day during our trip to Costa Rica, we stopped in town for an ice cream before we headed into the rainforest. My husband left me to pay while he stepped outside to make a call. But when I opened my wallet, I saw that I was out of money.
“Hey honey,” I yelled across the ice cream parlor. “I need some more cahonés!”
Six pair of Costa Rican eyeballs turned to me in surprise.
“What?” he yelled from outside the ice cream parlor.
“Can you give me your cahonés?” I yelled back. The ice cream parlor erupted into laughter.
My husband came back into the ice cream parlor and walked over to me shaking his head.
“Honey, I think you meant CaLOnés.”
“Oh. What did I say?”
“Oh,” I repeated nervously. “What’s that?”
He looked around and then whispered, “Bull testicles.”
I was mortified. “I asked for bull testicles?”
“Fine,” I said. “But I want those with vanilla ice cream.”