Cool Spanish Encounter

A great sign I saw this morning – Watch out! Wild boars! Slow down!

Queridos amigos,

It’s time for some more real Spanish for you (and a secret page at the bottom of this post!)

I was walking to my car this morning in a small village near Madrid where I like to come and work some days, when a man approached me and said, ‘Caballero, ¿dónde puedo comprar una baraja?’

I saw his wife packing a picnic in the back of their car and so thought he had asked where he could buy ‘una navaja’ – a pocket knife. So, unsure, I said ‘¿Perdón?’

‘Una baraja’ he repeated, and made the sign of shuffling a deck of cards with his hands.

‘¡Ah!’ I said, ‘Aquí a la derecha hay una papelería’ – Here on the right there is a stationary shop.

‘¡Gracias!’ he said and off he went.

This encounter made me happy for two real-Spanish-related reasons. First of all, I love it how the Spanish will often start an encounter with a complete (male) stranger with ‘Caballero…’ which can be translated as gentlemen, honorable man, or knight!

And I loved the fact that he reminded me of the word ‘baraja’ for a deck of cards. There’s something satisfying about that word! It reminded me too of the verb, barajar, to shuffle, and the phrase ‘barajar varias posibilidades’ – to consider various options.

For example, ’Después de barajar varias posibilidades, acabamos reservando una mesa en La Taberna Miranda’ – After considering various possibilities we ended up reserving a table at La Taberna Miranda.

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