Three Guiri Mistakes Not To Make
I’ve been living in Spain almost a year now, and although I can just about order a café con leche, I’ve made un montón of Guiri mistakes that will always mark me as a tourist. Here’s the top three, curated for your enjoyment (and so I can have something on the internet forever that makes me cringe).
Causing car accidents
This one’s probably a mistake in your own country as well, but I somehow managed to crash my girlfriend’s dad’s brand new Prius into a wall. I’d been in Spain a while and was very proud of myself for getting used to driving on the right, listening to whiteboy rap and feeling like a pimped out, drug-lord gangsta version of el chapo partying in his 100ft tall mansion after escaping from prison. This came abruptly to a halt as I heard a bang and then long scraping sound, as I turned right into the underground carpark of the community where la familia of my girlfriend live. I switched off Eminem, took a deep breath, and got out to assess the damage.
It was bad – one of those moments when you can’t actually believe what you’re seeing. How can life be so good one minute and the next you’re totally going to be deported for being an uncoordinated fuckwit? Anyway, it was at this point that things started to heat up as I realised that not only had I written off the car, but now the garage door wouldn’t open for the people inside waiting to leave. I went to talk to the guy at the front of the (ever growing) queue, who was late for work and a bit pissed off.
Lo siento no hablo mucho espanol. Pero lo siento, lo siento mucho *gestures at crumpled railing on garage door* (rough translation: Sorry, sorry, sorry, snivelling sorry).
Joder macho (rough translation: Fuck, mate).
As we realised the door wasn’t going to budge from its half open position, I called my girlfriend (I was too much of a li’l bitch to call her dad), she called him, and he came down with el presidente of the community. Meanwhile I waited awkwardly, leaning on one leg, attempting to look apologetic in front of the queue of Spaniards (every 30 seconds another car would pull up with a mum trying to drop her kids at school, or a guy on his way to an important meeting).
El puto guiri… (rough translation: This fucking guy…).
To make things worse the whole reason I had been using the car was to drop my girlfriend at uni, so her dad could drive her sister to the airport, and she was now going to miss her flight. Suffice to say I hadn’t made a great first impression. The awkward standing around/corporal punishment went on for at least two hours, until the insurance company for the garage came to fix it, and I, the desgraciado was finally able to hang my head in shame somewhere else…
Expecting to end up bilingual
I’ve lived in France for six months, and Spain for 10, but far from being tri-lingual I’m worried about my “mono-lingiuality”. Despite it now being second nature to say Hallo und gracias, what little social ability I used to have among English speakers has gone, while I’m still unable to have a proper conversation in Spanish. Note to self: congratulations! Soon you won’t be able to communicate to anyone, anywhere, en ningun lado. Also: beware of teaching English on a long term basis – you will pick up all of your students bad habits and then you won’t even be able to speak one language correctly…
Going to the hairdressers without a photo
You know how it is, you’ve been travelling a while, working on your best Jesus look, but somehow you’ve ended up looking like a trustafarian (which may well be what you are but you don’t want anyone to know that do you); you want a haircut. This is where a hastily google translated “medium high fade to super glossy retro hipster pompadour” is not going to serve you well. I tried to explain what I wanted but ended up looking like a cross between a neo nazi and a hipster. Not cool. Alternatively you could just ask for a less annoyingly complicated haircut, but anyway – you’ve been warned…
(Editor’s note: in Barcelona a lot of the more affordable coiffeurs are from the subcontinent, so a great game to play is to simply turn up and point to the photo-on-the-wall of whichever Bollywood star tickles your fancy and see if it suits your bonce – 9/10 times it doesn’t, everytime).