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They just love those allegory pictures, but you have to know how to read the symbolism. Here we see Jesus, the car rental clerk in Avila trying to convince Jose, the taxi driver, not to kill us. [from picture I took at the Cathedral in Segovia, The Tree of Life - Ignacio de Ries 1653]

They just love allegory pictures in Spain, but you have to know how to read the symbolism.
Here we see Jesús, the car rental clerk in Ávila trying to convince José, the taxi driver, not to kill us.
[from picture I took at the Cathedral in Segovia, The Tree of Life – Ignacio de Ries 1653]

[NOTE: a friend asked for a repeat of this blog post from a few years back.]

We got the news that our car was (finally) repaired, so we headed to Ávila (a stunning walled Medieval city about an hour away from where we’d been spending the summer in Piedrahita) to drop off the rental car and pick it up. Our insurance had arranged for a taxi to take us between the rental agency and the repair garage.

After a truly astonishing amount of paperwork, we received instructions from God (via Jesús in the Enterprise Rental offices) to look for José, who (for some reason) was parked several blocks away instead of in the empty Enterprise lot. He would be the one, we were told, with an Audi. (To set him apart, apparently, from drivers of the roughly fifty-thousand other Audi’s sold each year in Spain…) We eventually tracked down José (in the 95+F temps) and he opened the Audi’s trunk (“boot” for my UK readers).

This was clearly a job for my very rudimentary Spanish. “No bolsa de viaje,” I told him. “No suitcase.” But he pointed to my dog, and then to the trunk.

“Aquí es para el perro.” (The dog goes here.)

“NO!”

“Sí.”

When I stood there, my jaw dropping and shaking my head, he gestured impatiently. “Sí!

Peri

How do you say, “Please don’t kill me!” in Spanish?

My Spanish might be less than basic, but even I can repeat a few choice phrases I’d heard here. So I did.

The effect of my eloquence on José was impressive. He sucked in a breath and let loose with a stream of fury. From the corner of my eye, I could see the Hub and the dog watching. The Hub was grinning as he leaned in and whispered to me. “I think you told him to put his mother in the trunk and um… do something to her there.”

I was quite pleased. “Really? Well that can happen before he sticks my dog into an Audi-shaped oven on a day where the temperature is mid-90s.” (Translation: mid-30s for you metric types…)

José continued yelling, and it was clear his communication left my little madre comment pitifully far behind. I thought he’d leave us behind as well, when he pulled open the door and started yelling about his beautiful clean coche. I pretended to think he was waving us in, so I hopped into the front passenger seat with my dog at my feet and turned to beam my biggest smile (lots of teeth) at José.

Our trip to the mechanics was made in record time, although as fast as José took every corner, his stream of shouting and insults was even faster. Too bad—I would have really liked to know what some of those words meant…

Medieval walled city of Avila, burial place of Tomás de Torquemada (Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition). NOTE: although possibly responsible for 2000 executions, there is no record of him ever putting a dog into a car trunk in the middle of the summer. [Image credit: Diego Delso for WikiCommons]

Medieval walled city of Avila, burial place of Tomás de Torquemada (Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition). NOTE: although possibly responsible for 2000 executions, there is no record of him ever putting a dog into a car trunk in the middle of the summer. Kind of puts the whole inquisition into perspective… [Image credit: Diego Delso for WikiCommons]

But the good news was that we had our car back, so our trip home could proceed on schedule. However, it’s just possible the actual translation of what I suggested José do to his mother has set Spanish/American relations back by centuries, and we’ll actually need to make a quick getaway much sooner. (Which, I think, is totally the Hub’s fault for not playing along when I suggested telling José we were Canadian…)

Still, I was sad to leave Spain. There’s still so much there to see. And, clearly, SO many new words to learn.