The whole learning Portuguese in less than 7 hours things was never going to go well, I realise, too late.
It was short notice, and in the last week, running around in circles, I have been worrying about worrying about the present worry of making time to even think in English, let alone learn how to stumble through out-loud life in another tongue, so though the phrasebooks have been piling up in my bag and the cheat sheets blocking up my inbox, I got to last night, and still couldnt say a single word.
I could spell, them, yes. I had read them enough times. But I knew Id be too scared to say them out loud. And thats where I fall into bother. I tend to think that if I havent had the common decency to learn a countrys language properly, then I shouldnt embarass myself by trying, because it just seems rude.
Mainly this ends up with me eating bread and cheese on my hotel balcony because Im too scared to go into a restaurant and abuse them with my uncivil ignorance, or, on more than a few occasions, eating nothing at all because I cant find a supermarket not to be scared of.
Welcome to this Pay-As-You-Go flight to Lisbon today. Im Clarissa, And I and my crack team will be serving you with anything you could possibly desire this morning. You can find a price list for all the things you could possibly desire in the seat pocket in front of you. Im pleased to tell you that there are some unfilled seats with extra legroom available this morning, so if you would like to fill one of those, please talk to one of the crew, who take Sterling, Euro, Visa and Innuendo.
We have a full breakfast menu, the price scale of which can be found wrapped around your safety card. Your stewards will soon be passing through the cabin with a full bar trolley offering, beers, wine, spirits, softdrinksandbottledwater. You can find the full list bar prices in your complimentary magazine, also int he seat pocket. Please note that for those wanting to celebrate the beginning of their holiday, there are bottles of champagne. Full bottles for £30, half bottles for £25, and Quarter bottles of the same champagne for £22.80.
For the love of Chirst, I thought to myself. Its 6am. Who WOULD?
I was, it transpired, underestimating some of my fellow passengers.
So by the end of last night, I realised I had forgotten how to go to bed, had a potential two hours sleep ahead of me, and no idea how to pronounce any Portuguese words properly, and thus no idea how to do anything.
So I downloaded an audiobook, which, as planned, I listened to on the plane. Over and over. It was forty minutes long, I listened to it four times.
Listened. This may, on reflection, be a slight overstatement.
It was certainly ON four times, and I assiduously woke up inbetween each loop and pressed play.
Every time I pressed play, I told myself I would stay awake, and didnt.
And then I hoped that perhaps I was learning subliminally.
Several Portuguese passangers passed comment on the young people, shouting at the end of the bus, trundling along and carrying us from plane to terminal. I found I couldnt understand what they were saying, and instead concentrated on staring at my shoes and, I dont know, becoming German or something. Or Dutch. Or even Norwegian.
Yeah yeah mate, yeah! Write down some names of clubs we can go to in Lisbone, yeah, mate? Are you both Portuguese? Where do you live in London? You like bum sex, dont you? HA HA HA HA! And how much is weed here, yeah? Have you got any numbers from people you can give us? What for an ounce, maybe 80 Euros, Yeah? What do you mean you dont know? How come this bus isnt moving? Can anyone ask the driver? We should totally have a party in our villa. I cant believe how much champagne we just drank, man, were crazy. Its got a tennis court. Oy, Gringo mate, why arent we there yet, yeah? Do you think anyone will notice if I just light up in here, Im dying for a fag. ARE yous gay?
Went the noise, split between eight people and pitched at about 570 decibels.
A bit lost, a bit tired, and a bit alone, and I wanted the representatives of the United Kingdom to be a bit quieter right now, as we seemed to be heading for no points at all. Certainly with the Portuguese jury.
In between feeding cake shop tips into my microphone Lucy helped me with my Portuguese. She made me march up to salespeople and ask how much (and stood behind to inform me how much once they said it – I had been brave but was still clueless).
What about coke? Do you know anyone who can get us anyone who can get us any good sniffy drugs, mate?
Shhhh, Bones. Everyone might be listening
Dont be stupid. Were abroad! No one on the bus understands English anyway, do they?
We still hadnt reached the terminal. All the people from the flight from London, 98.8% understood English better than the speakers themselves seemed to stared at the floor, stared at the terminal, stared at the feet of the speakers, but never into their faces.
I have hello down. And thank you Im great at. How are you Im fine with, and Im fine thanks I remember 6 times out of 10.
But the one that Lucy helped me with most I have literally written on my hand phonetically in case of ununderstood questions, language emergency and general embarassment of being foriegn in foriegn parts.