The Waitress From Another Planet: Blogging About a Day on Tenerife Part 2

Posted: May 17, 2010 in Food, Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

The second ‘odd’ incident of the day was a nothing event really, but was still pretty bizarre.

In between our Tenerife Magazine meeting and the Pirate FM launch, we arranged to take some photos at Le Bistro D’Alain in Los Cristianos and grabbed a hasty meal – not unfortunately at the Bistro which wasn’t actually open yet.

We chose a place near the Bistro and sat at a table. The waitress, who looked like Carla from Cheers, appeared pretty

Carla from 'Cheers' or a waitress in Los Cristianos?

promptly, handed us the menus and then asked us a question in something that sounded like Spanish, but which neither of us could decipher. We asked her to repeat it. Again, neither of us could make it out so she mimed drinking. ‘Jeez, we’re having a seriously bad Spanish day,’ I thought.

She brought us our drinks and then got her notebook out to take our food order:

“Pasta con mozzarella y albahaca,” Andy ordered.

The waitress frowned and made a noise that sounded like a cross between ‘que’ and ‘eh’. Andy repeated it and got the same reaction from the waitress, so she tried a variation of pronunciations in case it was the way she was saying it. But the waitress just couldn’t understand. In the end Andy pointed the dish out on the menu, but even then it took the waitress a few moments to figure it out.

By this time I wasn’t looking forward to giving her my order as mine had wurst in it and I wasn’t exactly sure how Spaniards, who have trouble with the old ‘W’ sound, would say that anyway.

My fears were valid as we entered comedy sketch territory. I tried to help the bemused looking waitress out with a selection of different pronunciations ranging from a simple ‘woorst’ to ‘w-uh-rst’ to an elaborate ‘eh-woo-er-est-eh‘ which was probably accompanied by a bit of unattractive gurning as I tried to wrap my tongue around the word, but no joy. She still didn’t seem any wiser when I pointed it out and took the menu away for a confab with the chef.

We’ve experienced situations in Los Cristianos in the past where we speak to waiters in Spanish but they only ever respond in English. However this was something new.  Carla looked Spanish and spoke something that sounded like Spanish, but not Castilian or even a particularly heavy-accented Canarian Spanish. And what’s more she didn’t seem to understand Spanish – I realise we don’t sound as though we come from Seville, but we don’t usually have a problem being understood.

I know there are differences between the north and south of Tenerife, but up until that point I didn’t think it extended to a whole new language.

As we waited, a couple of girls and a man sat at a table near us. The girls spoke English but it clearly wasn’t their first language; the man was Spanish. We were intrigued to see what would happen when they ordered…and were delighted and relieved when they tried to order in fluent Spanish and the exact same charade was played out with them. By the time the waitress left them they looked as completely as bemused by her performance as we had been. We could understand exactly what they’d asked for, but the waitress once again didn’t have a clue and at no time did she even attempt to try another language. In fact she behaved as though she’d never set eyes on the menu before. I wondered if it was her first day on the job.

We weren’t really surprised when she got both our and the other table’s orders wrong.

Although the food wasn’t exactly what Andy ordered, it was decently cooked and the entertainment value was compensation. So if you fancy a meal served by the waitress from another planet, the restaurant is opposite Mestizo’s in Los Cristianos.

Another planet? Hmmm, come to think of it, maybe she was just stoned.

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