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Mi Hermano

July 9, 2008
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For my brother’s school he takes a variety of classes. Skiing in the back-country of Colorado for avalanche detection and prevention, whitewater kayaking in Wyoming for river ecology, and now studying the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Coming from a family of Nomads I’d expect no less. Anyhow, his class is over, and now he’s on a month long tour traveling up Central America. I’m very jealous of his travels, and hope to join him in some venturing soon. 
Anyhow, here is a story that was sent to me from his travel companion Max, which was too good not to share. Enjoy!
PS. Matt, aka ‘Matty’, is my brother.

Matt (my traveling companion) and I took up a table near the back of an open air bar in the heart of puerto viejo, a small fishing and banana farming town near La Selve Biological Station. We were drinking an Imperial (or 2 or 4), and half watching the television play American music videos from the 1980´s while the locals at the bar were doing the same. They were all of a more advanced age than we, mostly in their 40´s or 50´s, and having a fine time chatting loudly. After an hour or so, the music video for Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen came on, and the mood changed markedly. The men began yipping and clapping. This was followed by We Will Rock You, also by Queen. The words were  attempted for this number, but it ended up sounding more like mumbling leading up to an emphatic “ROCK YOU!!”. We joined in from across the room, and were surprised that the ENTIRE Queen catalogue was played. Every song. Songs I didn´t even know, and even more that I was surprised to see a video for. These guys loved it. Admittedly, we did too. We´d had a few beers by now, so i went off to el baño, passing the bar on the way. I never made it to the bathroom. The handshaking and backslapping lasted at least 20 minutes, and by the end I had many new friends, especially Henry and Jose. They really liked me. I escaped back to the table, as Matt laughed. Soon enough, a round of beers arrived at our table, courtesy of Henry and Jose. They were both stout little guys, with hands that looked to be adorned with 5 chubby thumbs, instead of the requisite 1 thumb to 4 fingers. The introduced themselves, again, and for the first time to Matty. Now Matty does not speak Spanish. Not even a little bit. He does know ´hola´ and ´gracias´and, i was to learn that he knows ´Me llamo´, which means ´my name is´. That’s where it stops. So when Henri thrust out his fat little hand, Matty took it and said “Me llamo Matt”. Well done. had he stopped there. He didn´t. The phrase meant to follow ´me llamo´ is ´como te llamas´, or some variation thereof. He could have said that. But he didn´t. He tried to. He really did. His only mistake was in omitting one word, Como, and mispronouncing another, llamas. Who could have known that those little mistakes could have led to an entirely, I mean ENTIRELY, different meaning. What he said was, “Te Amo?”. Translation: “I Love You?”. This led to a brief moment of silence, which seemed anything but brief. I think there was confusion, not only because of the unexpected words used, but also because he formed the phrase as a question. If someone asked me “I Love You?”, I probably wouldn´t know how to answer. I tried to chime in, I really, really did, but it was too late. Henri got red and started shaking his finger at Matt, Matt had no idea what the hell was going on, and Jose had started bouncing up and down, pointing at Matt, and positively singing “GAY! GAY! GAY!”. I told Matt what he had said. i almost wish I han´t, because he went 4 shades of red before settling on something between brick and magenta. Henry and Jose hustled out of there in a hurry. We waited to make sure they didn´t think better of it and come to teach us a lesson, and left as well, never, ever to return. Ever. Good times had by all.

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