Some things just don't get translated due to context clues. For example, it is almost impossible to order a cup of hot tea. My latest (but not only) example of this was while Jon and Taneya were here. We were out for dinner and I asked for a cup of té. People here do not drink tea with their dinner so the waiter didn't understand what I was saying. He assumed I was making pleasant small talk that he didn't understand and therefore I got no tea. I asked again, he didn't understand, I spelled it, still no entiendes. Taneya was saying "bebida" (beverage). I was saying aqua calliente con tè. Nothing. He went to get the manager, and by then we had written it down. Té. Oh! Tè! Then the waiter brought me my tea and very politely said "disculpa" (excuse me). I think I am the only person he has ever served a cup of hot tea to at dinner time.
Today I was buying a small gift for my granddaugher Leah. The nice man asked me what the name of my granddaugher was. I said "Leah". He asked me again, very clearly.
Now a woman joined in, and in her few english words explained to me that he was asking the name of my nieta.
Ella nombre es "Leah".
They very politely gave up. It took me hours to figure out that they thought I was saying something like "it read", the past tense of "to read" - leía. The name Leah is not used here, so they did they best they could.
Today I was paying for groceries and the total was 25.27. I gave her a hundred peso note plus 30 centavos. My change was supposed to be 75.03, but they don't give pennies, so I expected just 75 pesos back. She gave me 75.10. I gave her back the 10 centavos because that seemed more fair to me. Her response was a very sweet, somewhat confused, "gracias". When Ken and I left the store we figured out that she thought I had tipped her 10 centavos! Good grief, how embarassing! Who tips a dime?
This context clue thing works both ways. The first time I was asked "un pago?" when using a credit card, I had no idea what they were asking me, even though I understood the words "one pay". I just didn't have reference for such a question. But here it is very common to charge an item and have it charged to your credit card in several equal payments. I can't imagine how that system plays out by the end of the credit year.
Also, just an aside. Ken and I rode an elevator up and down twice the other day because we couldn't figure out how to get out of it.