I think that this is the 10th time I’ve been in Mexico in less than a year. I love it here. The people. The food. The weather. And my favorite new drink ~ Michelada.
I’ve had the advantage of traveling on business and staying in some pretty nice places. And the “work” has been mainly touring retail shops in department stores after they have been installed. I’ve visited a couple of factories. And I’ve been to the corporate offices of Liverpool Department Stores which is a huge chain here in Mexico – think Macy’s.
But yesterday was ‘poco loco’. I started my day at Liverpool Santa Fe (which is in an upscale section of Mexico City. I was ‘invited’ by my customer at Jones New York® to join a merchandise and marketing training session. This is not really my gig (I’m the fixture guy) but I agreed to attend. I guess it’s hard to say no to a customer.
So there I was with about 100 Mexican merchandise coordinators and apparel specialists (whatever in hell that is). Everyone of course was speaking Spanish – everyone except me. The Director of Marketing for Jones New York® is bi-lingual and most people assumed I was as well. Actually some of my encounters were quite amusing. After some rapid-fire Spanish dialog, I would just meekly say “No habla Espanol”. I’m not certain what the response to that always was but I think it was usually Spanish for “WHY ARE YOU HERE?” I definitely heard “stupido” which I think means “You seem nice but you should go home.”
Later that morning I “helped” with a marketing presentation. The Jones® Marketing Director addressed the crowd, while I sat in a control booth and operated the computer that advanced the PowerPoint slides in her presentation which were then projected on 3 large screens in the auditorium. It sounds easy but it’s only easy if you speak Spanish. I did my best. Let’s just leave it at that. After the PowerPoint presentation I was allowed to take a seat in the auditorium for the Q & A portion of the program. I wasn’t expecting to have to answer any questions but once again I was wrong. And then it came – MY QUESTION. Rocio one of the Liverpool ‘Spanish speakers’ looked at me and said “Denis can you answer that?” I sort of understood something about maniqui (mannequins) and vestidas (dresses) and mesas (tables) and damas grande (large women). And when I gave my answer it was very very funny – I just have no idea what I said. Dios mio!
Later in the day back at my hotel I got trapped between floors in the elevator. After pushing the ‘EMERGENCIA’ button and saying very loudly “NO HABLA ESPANOL” “I’M TRAPPED! I’M TRAPPED! HELP! HELP!” The voice on the speaker asked for my hotel room number. Seriously??? Why did the voice need my room number? Then the voice said “okay Denis, we’ll get you out.” After about 5 minutes which seemed like 5 hours to a crazy, claustrophobic, uno-lingual speaker, the elevator finally moved. When I stepped out of the elevator it was about 10 inches above the floor and of course I nearly fell. What a day!
At dinner ‘esta noches’ I actually was quite fluent in Espanol. Of course the Micheladas helped. And my guardian angel is always watching over me (his is not an easy job!).