House style

That was the first time on my trip that I spoke Spanish. After this, nearly every conversation I had was in Spanish. But in the course of this narrative, I shall try to avoid affecting Spanish words and will translate all conversations into English. I have no patience with macaronic sentences that go, “¡Caramba! said the campesino, eating his empanada at the estancia…”

Paul Theroux, The Old Patagonian Express

An admirable decision. Except I don’t know the English for empanada (’embreaded’?). And each time local tarts (no, not empanadas, silly) address Theroux with a ‘Hey, Mister!’, I am jolted out of Mexico, and plonked in 1930s MGM Brooklyn.

So unless you can send me suggestions to replace taco, mariachi, ceviche, and tamale, you’ll have to put up with my hard-won Spanish on this site.

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