Aboard the short bus with wheels that went round and round, the Traveling Ten (TT) started to introduce each other in Spanish. With a warehouse of syllables, this language took all day to get an idea across. The Argentines were the worst, as their motor mouths rolled a lot of ‘r’ sounds off their tongues as if they were idling. These 2 energetic ladies were 2 of the 3 people on board that spoke only Spanish. The rest ranged in English from very fluent to butchered English. They all carried some sort of accent so that means they all picked up English later in life. The best was the Brazilian brother from Sao Paulo, who was a judge. Both he and his sister came from affluence, and someone spent a ton of money on the two. Impeccable clothes, perfect teeth, every hair in place, and an encyclopedia of knowledge to boot. He spoke 4 languages and his sister, 3. The lawyers from Columbia were also well versed in English because their careers dealt in international trade. Of the 2 Mexicans, the older man spoke just enough broken English to get by while his younger friend from work spoke none. Joe, who spoke the international language of English, thanks to their old empires and America’s warring ways, had no training in Spanish. A typical ugly American. Early on, he hovered around the Chilean teacher and the tour guide interpreter. It seems the bus driver from Columbia also spoke English but did not like Joe very much. At the time, Columbia was in a drug war with America, and guilt by association dictated the standoffs. As the bus drifted through small historic towns, the group exited the bus for 15-to-25-minute stops while the interpreter gave history lessons in 2 languages. With an entire day moving through centuries of war, art and religion, the night was spent at Merida. Excellent food, quality rooms, and libraries of history awaited the guests. The TT intermingled and alliances were welded. Within 1 day, this small army became a platoon of soldiers in a foreign land.

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