The Spanish noun, unlike its English counterpart, has a gender. Each noun is either masculine or feminine. Almost all nouns that end in "o" are masculine and almost all nouns that end in "a" are feminine. There are, of course, exceptions or it wouldn't be any fun. El planeta (the planet) is a masculine noun and nouns that end in "ista" refer to professions and are masculine when referring specifically to a man. Feminine nouns that begin with "a" take the masculine definite article "el" rather than the feminine "la" when the first syllable is stressed and it's difficult to predetermine the gender of nouns ending in "e" but they tend to be masculine except when they aren't.
Gabble, gabble, gabble, gabble, gabble.
"I hate it when this happens!" Shelley moaned to Brian.
We'd just tried to withdraw some money from a bank machine and not for the first time, it didn't work. Brian conjectured what with all the financial woes that are going on in the world, perhaps our bank in Canada had gone kaput.
We trudged home and picked up Shelley's bank card and trudged back to a machine to see if that would work. It did.
"I'll keep your card in my wallet from now on" Brian told Shelley.
"Oh....!" her patience level almost totally depleted. "It's a small price to pay, having to trudge home compared to loosing both of the cards at the same time if someone swiped your wallet!"
A quick look at our account on internet showed 2 withdrawals. A long telephone call to Canada netted us a reference number and the promise they would look into it.
"It's not the money" Shelley explained to Brian "It's the thought of being without any money so far away."
Time to dump some significant cash into an Ecuadorian bank account.
Note: What with trudging back and forth to bank machines and internet shops and Porta telephone outlets, we managed to fill so much of our day that we didn't have time for our Spanish lesson.
So...we're sitting at ExPat night and Shelley notices a couple looking a little bit lost. "Pull up that table over there" she directs them.
ExPat night is noisy, what with several people being there, the blues music and any outdoor wind noises as it's held on a patio. You end up talking mostly with your neighbour simply because you can hear them. The new couple was from Atlanta, Georgia and at one point the fellow told Shelley that Washington, D.C. was the capital of the free world.
"Well, there's an awful lot more of the free world out there" Shelley retorted. "You're such an American" she said as she slapped him on the shoulder in a friendly manner.
Later, walking home Shelley told Brian, "I knew it was drugs!" Seems during the course of their conversation Shelley had asked the fellow from Atlanta what he did for a living. This was after she'd explained her marijuana vs guns theory showing the difference between Canadians and Americans.
"Well, in America you'd go to jail if you were caught with anything more than 28 grams" he told her.
"What's 28 grams?"
After explaining volume and weight to Shelley she retorted, "Well, in BC they've even got a political party called the Marijuana Party, and once a year a bunch of people go to the old Court House and smoke on the lawn. But we sure don't like your guns coming up over the border!"
"You're right, we'd take our guns and arrest everybody on that lawn" he told her.
"I told him my theory that anyone who didn't want to tell me what they did for a living, had to be involved with drugs" Shelley explained to Brian. "Why not tell me?" I told him. "I sure felt uncomfortable when he confessed he was a DEA agent" she went on. "He seemed like a nice man. I hope he didn't take me wrong" she went on rather worriedly. "Do you think he was teasing?"