Austin joined me for a stroll to seek some creme glacee on Sunday evening after spending the afternoon as spectators at the opening parade for Carnival in downtown Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. On our walk home, we had greeted most people we met along the way with a friendly, "Bonsoir." In most cases, we received friendly responses in kind. Emboldened by this experience, we greeted a cruiser leaving the showers, and he seemed to fumble back with a "Hello." Oops! I remarked to Austin that it's challenging to know what language is spoken by the people we meet in a French-only country during tourist season.
Austin openly wondered how we were all going to manage when we get to Puerto Rico and have to speak Spanish. He suggested we should just start getting into the habit of greeting people with, "Bonsoir, good night, buenas noches," to cover all the bases.
So the next individual we met on the path was greeted in this way. To my great surprise, the greeting was received with unbridled enthusiasm by a warm and friendly gentleman, clearly pleased to hear his native language spoken in francophone-land. He spun around, grinning from ear to ear, and emphatically (with appropriately accompanying hand gestures) wished both Austin and I "Buenas Noches" in return.
We all chuckled as I rushed to clarify that our Spanish repertoire is limited, but it was a lovely, spirit-lifting encounter, nonetheless.