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My wife and I recently returned from a trip to the Sacred Valley / Cuzco Peru, mostly to visit Machu Picchu, and I have already written my 5 things to bring to Machu Picchu and 4 tips for taking the train to Machu Picchu.  During our time in the Sacred Valley, we also took several day trips to visit things like the salineras of Maras, Moray, and other architectural sites (SEE: 7 things to do in the Sacred Valley BESIDES Machu Picchu).  We stayed for 5 nights at the Tambo del Inka hotel in Urubamba, and there were lots of things to do in Urubamba as well.

Speaking Spanish in Peru

They speak Spanish in Peru (obviously), and in Urubamba itself, there were not very many people that spoke English at all.  Many of the staff at our hotel itself did speak decent English but out in the town itself it was all Spanish all the time.  Same thing went with all of our drivers as we went throughout the Sacred Valley

I served 2 years as a Mormon missionary in the Dominican Republic, and at that time, I was completely fluent in Spanish.  But…. that was 20 years ago.  And while I had some reasons to speak Spanish soon after I returned home, I haven’t really spoken Spanish much at all in the past 15 years or so.

Still, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to communicate decently in Spanish while in Peru (SEE: Surviving Peru with my gringo Spanish).  Yes, there were definitely times when I was missing some vocabulary and/or stumbling over exactly what I was trying to say, but for the most part, I was able to understand and make myself understood.

Explaining miles and points in Peru

Until the subject turned around to miles and points.  Carolyn and I were sitting in a local restaurant, having a little lomo saltado

It was just a mom and pop shop (literally when we got there, they had to call the guy who turned out to be our “waiter” from across the street where he was hanging out), and since we were not really in prime tourist season, we were the only ones there.  So we had a fairly long conversation with him. We talked about family, travel and a variety of subjects.

When he found out that we were staying at the Tambo del Inka hotel, he commented on how expensive it was.  And it’s true, even compared to other Western-style hotels, the TdI is definitely a “luxury” hotel.

(SEE ALSO: How hotels define themselves – what’s the difference between upscale and upper upscale? )

And while I understand that even though I don’t consider myself “rich”, comparatively to most Peruvians I probably am.  So I was wanting to explain that we hadn’t paid cash for the hotel rooms.  But where to even start, given that most local Peruvians don’t even USE credit cards.

I ended up starting with talking about credit cards, and how every dollar that you spend on the credit card got you “points”.  And that there were tricks to getting lots of these points, and you could use them to pay for hotels or other travel.

I’m not sure I got the message through 🙂

What about you?  Have you ever tried to explain miles and points in a foreign language?  How’d it go?

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