Foo Fighters – Skin And Bones
While waiting for the bus home from work, I noticed that my bus-stop-comrades were clutching to a travel book printed in French, and that they were talking to each other in French. I wondered to myself how good their English was, so I tailed them into the bus when it arrived.
Their English wasn’t that great, they were struggling valiantly but the driver was having trouble understanding them. Having been to France and being impressed by the hospitality and politeness there, I felt the need to return the favour on behalf of NZ, even though my French is, well, godawful. The conversation, mixed with a bunch of pardon? (both French and English meaning) went roughly like this:
Me: Excusez-moi, bonjour, en Francais? (Excuse me, hi, in French?)
Them: Oui, sil vous plait! (Yes, please!)
Me: Uhhh…. Deux billet pour Gare Du Wellington… et…. Courtenay Place….? (Uhhh…. Two tickets for Wellington station… or…. Courtenay Place….?)
(In retrospect, this should have been ou, not et which means and. I always confuse it with avec, which means with.)
Them: Oui, Courtenay Place, sil vous plait (Yes, Courtenay Place please)
Me (to the driver): Hey mate, two tickets for Courtenay Place please
Tickets are issued, money is exchanged.
Them: Merci boucoup (very thankfully, as if I’d just saved their lives) (thankyou very much)
Me: Je vous en prie. C’est tres bien? (very politely) (You’re welcome. All is good?)
Them: Oui! (yes)
That was really, really stretching my French ability, it’s been several months since I last spoke in French and I’m sure I messed up, but not enough to confuse them. And judging by their smiles they were pleased that a New Zealander had helped them out. Glad I could do my bit for my country.
When I reached my stop, I bade them Au Revoir and went on my way. I wished I could speak more than basic French so that I could wish them good luck, or offer them some advice, but I’m not that cool just yet. Maybe if I find the time to resume my French studies. It’s interesting that what I’ve learnt so far has stuck though 🙂