Top 5 Spanish Phrases for your next Vacation

The first sentence I ever learned in Spanish was “me duele la cabeza porque he bebido demasiado.” This sentence has served lots of purpose over my life when entertainers at hotels bother me to play games or when I simply want to lay out. It’s always an accepted excuse. The meaning? “My head hurts because I drank too much!” Thanks to my cousin for teaching me that one!

Other than this helpful sentence here are some phrases that are helpful to know while traveling:

  1. Hola, Buenos Dias! ¿Cómo está? – Hi, good morning! How are you?

         Bien – Good; Mal – Bad; Más o menos – Okay

  1. ¿Habla inglés? –Do you speak English?

          No hablo Español  – I don’t speak Spanish

Finding someone who speaks English (and there are many English speakers in these countries) will save you lots of time in trying to find what you are looking for.

  1. Yo quiero/ yo necesito un…. Taxi, hotel, internet/wifi etc. – I want/ I need a ….

Many of our verbs are similar or the same from English to Spanish so you can often get away with the Spanish “I want” or “I need” followed by the English verb and they will understand or “Entiende” en Espanol.

  1. ¿Dónde está? – Where is?

         ¿Dónde está el baño?” – Where is the bathroom?

Equally as important is – “No Papel de Bano” – there is no toilet paper

Much like the previous phrase, “where is?” in Spanish can often be followed by the English word. For example “where is the restaurant Senor Frogs?” – “Donde Esta el resaturante Senor Frogs?” or “where is the bank” – “Done esta un bank” works even though the translation for bank is “banco.” In most cases, they will understand what you are looking for when you use the English word.

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta? – How much?

         Muy caro – Too expensive

It’s important to know how to ask “how much?” before you get into a taxi, when you’re booking a hotel or when you are purchasing an item. Many Spanish speaking countries allow bartering while shopping so knowing how to say “that’s too expensive” is a key phrase to know as well.  Taxis are also known for jacking up the price for tourists and may be more inclined to reduce the price if you know that it’s usually cheaper (if you’ve gone that route before), if you say that’s too expensive and if you speak in Spanish (at least in my experience).

Happy Travels!

What it’s like to Work in the Caribbean

Every time I went on vacation I looked at the entertainers and wanted to be them! I would always ask how they got their job and what it was like. It looked like a dream to me. Live on the beach, meet new guests every week and play games and sports all day.

I was told about an agency, Get Up & Go Global a few years before I started actually looking into moving South. When my life got stagnant and I felt it was time for a change, I emailed the company and 10 days later I was off! They sent me job postings for different hotels and places in Mexico and I accepted one of the first ones they sent in Puerto Vallarta.

Life as an entertainer is fun! If you don’t speak Spanish very well you’re going to want to move there for North America’s winter so your guests are mostly English speaking. I moved there during our summer which was a challenge, but forced me to learn Spanish, and fast! I spent all day asking my colleagues “Como se dice … en espanol?” or “how do you say …. In Spanish?”.

I lived in a motel up the street from the hotel I worked at with all of the other entertainers. It was a perfect place with a pool. My roommate was from the States and we hit it off. We had to be at the hotel for 7am each morning where we could eat breakfast from the main buffet. Breakfast was followed by a team meeting assigning us to our activities for the day.

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A standard day for me was yoga at 8am, beach volleyball at 9,  bicycle tour to the dolphins at 10, water polo at 11, water aerobics at 12, dance practice at 1, lunch at some point in and around there (either at the staff lunch room which was breakfast leftovers covered in heavy mayonnaise or with a guest at one of the hotel restaurants), water polo or a crazy game at 3 (drinking contests or pool races guests vs staff and I was one of the only girls, so that always got interesting!), beach volleyball at 4 and rock climbing at 5. We had a break from 5-7 when I would almost always do a workout in my room. We went back to the hotel for 7 where we could have dinner from the main buffet and then we had to promote the evening show. We walked around the buffet in costume telling people IMG_9281where and when the show was and then danced in the first show at 8:30. We would do a second show at 10:00. After the show we had an activity in the lobby like karaoke or casino night and then certain nights of the week we would have to accompany guests to the hotel disco.

On nights when we didn’t have to go to the disco, and even after some nights when we did, we would take guests out downtown. This is where we made a bit of money as the clubs paid commission. This part of the job is male dominated and it’s hard to take the lead as a female so I usually just joined for the party and made a small portion of the commission. We still entered and drank for free all night and I was happy with that! This was my life 6 days a week. On my day off I’d take my laundry to the laundromat by biking for 30 minutes each way with a garbage bag full of dirty clothes on my lap. I’d go to the beach, attempt to surf, go for an authentic Mexican meal or have drinks with friends!

I made $2.10/hour and had to ask guests to leave me shampoo and toiletries as I couldn’t afford much out there. Yet I lived without a care in the world. I was so happy every single day. I woke up to the sun shining, played and was active every day with new people every week. I had so much more energy being that active then I ever do sitting at a desk all day. I met people I’m still in touch with today, 7 years later. I learned a new language, I danced in shows and I am not a trained dancer and I enjoyed everything life had to offer that had nothing to do with material possessions. I miss all of that!

At home in Toronto I was more on the superficial side, always wanting the nicest clothes, bags, shoes and car. In Mexico I got to simply be me. I stripped away the layers of insecurity and materialism and the feeling that I needed to impress or keep up with others and I basked in the joy that my soul felt. I found love, laughter and a never-ending wonder in Mexico and I left a piece of my heart there.

I’d never do it again, I don’t think my 30 year old body could handle those hours but I will never regret doing it and I would recommend it to anyone who’s young and looking for an adventure!

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Feeling as free & happy as can be with my friend and fellow entertainer, Carlo