The junior backpacker was so young and fresh he was almost shiney. He approached the bar and asked, “Is there any chance of hot water around here? I could do with a proper scrub after that awful bus ride,” he added apologetically.
But it was too much, too fast, for our Mayan Bartender, whose English is good, but not great. He replied cautiously: “Hot water?”
“Yes, hot water! Any chance? Around here?” he made a circular motion with his hand to further elucidate ‘around here’ (a la Peter Kaye).
“Hot water,” confirmed the bartender, “for sure, yes!” and he turned, picked up a coffee cup and began to fill it with hot water from the coffee machine.
“Oh. I’m getting a cup.” Said the backpacker, a little crestfallen.
The junior backpacker and his rosy-cheeked companions conferred quietly. There were murmurs of ‘I don’t think he understood... how should we...? ...ask again! ...Why don’t you ask!’ and I watched with interest as the Bartender returned with a steaming mug of water.
Do I need to add that the backpackers were all English? The bartender placed the mug on the bar and the Junior Backpacker smiled warmly,
“That’s marvellous!” he said “thanks so much!” and with that, the young adventurers wandered away – dusty and dejected.
The bartender turned to me, “English” he said, “like you. I think he must make tea,” he added.
Before you ask – yes. I do know where you can get a hot shower around here (making circular motion with the hand). But a cold shower does the little blighters good!