Buenos día, bon jour, boun giorno and bula.
Since it’s international languages week when we’re being encouraged to widen our linguistic horizons by branching out from our mother tongue, we might spare a thought for people who come here without being able to understand English.
A couple of women ahead of me in the queue at the airport bank were trying to pay departure tax.
The woman serving them asked for their passports. they looked blank.
She repeated what she’d just said, a little more slowly and a little more loudly.
They looked at each other then back at the woman serving them.
She asked for their passports again even more slowly.
It was obvious the women didn’t have a clue what she was saying.
I showed them my passport and the light went on in their eyes.
We can’t expect people working at airports to speak every language they might encounter from their customers. But how difficult would it be to have a sign showing in pictures what was required when paying the tax?