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How Not Knowing Spanish Caused Me to Accidentally Eat a Rabbit

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If it weren’t for my need for food, I would probably never practice my Spanish.

While traveling through South America, speaking Spanish is directly tied to getting food. At a restaurant, if I’m unable to communicate what dish I want, then I don’t get to eat. I can’t think of a better motivator.

But sometimes this horribly backfires.

Like the other night, while ordering food at a Peruvian restaurant in Buenos Aires called Chan Chan, I thought I was ordering french fries with spicy sauce. I saw the word “aji,” which I knew was a spicy sauce, and the word “papas,” which I knew meant potatoes. I then ignored all the other words surrounding it because I was super hungry, and I couldn’t understand them anyway. Big mistake.

When what looked like a chicken thigh with rice and boiled potatoes arrived, I thought the waitress had gotten my order wrong.

No he pedido esto,” I said. (“I didn’t order this.”)

The waitress insisted that I did order this, so I ate it.

The suspicion that this was NOT chicken arose when I saw a strange, thin bone sticking straight out of it. Hm…that didn’t look like a chicken bone.

The texture seemed like chicken, but the aftertaste was very gamey. I thought maybe it was just bad chicken.

I continued to eat it.

All of it.

I didn’t really think about it until the next day, when I went back to that same restaurant, and my mom mentioned, “Hey, I read online that they serve rabbit here.”

My heart stopped. I grabbed the menu and looked a little more closely at what I had ordered the night before.

The first word? “Conejo.” I looked it up in Google translate.

Google Translate conejo means rabbit



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Amy is the founder of The Wherever Writer. An avid traveler, she has visited Machu Picchu twice, run across the world’s widest avenue in Buenos Aires, and eaten her fill of gourmet cheeses in Paris.

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