As you know I do speak one or two languages. Well, three really. Ehm, four. Hold on, five. And I understand a sixth and I can mumble a bit in a seventh. I am getting confused now, so I will have to go back and count properly.
Dutch and English (that's two). Norwegian and German (four), French (five). I understand Frysian (my Dad's language and yes, it's a real one). And I get along fine with a few words of Italian. Like ordering food and asking the way. Basic though, very basic. So seven-ish.
Anyhoo, yesterday a cruise ship arrived. Filled with about 2,500 passengers. Who spoke a language not on my list. Spanish! Well, I know hola, buenos dias and adios. And I think I would be able to order a beer in Spanish, but didn't think it would be appropriate since I was driving.
My go-to language when dealing with Spanish speakers is Italian. Close enough to actually get a look of recognition from most. As long as I pick the right words of course.
The passengers came on board and asked how much it would cost. Their English wasn't that great, my Spanish non-existent, but saying it in Italian worked fine. By the time they took the bus back (same group, plus a whole bunch more), I was able to mention that they had to use their seat belts in Italian. Something along the (very badly pronounced and not even proper Italian I guess) lines of 'sinture di sicurezza'. Everyone understood though and there were clicks everywhere.
When we got back to town, I could feel the tension in the bus. Where do we get off, where exactly are we? So, I said in a nice friendly holler (I am a great hollerer): 'prossima stop, sentro o barca' (meaning next stop: center and boat). Whether it was good or bad Italian/Spanish I don't know, but everybody thought it was brilliant and I got a round of applause and most of them got off.