It was 1.5 hours from the boarder to Montreal and we needed to stop for gas so we chose an exit and found a gas station. The price said $0.99! WOW, that’s cheap… until you realize that’s per liter not per gallon. There gas is roughly the same price as ours.
So we pulled up to the pump and I ran my card, the screen was entirely in French so I hoped it would be fairly easy to figure out, but instead the screen blinked and reset. I ran the card again and it did the same thing! Damn! I was going to have to try my French sooner than I expected and my mind just went blank.
Before I could turn around the girl from the counter came out and said, “Ellou”
“Do you speak English?”, I blerted out? My glorious moment to use what I had learned was now gone.
“Only a little”, she said, “Are you trying to use an American Credit Card?”
Obviously her English lesson was much better than my French lesson!
“Yes.” I was trying not to overwhelm her with my infinite knowledge of the English language.
“The machine won’t recognise your card, go ahead and pump your gas then come inside.” she told me in perfect English and almost no accent.
“A little English…” I thought as the tank filled, who was she kidding? I had been defeated and I was a little worried about my next attempt, so when we decided to grab a quick snack for the rest of the drive at the Won-Ton Express next door I proudly said, “I’ll stay here with the dogs, you can go inside.” I totally chickened out.
Sandra didn’t miss a beat, she walked up to the counter and just started with English, there wasn’t any question about what language to use. It was a pretty good tactic to remember for later.
We continued our drive to Montreal, going over our French until we were pretty confident. We decided we didn’t want to be those obnoxious tourists that didn’t even make an effort. We have enough of those back in Orlando, so we know what the locals think.