My “Guac Moment”

April 23, 2013 1:30 pm

The first step to getting used to being surrounded by accents is accepting that you are the one with the accent.

The day after cooking my very first Cape Town meal — I went Indian, story of course, and Hyderabadi, to be specific: kheema (ground beef), tamatey ki chutney (tomato chutney), and aloo subzi (spiced potatoes) — I decided I’d make nachos with the leftover kheema (dear non-Hyderabadi friends: no, I do not mean Qeema). I went to Woolworths, the local Stop & Shop-meets-Macy’s (think Marks & Spencer, if you’re familiar with the grocery story/department store hybrid on the other side of the pond), and grabbed chips, salsa, and sour cream without a problem. But where was the guacamole? I roamed the aisles to no avail. The people who work there are typically very friendly and helpful, so I approached someone to inquire.

Me: “Excuse me, do you know where I could find guacamole?”

Him: “Gwa-ka-MOW-lee?”

Me: “Yes, guacamole.”

Him: “Buahahahahahahah.” Goes to find someone else. “Do we have… [suppressing giggle] ‘gwa-ka-MOW-lee?”

Her: “GWA-KA-MOW-LEE??? Hahahahahahahahaha” They run over to another salesperson.

Him: “She wants… Gwa-ka-MOW-lee!”

Him1, Him2, and Her: Maniacal giggles.

I decided to skulk away before being laughed at by any more sales associates. I did not eat nachos that night.

A few days later, I went to Woollies with a South African friend, he asked a salesperson where the guacamole was, and she walked us right over to it.

I’m still not sure what I did wrong exactly in this scenario — it’s not like guacamole is an English word to begin with, so how accented could I have sounded? — but any future miscommunications shall henceforth be known as “Guac Moments.”


The taco dinner that ensued after this episode, with the hard-won guacamole front and center. In the future, I’ll be making my own, provided I don’t have a Guac Moment when I ask for “avocados.”

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