I Say "RUFF," You Say "HOW"

Playa del Carmen, Mexico
November 2007

Last week, we once again enjoyed a villa in Mexico, where Betty Lou's sister and brother-in-law invited us to join them, this time in the new Royal Haciendas resort an hour south of Cancun1.

One of the mix-and-mingle events of the Welcome Party was the Chicken Dance, where they informed us that Mexican chicks don't "PEEP," they "PYO."

That reminded me of something we learned in passing when talking to virtuoso trumpeter Gary Guthman who performed several times on our Silversea cruise. One advantage of a small ship is that you have the opportunity to get to know people – or at least those you want to – including the performers and lecturers. Gary has married a Polish harpist and now lives in Warsaw, and has some interesting stories about traveling with a harp, and even, in fact, when traveling with a trumpet and flugelhorn. He had told us that although every Polish dog he heard bark went "RUFF," all forty million Poles will tell you they hear "HOW."

After learning of the Mexican chick pronunciation, I emailed Gary asking what Poles hear a chick, and a cat, say. It's "PEEP" and "MEOW."

So I asked the Witch in the resort restaurant (it was Halloween and she was the Maitresse d') what Mexican cats and dogs say. She was a little uncertain, so she consulted her Monk colleague, who revealed that although cats say "MEOW," dogs go "WOW."

I suddenly realized that although some animals speak different languages in different countries, Cat is a universal language, a fact that Betty Lou concluded many years ago.

1 During our previous trip we visited Chichen Itza. It's a good thing we went then, because the Mexican government has since prohibited climbing the Pyramid of Kukulcan, El Castillo. A fate similar to Stonehenge, which we also fortunately visited before it was fenced in. I guess we'd better visit Macchu Picchu while it's still accessible.

Although traveling through the jungle to Chichen Itza was the reason that I couldn't give blood for a year, this time, Playa del Carmen itself is in the same category.

© Copyright 2005 Jack Ludwick - All Rights Reserved