I had to go and buy a local SIM card in each country here for use in my work phone, so when I first got over the border to Panama, I popped into the local Movistar shop in Bocas del Toro. The process involved the usual formality and nominal fee up until the point your man asked for my passport to register my details on the system.
Unfortunately, the dual Irish and English language confused him somewhat, as the Irish words were completely unrecognisable next to their English counterparts. After a few minutes of his best guesswork, he handed me my receipt bearing the name ‘Antony Michael Éireannach’ – as in, Irish for ‘Antony Irishman’. I hadn’t the heart to correct him.
But from then on I’ve introduced a few cúpla focal in the Irish language to locals and my groups around Central America. The poor guy in Panama must still be wondering what kind of made-up, leprechaun language that was on my passport. Amach!