When you say, “Gracias” to an Uruguayan, you typically won’t receive a “de nada” response like you learned in high school Spanish.

Most commonly you’ll hear, “No, por favor!” (No, please!). Which is very nice, but it’s said in a manner that—were it spoken in English—would sound dramatic, almost sarcastic, to my ears. (It’s not intended that way)

I’ve been told that as an American I say “gracias” too often in Uruguay (waiter refills water glass … gracias … no, por favor!…repeat 5 minutes later) But I can’t help saying thanks for even the smallest niceties, even if it’s that person’s job.

Gregg Hartling @gregg