I overheard a conversation today between an English guy and a waiter in one of the bars. The English guy had just finished his coffee and said to the waiter: "the bill – two coffees". When he handed over a 5-Euro note and received his change he said: "thank you".
BLOODY HELL! This sort of thing makes me mad. You go to the heart of Spain – Madrid, not the Costa del Sol – and can´t be arsed to try and speak in their language.
And the crazy thing is that most young people (he must have been in his early 30´s) in the Western world can say; "dos cafés" and everybody, I mean everybody knows how to say: "gracias". Any phrasebook – and let´s admit all tourists have one – will have phrases like "me dice cuanto es" or "la cuenta, por favor" to ask for the bill.
And I saw the same thing happen a couple of hours later with a young, American girl who again couldn´t be arsed and hot quite annoyed when people couldn´t understand her.
It´s one of the most wonderful things about Madrid – that many people speak English badly or not all – and that´s what makes it such a great place.