Spanish, a culture unto itself
Spanish is by far one of the most unique languages out there. The term is commonly misused, after all so many countries speak Spanish right? Yes and no. Spanish is really the mother language of a whole bunch of different dialects (Mexican, Peruvian, Chilean, Honduranean, etc). Each time the spanish conquered an area, their culture would blend with the local culture creating yet another different culture.
Spanish is really a fairly simple language to learn, at least the basics of it. After that though, it will all depend upon who you are talking to as to whether or not you can really carry on a conversation.
Most hispanoblantes (those who speak Spanish or a variant of it) are willing to work with someone who is trying to talk to them in their own language. There are some who won't though, but most will work with you. After you become fairly comfortable with the language then speed can become a factor, as most Spanish speakers love to talk fast.
Probably the neatest thing is watching Spanish speakers who are talking to to each other (both people being from different countries). Sometimes they understand each other and sometimes they don't. You can always tell the ones who can't understand each other.