On a visit to the beautiful Outer Hebrides off the coast and Scotland, my
wife and I had a wonderful day exploring standing stones, ruins and lovely
beaches, with almost no other tourists in sight. It was a small island, and
when it came time to find an evening meal, it took quite a while to find any
place at all. Anyone we asked seem to either stare at us with intense disapproval, or appeared too incapacitated by drink to respond. Finally,
after hours of searching we found a restaurant that was open.
We were the only guests, and after some time a toothless woman approached and said two words, in a strong accent made even less comprehensible by her
lack of pearly whites. "Celery soup," she said. Dumbfounded, my reply was yes. The soup duly arrived.
She returned later to remove our soup bowls, and stated the following:
"Roast lamb, curry chicken, omelet." I had to order for my wife, who was
almost bursting with laughter. After we finished the main course, we braced
for the worst, as the woman approached again. "Peach Melba," she gummed. It
was all I could do to nod assent, despite having no idea what Peach Melba
Three courses, nine words spoken. Oh yes, the Scots can be thrifty.
READ it carefully. :-)
It's amazing, you will understand the above word by the end of the
conversation. Read aloud for best results. "Tendjewberrymud"
Be warned, you're going to find yourself talking "funny" for a while after
reading this. This has been nominated for best email of 1999.
The following is a telephone exchange between a hotel guest and at a hotel in Asia, which was recorded and published in the Far
East Economic Review.
Room Service (RS): "Morny. Ruin sorbees"
Guest (G): "Sorry, I thought I dialled room-service"
RS: "Rye...Ruin sorbees...morny! Djewish to odor sunteen??"
G: "Uh...yes...I'd like some bacon and eggs"
RS: "Ow July den?"
RS: "Ow July den?...pry, boy, pooch?"
G: "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry, scrambled please."
RS: "Ow July dee bayhcem...crease?"
G: "Crisp will be fine."
RS : "Hokay. An San tos?"
RS: "San tos. July San tos?"
G: "I don't think so."
RS: "No? Judo one toes??"
G: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo one toes'
RS: "Toes! toes!...why djew Don Juan toes? Ow bow singlish mopping we bother?"
G: "English muffin!! I've got it! You were saying 'Toast.' Fine.
Yes, an English muffin will be fine."
RS: "We bother?"
G: "No.. just put the bother on the side."
G: "I mean butter...just put it on the side."
G: "Yes. Coffee please, and that's all."
RS: "One Minnie. Ass ruin torino fee, strangle ache, crease baychem, tossy
singlish mopping we bother honey sigh, and copy....rye??"
G: "Whatever you say"
G: "You're welcome"
HELEN ATCHISON, B.C. Tel's
assistant manager of Operator Services, says overseas tourists sometimes have trouble with
our pay telephone system. One call went like this: "Operator, I've just arrived from
Britain, and I can't tell what coins I must deposit for $1.45. Can you help me?"
"Just put in four elks, four sailboats and a beaver," the operator replied.
As AN author in England I am often riled by those who fail to understand what long
hours of concentrated toil go into the writing of a book. But my frustration hit a new
high when I entered Canada by way of Victoria. On the landing card I showed the purpose of
my visit as business. The immigration officer was suspicious. "What is your
business?" he demanded. "I write books." "And what are you going to be
doing in Canada?" "Traveling in the Arctic for three months researching material
for a new book." "You can't say that's work," he retorted, and amended my
landing card to read: "Purpose of visit Vacation."
A COUPLE from England had written for reservations at our Colorado Springs country inn.
On the afternoon they were to arrive, the woman called to say they were driving to
Colorado and would not be able to make it that night, but they'd see us the next day. The
afternoon of the second day, we received another call from her. "We'll be unable to
stay with you tonight, as well," she said. "We are somewhere in the state of
Nebraska, and have seriously under estimated the size of America."
THE London double-decker bus was packed on the lower level, and the elderly woman who
sat down next to me had had to stagger upstairs with two full shopping bags. When the
conductor had collected all the fares, he came back and said to her, "Tell me where
you're getting off, ma'am, and I'll carry your bags down for you." Good as his word,
he handed her the bags from the platform when we reached her stop. "There's one
passenger who thinks you're a perfect gentleman!" I said to the conductor as I got
off the bus. "I don't know about that," he replied. "That was my
AS A naturalist at Cape St. Mary's Seabird Sanctuary in Newfoundland, I had to
interpret the ecology of seabirds for the public. Visitors were always overwhelmed by the
number of birds, and I was usually inundated with questions. Because many of our visitors
were from inland Canada and the United States, they often displayed an understandable
ignorance of marine life. On one occasion a man from Ontario, apparently used to seeing
birds in wildlife parks and zoos, turned to me and said, "This is marvelous, but how
in the world do you feed them all?"
THE road crew on which my husband worked in the Yukon
placed red warning flags where there were holes in the road. One day during lunch break a
tourist stopped and said to the men, "Hey that's pretty smart the way you flag the
holes in the road." Asked what they did where he came from, the tourist replied,
"Oh, we fix them."
A German tourist walks into a McDonald's in New York City and
orders a beer. The local guy in the line behind him immediately gives him a verbal
jab, "They don't serve beer here, you moron!" The German fellow felt
embarrassed, however he turned to the New Yorker with a surprised look on his face and
begins to chuckle. "And what's so funny?" the New Yorker demands.
Oh, nothing really, I just realized how stupid you are. You came here for the
As US tourists in Israel, a man and his wife were sitting
outside a Bethlehem souvenir shop, waiting for fellow tourists. An Arab
salesman approached them carrying belts. After an impassioned sales talk yielded no
results, he asked where they were from. "America," the husband
replied. Looking at her dark hair and olive skin, the Arab responded.
"She's not from the States." "Yes I am." said the wife. He
looked at her and asked. "Is he your husband?" "Yes." she
replied. Turning to the husband, he offered. . . . . "I'll give you 100 camels
for her." The husband looked stunned, and there was a long silence.
Finally he replied, "she's not for sale." After the salesman left, the
somewhat indignant wife asked her husband what took him so long to answer, to which the
husband replied, "I was trying to figure out how to get 100 camels back home."
AS TOURISTS, my mother and I trod the historic streets of
London, suitably awed by the history and permanence of everything around us, including
street signs. Even on construction hoardings, on which we stencil the blunt admonition
POST NO BILLS, the English use elegant signs. Headed the CITY OF WESTMINSTER and in red
Old English script, one enameled sign proclaimed, BILL STICKERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. That
the British also have an historic sense of humor and justice was shown by the graffito
scrawled below, which protested - BILL STICKERS IS INNOCENT!
WHILE traveling in Turkey, I quickly learned of the Turks'
fondness for haggling. Often, I found, the money discussed was far less important than the
outcome of the transaction.
One day, at a village bus station, I was approached by representatives of two
competing companies. When I asked one man the cost of a trip, he replied, "I take you
on my bus for six hundred lira." Immediately, the second man stepped forward.
"With me," he said, "you go for five hundred lira." The contest
was on! Back and forth they argued as I watched in speechless delight.
Finally, the first man thrust his hands upward, "Okay! Okay! For
free! I take you for free, my friend. NO money!" Flabbergasted, I
watched him scrawl out a ticket. "But why for free?" I asked. His face
cracked into a wide grin. "Because," he said, "I win!"
WHEN we took some English visitors on a trip to Alberta,
among the first things they wanted to see were "real working cowboys." A great
shout arose inside our car when we finally saw some. There they were - just like a scene
in the movies - dressed in jeans, cowboy boots and battered Stetsons, sitting easy in the
saddle and riding herd on some cattle. Only it wasn't quite like the movies. The
"cowboys" were Indians!
THE tourist returned to her hotel after sight-seeing.
"My memory's awful," she said to the clerk. "Could you tell me what room
I'm in?" "Certainly," was the reply. "You're in the lobby."
WHILE I was visiting at an artesian hot spring in Saudi
Arabia, a cement mixer followed by a pickup with ten laborers in it pulled up. I thought
they had come to bathe in the hot springs, as is the local custom. Instead, they unloaded
some 100 blankets and threw them into the drum of the truck. Then one of the workers
dumped a case of laundry detergent, box by box, into the mixer. A hose was hooked up to
draw the hot-spring water into the mixer, which the men then started up.
Presto -a giant
A BUS LOAD of tourists were driving along the shore of the
Dead Sea when one passenger spotted a nomad apparently fishing. Excitedly she asked the
bus driver to stop and sent their guide to ask the man what he could possibly catch in the
Dead Sea. Upon returning to the bus the guide said the man would tell him only if he gave
him "dollahs." Some money was collected and the guide went back to the nomad.
Grinning, the man pocketed the bills and said: "See, I caught another one."
OUR family was touring an historic mansion, where the guide
was especially enthusiastic about its many charms. "This house is over a hundred
years old," she commented proudly, "and not a post or beam in it has been
repaired." A visitor spoke up, "I'm sure we've got the same