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The English as She is Spoken

Some time ago in Tangiers, and due to acute budget strangulation, I was obliged to put up in a stifling, insect infested hotel room. By a notice tacked to the back of the bedroom door, the management reminded me of my checkout obligations by declaring "This room must be liberated by 10 morning". I was ever so glad!

Similarly, when I first arrived at Chiang Mai's Arcade Bus Station, I was approached by a charming young lass, attired in silk hotpants, who smiling demanded "Guess How?" I didn't dare think of an answer but, yes, she was touting - for a Guest House rather than my original thoughts. And so my native language is bent, twisted, warped and taken out of context as good nationals of other countries earnestly endeavour to guide and instruct me on local conditions and rules. We've all seen them and had a chuckle; here are a few more for your travel diary.....

Thailand : Donkey rides advert - " Would you like to ride on your own ass?" Many times I've thought I was doing just that!

Hong Kong : Advert for Dentist - "Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists". Religion takes most of us in the end!

Chiang Mai , Thailand Notice in Hotel room - " Please do not bring solicitors into your room." Lawyers services are rarely worth their fee!

Bangkok, Thailand : Advert for Dry Cleaners - "Drop your trousers here for best results." I rarely trip over mine!

Rome, Italy : Medical doctor's office - "Specialist in Women and other diseases." A clever man indeed!

Copenhagen, Denmark : Airline office - " We take your bags and send them in all directions." How true!

Japan, Tokyo : Bar sign - " Special Cocktails for the Ladies with nuts." Sweet Nutcracker!

Norway : Bar sign - "Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar." Exactly, ladies should know better!

Nairobi, Kenya : On restaurant menu "Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see our manager." I wondered where that guy went to!

Tokyo, Japan : Sign in the Gents toilets " To stop leak, turn cock to the right." I wonder what it said in the ladies!

Budapest, Hungary : Zoo notice - "Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the Guard on duty." I'll bet that the guard was Tarzan!

And so they go on. But, in any language not my own, I have similar problems; Here in Thailand, using my best Thai, I've happily requested "One kilo of Penises" at the fruit market - - and enjoyed every one of them! Laugh and the world laughs with you so make sure you enjoy your visit to our city of Chiang Mai.

Read on for other actual travel stories provided by travel agents...

I had someone ask for an aisle seat on the plane so that their hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.

A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"

I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make her look stupid, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa." Her response...click.

A man called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied "Don't lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state."

I got a call from a man who asked "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said "No" He said "But they look so close on the map."

Another man called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had a 1 hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said "I heard Dallas was a big airport and I need a car to drive between the gates to save time."

A nice lady just called. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at :20 am and got into Chicago at :33am. I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!

A woman called and asked "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know who's luggage belongs to
who?" I said "No, why do you ask?" She replied "Well, when I checked in with the airline they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I'm overweight, is there any connection?" After putting her on hold for a minute while I looked into it (I was actually laughing) I came back and explained the city code for Fresno is FAT and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

I just got off the phone with a man who asked "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 23, but none of these darn planes have numbers on them."

A woman called and said "I need to fly to Pepsi Cola on one of those computer planes." I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane. She said "Yeah, whatever"

A business man called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa. "Oh no I don't, I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!"

A woman called to make reservations "I want to go from Chicago to Hippopotamus, New York" The agent was at a loss for words. Finally, the agent asked "Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the customer.
After some searching, the agent came back with "I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Hippopotamus anywhere" The customer retorted, "Oh don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!" The agent scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?" "That's it! I knew it was a big animal" was the reply.


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