Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Like a Fish Out of Water (10/24/13)
TITLE: English as a Second Language
By Joy Bach
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We handed the piece of paper to our taxi driver on which was written our desired destination. In the words that came out of his mouth, we only recognized one…kilometers. My husband pointed to the trunk, nodded his head and indicated we wanted our luggage to be placed there. With a look of puzzlement on his face, the taxi driver complied. We climbed in; he drove out of the train depot, turned left and pulled to a stop.
We had reached our destination.
The next segment of our journey involved going from Germany to Switzerland. Instructions given us were to get off the train in Basel in order to change trains. Signs flashed by the train window and soon we saw the word announcing “Basel Bnd Banhof”.
So we got off.
Imagine our surprise when it wasn’t an actual train station. There are two “Basel” stops, one in Germany and one in Switzerland. We had gotten off in Germany. The Swiss train station…with all the connecting trains…was up the tracks several miles. Luckily, another train would be by in a few hours.
In Liechtenstein, no menus were in English. We did notice repetition of a phrase, “pommes frites”. With much pointing and movement of hands, the waitress understood we wanted to know what that was. She thought for a moment and then said, “McDonalds”.
Still in Liechtenstein…different restaurant…the word schinken appeared several times. Again with pointing and hand movements, the waitress understood we wanted to know what that was. After many words and gestures, she proceeded to oink like a pig.
It was imperative that I eat no nuts, so I traveled prepared with the phrase “Nien Nusse” on my lips. Apparently it worked. I suffered no reactions.
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