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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    Will Need To Take A Different Beirut

    | Knoxville TN, USA | Geography, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (It is the late 1990s. A couple walk in. She is obviously Jewish, he not-so-much. As it turns out, he is a Lebanese Druze.)

    Female Customer: “We’d like airline tickets flying into Tel Aviv and back from Beirut.”

    Me: “Okay, let’s see what we can find.” *types into the computer* “Meanwhile, how will you get from Tel Aviv to Beirut?”

    Female Customer: “Oh, we plan to rent a car and drive.”

    Me: “I don’t think we’ll be able to find a rental car for that.”

    Male Customer: “Why not?”

    Me: “Well, right now the Israeli-Lebanese border is a war zone.”

    Pales In Comparison To Wales

    | Wales, UK | Geography, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I work in a tourist information centre in a Welsh town. As well as its regular Welsh town name, the town has an anglicised version since it is a popular seaside destination for a large swathe of people from central England. The anglicised name sounds similar to another popular seaside resort that actually IS in England, but it’s a good 350+ miles away from us.)

    Me: “Bore da, Canolfan Groeso [Welsh town]. Sut gallai helpu chi? Good morning, tourist information [Anglicised name of Welsh town]. How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Yeah. I want sailing times for the ferries to the [island near the English town].”

    Me: “I’m afraid I don’t have that information to hand, sir. I can either give you the phone number for [English Town]‘s tourist services or I can pop you on hold whilst I look it up.”

    Caller: “But people sail from [town not far from English town] all the time. Why haven’t you got it to hand? I could look it up on the Internet myself!”

    Me: “We are [Welsh town], 350+ miles from [English town]. We tend to only provide information for [Welsh town] and the surrounding county.”

    Caller: “I don’t understand.”

    Me: “You’ve called Wales, sir. The services you want are in England.”

    Caller: “Wales?”

    Me: “Yep, Wales.”

    Caller: “So you’re not [English town]?”

    Me: “Nope, we’re [Welsh town].”

    Caller: “Well, what’s the point of that? Why would you do that?”

    Me: “Erm, I’m really sorry but I don’t follow?”

    Caller: “Why would you be in Wales?”

    Driving A Hard Bargain

    | Chennai, India | Hotels & Lodging, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I am standing in line at the travel desk of a very nice hotel in Chennai. Just ahead of me is a guest with an accent from somewhere in Britain, but I cannot place it. He is being very abusive toward the young man at the desk.)

    Guest: “I’m not paying your rates for a car. I’m going to hire an auto outside the hotel. You people are thieves”

    Desk Clerk: “Certainly, sir, but how may I help you?”

    Guest: “Write this address down. Write it down in Hindi. I’ll hand it to a driver. I’m not paying you.”

    Desk Clerk: “Yes, sir.”

    (I watch him write down the address from English to Hindi.)

    Me: “I must compliment you. He was very rude and you handled it well.”

    Desk Clerk: “Just doing my job, sir. Thank you.”

    Me: “You did just what he asked…”

    Desk Clerk: *looks up smiling slightly*

    Me:“You wrote it down in Hindi. The local language is Tamil… and what are his chances of finding a literate ‘auto’ driver out there, anyway?”

    Desk Clerk: *smiling broadly* “You have been here before, sir!”

    Unable To Think Independently

    | Ireland | Geography, History, Tourists/Travel

    (Years ago, I worked in an Internet cafe. We have an American tourist come in and check his email. His email doesn’t have a traditional webmail service. You have to connect through a special program and chose your location.)

    Customer: “I can’t connect. It’s not showing my mail.”

    Me: “I see what it is. You chose to use the UK access number.”

    Customer: “But I’m in the UK.”

    Me: “No, this is Ireland.”

    Customer: “But Ireland is part of the UK.”

    Me: “No, only the north is.”

    Customer: “But you all speak English.”

    Me: “Yes, but we are still a different country. It’s listed under the Republic of Ireland in the drop down menu.”

    Customer: “But that is part of the UK. People here are British right?”

    Me: “No. In America you had a war of independence in 1775 right?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “So did we, in 1921. If we’re British, so are you.”

    You’re Through To The Fee Line

    | Scottsdale, AZ, USA | Bizarre, Pets & Animals, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I do quality assurance for a travel agency. My job is to monitor the calls to make sure that the agents are being honest with the members. One day, I’m listening to a member asking questions about booking a cruise. Most of them are pretty standard, and then I hear this:)

    Agent: “Now that I have your cruise all booked for you, do you have any other questions for me?”

    Member: “Just one, and it’s very important. Does my cat need a passport?”

    Agent: “Ummm…”

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