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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    I Have A Sinking Feeling, Part 2

    | IL, USA | Health & Body, Tourists/Travel

    (Our beach normally has a 15-minute swim break to clear the water to make sure no one is missing, and to allow the lifeguards a short break. Today is incredibly busy and hot, and we are extremely understaffed since most of the college students have returned to school. The manager has just announced a 30-minute swim break. I am at the beach gate, where we collect the entrance fees.)

    Woman: *in a rude tone* “Who just made that announcement? Where is that person?”

    Me: “The beach manager. They are in the lifeguard office. Is there something I can help you with?”

    Woman: “What do they mean a 30-minute swim break?! That’s ridiculous!”

    Me: “Well, we always have a 15-minute swim break, but today they are extending it to 30 minutes for a few reasons. For one, since there are so many people it takes more time to clear the water. Also, we are understaffed today and have already had one lifeguard go home sick. The longer break allows the lifeguards time for a break so they can be focused when they go on the stands.”

    Woman: “This is insane! I can’t believe this place! How inconsiderate!” *storms off*

    Related:
    I Have A Sinking Feeling

    Getting Chesty About The Law

    | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Criminal/Illegal, Rude & Risque, Top, Tourists/Travel

    (I’m an American married to a Brazilian, and I spend several months a year in Brazil. I work at a beachside stall serving beer and snacks. A pair of American tourists are in front of me, and the woman is topless, which is strictly illegal in Brazil, but many assume otherwise.)

    Man: “Hi. Two cervezas and, uh, some chips. You got chips?”

    Server: *in Portuguese* “Ma’am, you can’t be topless here! The police could arrest you. You need to cover up.”

    Woman: “What are you talking about? I don’t speak Spanish.”

    Me: “Lady, he’s telling you that you need to cover up.”

    Woman: “What? Like h*** I do. This is Brazil!”

    Me: “Yeah, a Catholic country that bans public nudity. You can be arrested.”

    Man: “F*** off. This is Brazil. People go topless on the beach all the time.”

    Me: “Well, look around at the beach. You’re the only woman in sight without a top on.”

    Woman: “Mind your d*** business.” *they walk off in a huff*

    Server: “I wonder if they noticed that they’re about to walk right past three police cars?”

    Me: “Probably not.”

    (I stood there, sipping my beer, and watched as the woman was cited for public nudity.)

    Making A Moat Point

    | England, UK | Extra Stupid, History, Tourists/Travel

    (I am a tour guide at a medieval castle. The moat to this particular castle was filled by diverting a channel of the river that runs directly past. We’re standing beside a large model of how the entire area looked in 1754 AD.)

    Tourist: “So, ma’am, how did they fill the moat?”

    Me: “Well as you can see here, a channel was dug to divert the water into the man-made moat.”

    Tourist: “So, how did they FILL the moat?”

    Me: “Um… With water from the river, flowing into the ditch. The ground could get pretty waterlogged but that worked as extra defense in times of siege.”

    Tourist: “Yes, but how did they get the water from the river INTO the moat?”

    Me: “Er… They used a bucket chain?”

    Tourist: “Ahh, I see. Thanks!”

    It’s All Dutch To Me, Part 2

    , | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Extra Stupid, Food & Drink, Money, Tourists/Travel

    (I am traveling with a group from my American university for a conference, back when the Netherlands still used guilders as currency. At the time they were at about two to one dollar.)

    Classmate: “Wow! Beer is so expensive here!”

    Me: “Not really… they’re only three or four dollars each.”

    Classmate: “But it says beer is $6!”

    Me: “No, it’s 6 guilders. That’s the currency here. Remember when we changed our money?”

    Classmate: “No. That must be in dollars.”

    Me: “Why would it be in dollars? We’re in Amsterdam!”

    Classmate: “But stuff was in dollars at the airport. And I don’t get why [American beer] is so expensive and the [Dutch beer] costs less.

    Me: “Because they have to import the [American beer] from America.”

    Classmate: “But it isn’t an import!”

    Me: “We’re in AMSTERDAM now!”

    (By now, the guy behind the bar is doing an increasingly bad job of hiding his laughter.)

    Classmate: “Oh, my god. How will I order? I don’t speak… uh…”

    Me: “—Dutch? I’ll do it. You go sit down.”

    Me: *in English, to the bartender* “Two beers, please.”

    (The bartender gets me the beers, but only charges me for one of them, and winks at me. I tip him well and go back to my classmate.)

    Classmate: “Wow! I didn’t know you spoke the language!”

    Me: “I’m a fast learner.”

    Related:
    It’s All Dutch To Me

    Accentuating The Problem

    , | Paris, France | Food & Drink, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (My family is on vacation in Europe with a large tour group, consisting of about 40 people from Canada and the US. My sister and I are trying to order at a Parisian McDonald’s, while a middle-aged Texan woman from the same tour is waiting in the next queue over.)

    Me: *in bad French* “Uh, could I have a… McChicken?”

    Employee: *in French* “Sorry, what did you want?”

    Me: *in French, more clearly* “Um, McChicken.”

    Employee: *in French* “Ah! Of course. That’ll be [amount].”

    Sister: *to me* “I think you were trying too hard to get the accent right. You sounded ridiculous.”

    Me: “I didn’t think it sounded that bad… At least I tried.”

    (While waiting for our food, we can’t help but overhear what’s going on in the next queue…)

    Texan Customer: “Yeah, I’d like a combo number four–”

    Employee: *in French* “Sorry, what?”

    (The woman gives the flustered employee a death stare, then speaks loudly and slowly.)

    Texan Customer: “COMBO. COOOOOMBO.”

    (We left then, so I don’t know if the customer ever got her food. To this day, no one in my family ever says the word ‘combo’ without putting on an exaggerated drawl!)

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