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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    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!)

    Talking About A Whole Other Animal

    | Trier, Germany | Funny Names, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (Trier is an ancient city with many Roman ruins. At the moment there is a traveling show in town showing lizards, snakes and amphibians. I’m on my way home.)

    Tourist: “Excuse me. We are looking for the amphibian theater.”

    Me: “The lizard show? It’s all the way on the other side of the city.”

    Tourist: “No! The amphibian theater! The Roman gladiators!”

    Me: “Oh! You mean the Amphitheater. Just 50 meters that way.”

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