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Category: Tourists/Travel

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.”