Needs A Bridge To Reality

| Jamaica | Geography, Theme Of The Month, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

Customer: “Hi, I’d like to rent a car, but can I drive it to the United States?”

Me: “Pardon? I don’t understand.”

Customer: “Can I drive the car back to the United States?”

Me: “How did you get to Jamaica?”

Customer: “I flew here, why?”

Me: “Didn’t you see the ocean underneath you from the airplane?”

Customer: “No, I slept the whole way here. Wait. What ocean?”

Translation Kollaboration

| NY, USA | Language & Words, School

(Campus security has stopped a lost visitor, and is trying to work out where he wants to go. The visitor speaks very poor English, but the officer is trying his best.)

Visitor: “I want go, skink labatree.”

Security: “You wanna go where?”

Visitor: “A skink labatree.”

Security: “Oh, that’s, like, a little lizard. Reptile lab? Lizards? Snakes?”

Visitor: “No, no, a skink labatree. Kell skinky.”

Security: “Kill? Like, animal disposal?”

Visitor: “No, no! I want call my daughter, but…”

(The visitor holds up a cell phone.)

Visitor: “No battery!”

Security: “Ahh, okay. Wanna try mine?”

(Security offers the visitor his phone.)

Visitor: “No, no, I don’t know she kell. No battery my kell.”

Security: “Hold up a sec.”

(Security points to his cell phone.)

Visitor: “Kell phone, no battery!”

Security: “Kell laboratory?”

Visitor: “Kell labatree!”

Security: *scribbling on a piece of paper* “Skink?”

Visitor: *overjoyed* “Yes! Skink labatree!”

Security: “Okay, let’s go!”

(On the paper: “SCIENCE.” I later learned that the visitor had taught himself English almost entirely by reading, and assumed all ‘C’s were hard ‘K’s.)

Suffering Some Confucian About Where He Is

| Beijing, China | Extra Stupid, Theme Of The Month, Tourists/Travel

(My coworker is a tour guide for American groups in Beijing.)

Tourist: “Is there a Chinatown here?”

Coworker: “…I’m sorry?”

Tourist: “Well, most major cities have a Chinatown. I just wanted to see if I could visit the one in this city.”

Coworker: “You do know what country you’re in right?”