The Little Joys of Miscommunication During Travels: A Commentary from Stan

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February 12th 2019
Published: February 12th 2019
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When travelling to countries where you don’t speak the local language, silly events often happen that can put a smile on your face.

Take for example this experience. Bev decided this year to take some Thai language classes. She found out that in the Thai language, questions and responses as kept as short as possible. No need to speak in sentences when one word will suffice. Well that doesn’t sit well with Bev, as she has a tendency to talk; to elaborate upon things. For breakfast we usually have eggs, plain pancakes, muesli and yogurt, along with a fruit plate of bananas, pineapple and watermelon. One morning, Bev decided she wanted banana crepe pancakes, instead of the plain pancakes. In great detail she explained in English, to our Thai waiter, what she wanted for breakfast. Satisfied she had conveyed the menu change, we waited for her banana crepes to arrive. When the order came, she had more of the very same pancakes she usually gets, but with sliced bananas on top. These were in addition to the sliced bananas she already had been delivered with her fruit plate. She indeed got banana pancakes, just not exactly what she had in mind.

At another dinner a short while ago, I asked for a napkin. As you can see by the picture of toilet paper, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it is standard practice in many of the delicious, but less than 5 star, restaurants we eat at. However, that being said, who knows - they may be on to something - and we may see these all purpose napkins in Canadian restaurants sooner than later 😊

Talking about language differences, I recall one very early morning, many years ago, arriving in Spain after several weeks of travel in Morocco, distinctly craving an American breakfast of eggs and toast. The waiter did not speak English, and I did not speak any Spanish. To communicate my order, I proceeded to pluck like a chicken, and wriggle my butt, pretending to lay eggs. A wide smile of comprehension spread across my waiter’s face. He understood exactly what I was trying to convey, and I was finally going to get my American breakfast! I could hardly wait!

Some time later he returned, happy to deliver me a freshly barbecued chicken. 😂 Needless to say, I did not get my desired American breakfast, but the experience put a smile on my face that is still there, several decades later. I was so sure I had nailed the communication with my charades!

Such are the unexpected little things that make travel in foreign cultures so much fun.


12th February 2019

Chuckle, chuckle. Boy can I relate! The pics tho' are so typical of breakfasts there. My banana pancakes, however, were more thinly slices and were spread over the top. A small piece of banana for every bite! We are in a deep deep freeze and have been so for 2 weeks now. Cold warnings abound. I leave to go skiing in 2 days. Big White has been colder than normal as well. Here's hoping things warm up or the hot tub will see more of me than the snow slopes. Susanne
13th February 2019

The Little Joys of Miscommunication
Hi Susanne. Stan’s blog topic has evoked similar stories from many - all delightful. Yes, we have been following the Canadian weather and its pushing everyone and everything to new limits across the country. Wise woman to have a hot tub backup plan for the possibly unaccessible ski slopes. I know you will enjoy your time regardless. Safe travels 😘🙏

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