Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lost in translation

Today I met a lady from the Philipines. Lovely lady, although her English and general knowledge needs a bit of work. She asked me where I was from and our conversation went like this:

Me: I'm from South Africa.
Her: I don't know where that is.
Me: It's south, in Africa.
Me continuing, thinking she might know parts of SA: Have you heard of Cape Town, or Table Mountain?
Her: No.
Me: Oh. Well, it's a pretty country.
Her [smiling enthusiastically]: Yes! You are pretty. You look like Barbie!
Me: Riiiight..

I decided not to get into the fact that my dark hair and flat chest have never made me an obvious contender for Barbie look-a-like talent, and also chose to ignore the point that she apparently thought I had said that I was pretty.

Later, I told my colleagues I was going to Schuytstraat, which is traditionally pronounced 'Shcout straat'. Being of foreign origins, I tend to make these things up and my pronounciation was closer to 'Shkate straat'. My Dutch colleagues' eyes watered as they tried not to laugh at my attempt.

Today I learnt that sh-kate (schijt-) means 'shit'. I told them that I was heading up Shit Street.


Anonymous said...

My eyes are old and my sight is a bit SHCOUT. Did she call you BARBIE or BARBLE?

Lauren said...

but you look EXACTLY like blonde haired, huge-racked, amzonian-tall barbie Doldy - I see it clearly!
Love your drive-thru experience of NYC... I think it must be a record of sorts, surely!

Don't Believe a Word I Write said...

HAHA!! Great conversation - I would invite that Phillipino women to dinner parties. Hey, at least she agreed with your assessment of your own good looks.

Shit street, eh? Is that near Shit Creek?

Colleen said...

LOL!!!!! Oh dear! Its hard to pronounce those funny names. As long as the street wasnt really shitty, can imagine the reactions though :o) xxx