Shopping In a Foreign Language

          Have you ever had to go to the fresh food market in a foreign country that you do not speak the language? Well I did and looking back at that experience, I burst into laughter. I know there are books that guide you through some basic words but sometimes, it’s not enough. You would find yourself in my situation where the book did not have the needed expression and I desperately needed to prepare a home recipe for my family.
          I went to the fresh food market and as you know, most people at this level do not speak much of English. I wanted to buy ox tail for a special dish, which is common with my country of origin. Walking through the market, I discovered that it was difficult to differentiate pork from beef and the ox tail was not displayed. So I decided to play the deaf and dumb game, which means practicing sign and sound language.

It went like this.

Do you have mooo?

He said, si tengo moo. Cuantos quieres?

Dos Kilos. Y tengo ox tail?


          Now the demonstration starts. I turned around with my hand to my buttocks and pretended that I had a tail by demonstrating it with another moo. He got the message but without my consciously knowing it, I was making a fool of myself and all those around just bursted out laughing. For the next four and a half years in that country, each time I went to buy fresh meat from the same guy, he called me seniora moo.
          This is a situation that forever stays with me.


Published on July 31, 2008 at 11:58 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is an example of what the difference in languages can do to people…….
    A Polish man married a Canadian girl after he had been in Canada a year or so and, although his English was far from perfect, they got on very well. Until one day he rushed into a lawyer’s office and
    asked him if he could arrange a divorce for him – “very quick.”
    The lawyer said that the speed for getting a divorce would depend on the circumstances and asked
    him the following questions:

    LAWYER: Have you any grounds?
    POLE: JA, JA, an acre and half and a nice little home with 3 bedrooms.
    LAWYER “No,” I mean what is the foundation of this case?”
    POLE: “It is made of concrete, brick and mortar,” he responded.
    LAWYER: “Does either of you have a real grudge?”
    POLE: “No,” he replied, “We have a two-car carport and have never really needed one.”
    LAWYER: “I mean, What are your relations like?”
    POLE: “All my relations are in Poland.”
    LAWYER: “is there any infidelity in your marriage?”
    POLE: “Yes, we have hi fidelity stereo set & amp; DVD player with 6.1 sound. We don’t necessarily like the music, but the answer to your questions is yes.”
    LAWYER: No, I mean Does your wife beat you up?
    POLE: NO, I’m always up before her.
    LAWYER: Is your wife a nagger?
    POLE: NO, she white.
    LAWYER: WHY do you want this divorce?
    POLE: SHE going to kill me.
    LAWYER: What makes you think that?
    POLE: I got proof.
    LAWYER: What kind of proof?
    POLE: She going to poison me. She bought a bottle at the drug store and
    Put on shelf in bathroom. I can read — it says,

  2. Thanks Joy for sharing the joke.

  3. I remember shopping in Paris for the first time on my way back from a business trip,it was really fun,even when some of the people i met spoke english,some others who spoke french did not have any problem when it got to money matter in telling me how much their items were in dollar.

  4. My dear joy anywhere in the world money matters are always simple to handle except when it comes to describing what you want to buy but as long as you see the item you want,negotiating for it would not be difficult,i once went through the same cafe as your in a French speaking country somewhere in Africa,i almost got lost but i was fortunate enough to meet someone who became my guide who i later paid for services rendered.

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