You know when we lived in Amsterdam, we got used to what can be considered quirky events taking place in the city that it was like “so what”? Afterall we were living in AMSTERDAM! Right? So this article has got to be something you take a short read, for it demonstrates why we never tire of being in that city.
Suan goes for Yoga regularly. However she says “Darn it I will never step into a barn and do yoga”… ok you get the picture?
We normally do not re-blog, but probably worth putting in a link to this original post about our move to Holland, the Netherlands if you will. And if you do, do read the pages that are in a links of the post too. It contains little nuggets about our life in Holland, summarized into short essays telling you some of the quirks about living in this city and country. Yeah three years you know, so it’s not easy to condense! Thus, we shall not reveal too much here.
If there is one thing we can say though , it is that making the move to Amsterdam was the best decision we made. Sure it came with a nice expat package. Can’t complain about that. But it’s about the fact that we had our ‘YOLO’ moment. Many folks yearn for this we know. We were lucky. Extremely. And glad to have done it.
Yoga with goats and you can only find weird stuff like this in Amsterdam. Would this be an attraction you’d sign up for when you are in the city? Or will this goad you to move to Amsterdam?
Heheh….gotcha if you are reading this! This expression, while construed to mean being expressedly rude to someone to the point of vulgarity; is not the subject of this post. We are talking about communication. And nowhere is this most felt in the areas of commerce and travel.
We don’t meet foreign folks in our midst every now and then if one lives in your home country. But for those who are traipsing around the world or have to work with folks from outside of your country via phone, video or email, then sometimes you may inadvertently give a finger to someone…huh?
You should know about not giving the thumbs up sign just about anywhere (like in a broad swathe of the middle east some say). So it should not surprise you that some of the gestures that you use when traveling about the world could be offensive to someone, somewhere…But of course it wasn’t just the accidental rude gestures that were the concern.
Rather, it is the miscommunication that happens because you ask for one thing and receive another. Even technology has its limits. Remember we wrote about it here? Here’s an example of how some cultures will try to go out of their way in an attemtp to reduce confusion : someone in Japan came up with the following signs for English speakers (read here). Not sure if that will add fat to the fire though…
Mel recalls many years back his father ordered some dishes at a restaurant when visiting him in China. He had expected some chicken dishes to be served. But it turns out all of the dishes were vegetables! LOL. You see, the names that the restaurant gave to the dishes were “flowery”, ie literary and not literal…for those with a little in-depth knowledge of the Chinese language.
We read of folks who tout the benefits of at least learning some local tongues when traveling. Do you attempt to learn some? Or is Google translate your friend when in need?
You have to hand it to the Daily Mail for picking up this story…In this post, we are told that the country’s leadership has opted for a high value; high quality tourism approach. Only 5-star hotels and resorts will be approved hereon. And they are suppose to come with their own water treatment and backup power systems, supposedly for environmental reasons. However, budget travelers need not fret. AirBnB is still available. And along with that the local hostels too. Perhaps what will be costlier will be the flights!
Why has this come to pass you ask?
Quite possibly, the islands had felt the strong wave of tourist numbers flooding their shores! Recall that we wrote some time back about the sheer growth of tourism volumes here? And that we had predicted too that there could be repercussions. In the form of a push back. Enough is enough!
Now granted that the push back we anticipated is from the local folks, but you should also know that all politics are local. If the constituents are not happy, well the politicians are likely to pander to the direction of political winds to stay in power. Not unless you have a dictatorship…Thus this latest development in Palau is not a surprise to us at all.
And we believe this is the harbinger of the future…
Could quotas be introduced in “hot” tourist destinations? Want to visit Barcelona? Go online and apply for an TSTA – ‘Tourist system travel application’. Like its cousin ESTA, you have to pay for this application and it has a limited validity. Without this you can’t get on a flight, bus or train to the city. Even if you are on a cruise ship, you cannot disembark. Aargh! How will long term ‘travelers’ be affected?
Will this become a reality?
Perhaps not as drastic. But nevertheless some form of “control” is likely to be on the cards. In our humble opinion that is. There cannot be action without a reaction – no matter if it is equal or not in force. Just as the pendulum swings or sine wave oscillates, at some point the huge number of tourists will cause sufficient strain to the infrastructures of destinations to buckle. We just might see more cities and countries adopt some form of what Palau just decided to do. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time.
And that’s how the cookie crumbles.
You read this prediction first – here on our blog. What do you think about our prediction?
In one of our last posts, we featured some numbers in relations to the movement of people on this planet for leisure purpose. By now we are wary of calling it travel or touring. As you know there IS a difference in the minds of some! Fine.
Mel recalled a semestral course he did on social pyschology many years ago. “Verstehen” as a concept introduced to him as a young student (yeah we were young once too!) meant to put yourself in another person’s shoes so to speak – to understand deeper, ie from the perspective of that person.
So applying this concept, it is interesting to theorize how the local folks who live in some of the world’s most sought after leisure destinations feel about the ‘non locals’ that appear in their midst – sometimes attempting to be like a local (Read Chiseche’s post here on ‘the settler’).
You know, in every country the local language has its own colloqualism, slang, whatever. In our little red dot, the locally mangled form of English (fondly called ‘Singlish’) can be dumbfounding, weird or downright hilarious to those native speakers of her majesty’s tongue. Such examples include the use of the word “lah” in daily speech.
Defined as a slang rightly or not, it is used lavishly in many (not all lah) sentences uttered by the local Singaporean. However, lest you think that it is simply attaching it at the end of any sentence, think again. Listen very carefully (ok read), for we shall only say (write) this once : the use of “lah” is a linguistic evolutionary development of the highest order in our opinion.
Like the F word which is most versatile, “lah” can be used to emit a range of emotions and meanings through emphasis, perhaps these are examples (not perfect):
Don’t be like that lah (frustration)
Ok lah (it’s alright)
Cannot lah!! (possibly upset)
No lah (disbelieve)
If ever you are in Singapore and plan to stay longer as a “traveler” who thinks you have become a local, do refrain from using lah too often. It’s just too strange! LOL.
We are sure you have local expressions that that are versatile like the ‘lah’. Care to share them?
We had previously written about airport names here and how they are the same, yet in very different parts of the world.
Well this post is about weird town names. Do you reckon Middlefart is a swear word or the name of a town? No prizes for guessing it’s the name of a town. But where would you guess this town be found?
When reading this article quite some weeks back, we cannot help but to write more about our own experiences with funny town names…But we highly recommend that you read the article because there is an atlas mapping out the offending names across the world. And the one here is just a sample for Europe. And a very recent one too here. Poor guy ended up with T-Shirts facing a blizzard…
Seriously though, who made English the default way to pronouce city names anyway? LOL. If you take that with a healthy dose of salt, then it is really hilarious. Will you want to go Puke (poo-kay) in Tonga? Nah, we’d rather keep it in! But we found out that the word actually means ‘to be sick’ in Tongan, an uncanny similarity to the English word…or perhaps it was a borrowed word from some passing sailor?
Have you visited places whose names sound bizarre in English? Tell us!