It can be disorienting, being in a new place. Culture shock is real. But then again, sometimes, people just love to make things harder than they actually are.
When was the last time you went on a trip? Did you have any trouble figuring out the weather? If somebody told you where something was, did you fight them? Did you have any run-ins with the law? Well, even if you didn't, there is someone out there who most certainly did.
Here were some of those answers.
My Uncle was visiting from Colombia and he looked at the huge mounts of snow where the plows pushed them off the driveway with this weird look on his face. Before we could ask, he poked it and it was rock solid.
"That's ice. The snow is over there." (My Spanish isn't the best.)
He nods and proceeded to STICK HIS ENIRE HAND IN. At first he was bewildered the texture and water, then he honest to god shrieked that it was cold and ran back in the car. His wife laughed at him and we all went inside. They stayed for a week and many more shenanigans ensued.
It's Falling Down
"Where is London Bridge?"
"Actually, London Bridge is kind of a joke because it's a really ugly, boring bridge. It's coming up next. The really interesting bridge you should photograph is Tower Bridge. It's a common misconception to confuse the two bridges."
"Wait - that is it?"
"Yes. It's boring, isn't it!"
"That can't be London... Bridge... Where is London Bridge?"
Ve Are But Innocent
We had some visiting scientists from Germany at my lab in North Chicago, IL. I took them to Chicago for dinner and on the way home, one of them wanted to drive so I let him drive my car. He proceeds to go 100MPH on 94 North towards Waukegan, IL with me in the front seat terrified as this was the '80s and the speed limit was only 55 back then (remember way back then?).
Anyway, I tell him he's going to get pulled over, but his colleague in the back says not to sweat it, the guy's apparently a race car driver as a hobby so I chill but sure enough we get pulled over. The cop is exasperated and shouts "Do you KNOW how fast you were going!?" and the driver responds in his German accented English "Ve are from Germany and ve are not used to going dese velocities?" and I kid not, the cop let him off with a warning. I sat dumbfounded and kept my mouth shut. The cop didn't even ask for a DL or registration, he must have thought the car was rental. He said "Look, it's 55 MPH here. Stick with that and be safe." and he let us go. The cop takes off and my guy drives right behind him until the cop exits the highway and then boom, we are back to 100 MPH all the way back to our exit.
The sentence, "Ve are not used to going dese velocities?" has stuck with me for 25 years....
I was a tour guide at a local cave. We were in the first room of the cave and I had just finished showing examples of all the different cave formations and explaining how they were created by water depositing a mineral called calcite. I ask if there were any questions and a guy in the back raises his hand. I call on him and he says, "what did y'all make all of this out of?" I'm confused and ask for clarification. He's obviously irritated and says "what'd y'all carve all this out of? Styrofoam?" I explained that the cave formations were made by nature out of rock. He clearly did not believe me and kept touching formations, which is a big no-no. I had to have him removed from the tour.
Don't Take Them To Dijon
In my country, there's a province called Vigan (pronounced same as vegan). So this province has food that has their name on it like Vigan Longganisa (sweet sausage). So when we took tourists to this province, one got confused and asked me if the foods were plant based, I carefully explained no, Vigan as in the place. Not vegan.
But the whole trip, she still kept on telling her companion, "I don't get it. It's vigan (vegan?) but not plant based? This is a crazy town"
So yeah, I probably was not able to explain it correctly in English. SMH
One Sixty Fifth A Liar
I live near Loch Lomond, and I hear a lot of loud Americans who are "1/65th Scotch" talk about how its "good to be home" on their first trip to Scotland.
But there once was this American tourist who got himself thrown out of a nice little fancy touristy pub for shouting at another English tourist about the Scottish Wars of Independence and all that.
Basically, he'd seen Braveheart and thought he was one of us.
No. He isn't.
(Also, you can't really pay with US dollars in a pub in Scotland. That would seem obvious, but c'mon...)
Goofy Is The Pilot
I fly to Orlando a lot on business. My flights are interesting to say the least. Last week a woman legit asked the guy seated next to her "so the Disney bus that picks us up is driven by Mickey, right?"
She was not joking and argued when he told her no.
Sona La San Padraig
An American asked me in a pub in Dublin what we do to celebrate 4th of July. Same American asked me if I knew about the celebration they have in the States that celebrates being Irish. St. Patrick's Day. He asked an Irishman if he knew about St Patricks Day.
Quick Trip To The Lowest Part Of The Country
I'm from New York and I've heard some tourists say they're planning on seeing the Great Lakes and taking a day trip to Miami and stuff like that.
I don't think people realize how big the US actually is.
Culture Is Lost On The CulturelessGiphy
I was on a tour bus and spoke to my family in french. American woman besides me looks at her husband and ask "Did she just say poopoo caca?"
When I translated what I said to her, she looked at me and said "If y'all can speak english, why do you speak french?"
When you're a kid most adults will tell you one thing or another is "cool" and "fun." Odds are you're too young to form any kind of opinion on the matter one way or another. You're a kid, right? You don't know what you're eating for breakfast. However, when you get older and form that larger worldview, you realize that yeah, maybe that one time when you were a kid actually wasn't fun.
These are those stories.