“Many years ago, in my mid-twenties, I was walking a beach in Spain. I was backpacking solo and feeling very confident and proud of myself. All the Spanish honours classes I took in high school were working quite nicely in communication with the locals. A man came over, asked me what I was doing. I replied, in Spanish, was looking for shells. He had a perplexed look on his face. Thank goodness he could explain to me that I had used a regional slang word, something akin to looking for a partner to get intimate with. I was definitely horrified. Also, my elevated self-confidence knocked down a few notches. Up until that, was doing quite well with my Spanish.”– Jill P.
“I was eating lunch at an “American” restaurant in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Hamburgers. Hey, it wasn’t my choice – I LOVE real Thai food. Anyway, it was very dry and bland. I wanted some heat. I asked for prik, the Thai word for hot pepper. I knew the waitress had been around the sex trade because she brought me a hot dog.” – Marti S.
Where ‘Butter Beer’ Was Born
“On my first trip to Paris, my friend and I went to a restaurant. The waiter brought bread to the table. We asked for butter. The waiter returned with two beers. Not wanting to admit our French mispronunciation, we both took a sip of the beer. The waiter could tell from the looks on our faces that we didn’t like beer. So, when we received the bill, we discovered he did not charge us.” – R Louise W.