January 7, 2011

"We’re given menus, but they’re in Portuguese. The waiter has a handful of English words and as best as..."/"Asbestos? They had asbestos?!"

Meade interrupts me in the middle of my reading of Nina's post about her trip to Cascais, Portugal, which you can get to from here if you take "two Madison buses, three separate flights, one Lisbon bus, and finally one Portuguese train."

11 comments:

Trooper York said...

How dare they have menus in Portuguese! In their own country!
Portugal! The bastards!!!!!!

traditionalguy said...

Where is Rick Steves when you need him?

garage mahal said...

Trains. LOL

JayC said...

The problem isn't countries like Portugal. As long as they use the same alphabet, you can generally guess at what you're getting.

The problem is places like Russia or Japan which have a completely different character set. You have no idea of how to even pronounce it, much less what it is.

By the way, I think I ate asbestos in Russia, or something a lot like it.

Calypso Facto said...

Trains and asbestos came into widespread use about the same time, garage...

:)

KLDAVIS said...

"...which you can get to from here if you take "two Madison buses, three separate flights, one Lisbon bus, and finally one Portuguese train."

My wife and I like to play this "how far from home are we" game, based on the numerous/various modes of transport we've taken to get someplace. The Piz Gloria atop the Schilthorn in Switzerland was the leader for a long time, but has since been replaced by Kbal Spean in Cambodia. While we were cooling our heels in the river there, I suggested we'd have to go to space to top that one.

Note: We received menus that contained English, without asking, in both places.

BJM said...

I don't get people who travel without preparation. Nina didn't think to bring a English-Portuguese travel dictionary or a hand held translator?

Being dependent on someone speaking English is foolhardy if you're going off the beaten path or traveling off season when bi-lingual staff and workers have left.

btw-Portuguese not difficult to read if you have a dictionary or know any of the other Latin based languages, however it can take a few days to tune one's ear to the dialect with its extra nasal vowels and plosives.

BJM said...

@JayC

Tell me about it, I once boarded a local train from Shibuya only to find out that it was an express to Nagoya...an eight hour round trip.

I made some phrase & signage cards that I carried until I learned some basic Japanese.

I also discovered that Japanese children learn English in middle school and are keen to try it out, usually to much hilarity on both sides of the conversation.

c3 said...

When I saw the header I misread it and immediately thought of this

Ann Althouse said...

"btw-Portuguese not difficult to read if you have a dictionary or know any of the other Latin based languages, however it can take a few days to tune one's ear to the dialect with its extra nasal vowels and plosives."

I taught myself Portuguese when I was in high school. I used Berlitz LPs and workbooks. My motivation was how beautiful the language sounded when Joan Baez sang "Te Manha." If you already know Spanish, it's not too hard, especially to read. But I thought the nasalized sounds were cool.

KLDAVIS said...

Portuguese does sound particularly beautiful in song. I'm frequently hypnotized by Seu Jorge.