Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Communication Challenges

Well, today was a pretty good example of the challenges I face in communicating with the Chinese.  Today, after work, I headed straight to the hotel restaurant for supper before retiring to my room for the night.  The waitress smiles politely, as always, and brings me two menus, the regular menu for Chinese guests, and the American menu for foreigners like me.  You can actually order a hotdog off the menu, but I tried that once, and their idea of a hotdog is not MY idea of a hot dog.  It is a nasty tasting pork sausage link.  So…I place a very safe order….a fruit salad, which I had  before, and knew was delicious, and some sort of beefsteak in gravy that I didn’t think I could go too far wrong with.  Well, the beefsteak was not too bad.  It was very thin hamburger in a gravy sauce.  The salad never came, so I called the waitress over to ask her about it.  She seemed very confused that I would order TWO meals.  No…I just wanted the fruit salad with my meal.   This is what she brought me.  Sure looks like a vegetable salad to me.  I don’t know how she could go wrong since I pointed directly to the item on the menu, and “fruit salad” was written in Chinese right next to the English.  Later, I ordered another Sprite.  A different waitress took care of me, and she had no idea what I was asking for, so I changed it to a Coke, which is a well-known drink around here.  She seemed to totally understand.  Then she brought back this weird-tasting ice tea.  Oh well.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could send you a hot crockpot dinner... Just a little something I could set to cook on low and have it ready to go by the time it arrived. Hang in there, Paul!