Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speling erors

I am still in Thailand having entered the second week of our vacation here. As I am in no way any specialist in the country after the few days spent here I cannot report anything of any value regarding the colorful culture I am now privy to as an onlooker. But seeing that Tim does the place such justice this does not worry me much.

One of the things that I find endearing are the spelling mistakes in the English one sees on billboards, store windows, advertisements and menus (the photo is not from here). It is somehow much nicer than if everything was perfectly edited. As an example this morning the hotel elevator was not working and the sign on it read: „Out of service – we will have this fixed in normal time“. I somehow imagine the phrasing they were looking for was: „in no time“.

In our favorite restaurant next door to the hotel the menu has lots of errors. It should be noted that this establishment is our favorite because we only need to pass one tailor on our way there. There you can get „sparking wine“ and „freed squid“ as well as a „pena corada“ and „french fried“. All taste very good.

But we have done more than proofread and have now graduated from scuba diving in the pool and gone on dives in the ocean. I must say that the night before the trip I was unable to fall asleep as my thoughts were all in a jumble. For one I have a bad track record when it comes to this type of lessons. As a kid I took riding lessons and hated it and a couple of years ago we took skiing lessons that were fine until the time came to leave the smaller inclines and enter the vertical ones. All of these have the same thing in common; they remove you from a safe environment and place you in one where you are susceptible to hurting and loss of life. Two of my least favorite things.

So instead of sleeping I lay awake wondering what the hell had come over me to willingly give up the safety of being surrounded by an endless supply of air and a firm place to stand on. Not to mention paying for the experience. I also went through all of the possible ways of dying while scuba diving and I can tell you that my version of this list is long. My biggest worry was not myself but my 14 year old daughter that laughs a lot and did not always seem to pay attention to what the instructor was trying to teach us in the pool. These pool lessons were also a bit strange. One was mastering the feat of removing water from the goggles while underwater. This was my Achilles heel and it worried me immensely as after making ten attempts which all ended in me breathing in water through my nose and having to come out of the water so as not to drown I managed one where it worked. The instructor then said, excellent! Let‘s move on to the next thing. I would have preferred practicing until I had done it about 100 times in a row without a snag.

There were also ten hand signals that we had to know and were shown on a DVD that showed one after the other and the three of us combined were able to remember two between us once it was over. But despite this and my long list of dying while scuba diving involving anything from tentacles to boat motors, sharks, laughing, expanding lungs, exploding tanks, faulty valves, sharks and panic attacks – everything went fine. It went more than fine actually it was terrific.

So me the non skier, non horseback riding worrywart, seriously recommend scuba diving. The lessons are important despite seeming to merely provide fuel for worry and I was easily able to empty the goggles while in the sea. What makes it so wonderful is the aquatic life one gets to observe. How very, very different from life on land.

If the earth were all submerged it is hard to see how intelligence would have evolved here. I cannot imagine fish like creatures waking up in the morning and going to work – possibly first having to locate their workplace as it would in all likelihood have drifted off somewhere. Civilization would be nothing at all like what we know it to be with no paper and no books to pass on knowledge and provide entertainment. Not to mention the lack of any borders and thus countries.

This would mean that the Olympics would be held between species, not nations and these would just include the swimming events like the 200 m crawl and the 100 m breaststroke. Oh yes, and synchronized swimming. That one would be a sellout.

And speaking of spelling mistakes – I repeatedly wrote googles instead of goggles. I should open up a restaurant. Apertiser or cocktale anyone?
Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. I do not know what this says about me but not once did I notice that you had typed "googles" rather than "goggles". Perhaps this is a reflection on the number of times I resort to Google each day or perhaps it is a sign on the rapidly increasing senior moments.

    Or perhaps, I should stop reviewing books since I don't pay nearly as much attention as I should.

    I don't trust lessons; some people appear to have been pretending they can't ski/dive but they have been hired to convince the trepid that there really is nothing to it.

    My husband took one skiing lesson. He was very enthused about learning how to go down a hill. He paid careful attention and took off full of confidence. That is,until he realized he hadn't listened to the other part of the lesson on how to stop. His first run ended badly.

  2. Yrsa, that was really funny! Instructive too.

    A couple of years ago I had an "argument" with a taverna owner on Mykonos who wintered in Phuket and refused to listen to my suggestion that "coctail" was not how one spelled cocktail. His response was interesting. "What do you know about spelling, you're a writer from America? This is how it is spelled in Thailand!"

    Now I see how write he was.


  3. Appetisere and cocktales both Yrsa - funny. Learn those underwater hand signals!! Cara

  4. Yrsa, I wish I'd known you were going -- there are lots of wonderful people there I could have introduced you to.

    Thai menus are memorably mangled, but my favorite was in China. I left my hotel in Beijing and walked to an enormous, brightly lighted establishment, ignored the confusion of the waitresses, who were sort of trying to signal me away, and opened the menu. The first item was Sliced Deer Penis, which changed the way I was sitting, followed by Seven Spice Dog Testicles. I had gone into what's euphemistically called a "Men's Health" restaurant, and everything on the menu was there for its supposed aphrodisiac properties. I got up and left, taking a very, very long walk through the dining room, and when I was outside a huge burst of laughter followed me into the street.