If you travel, without question you’ve had your share of experiences with “Chinglish,” or other corrupted forms of the English language. After all, there are books and websites devoted to this stuff. But while trekking in Bolivia last month, I discovered an entirely new form of linguistic weirdness, in the form of a tag on my (outfitter-supplied) tent.
It was a brand I’d never heard of, called Alpkit, and the tent had no information as to its origin. You can imagine my befuddlement upon reading this after a full day of trekking at 15,000 feet. I thought perhaps I was hallucinating.
Now that I’m home, I’ve discovered that Alpkit is a UK outfitter, and upon reviewing their site, I realize the above is entirely tongue-in-cheek. That doesn’t make it any less amusing. Here’s to more gear manufacturers having a sense of humor.
[Photo credit: Laurel Miller]
One of my favorite things about traveling, in addition to foreign supermarkets, oddball museums, and miniature toiletries, is the local English-language expat newspaper. When I’m home in New York, I tend to get all my news online, either directly from news websites through specific searches or curated from friends’ links on social media (one of the best sources for news from US newspapers is Canadian NY1 anchorman and New Yorker favorite Pat Kiernan‘s site Pat’s Papers). Sorry US newspapers, I know I’m part of the problem. But while I’m traveling, I love to grab the local newspaper over hotel breakfast or in a coffeeshop and learn about local issues, news, and phenomena.Last month in Malaysia while reading the New Straits Times, I learned about how competitive the Chinese are at a kite flying festival and how southeast Asian children have to be taught to detect sour milk. The travel section reviewed a new hotel in Penang with a first impression of “adequate” and the Niexter insert written by Malaysian teenagers taught me all about malapropisms. A couple at our hotel told me they came to Penang after reading an article on the Hotel Penaga’s renovation from the paper in Kuala Lumpur.
It was from Istanbul’s Today’s Zaman that I learned about the excellent expat community and online forum I’ve become a part of in the last year, and I now have friends who have worked at Zaman and their competitor the Hurriyet Daily News. When I first visited Turkey in 2008, I recall reading an interesting editorial in one of the papers about how stealing things from airplanes like safety cards can cause delays, as the plane can’t take off without enough for everyone. The torn out article is long-gone, but I’ve retained the factoid and it keeps me honest on airplanes (though I’ve been tempted to take a souvenir from some eastern European airlines). When the Hurriyet turned 50 this year, writer Jennifer Hattam wrote a great piece on the particular challenges of not only translating the language of news, but the cultural specifics and background as well.
Expat news doesn’t only come in print form. I tweeted about expat news sources and read how writer Lisa Bergren relies on the BBC for news as well as comfort, and CJGuest recommends Al Jazeera from the Arabic world, the German Deutsche Welle, NHK from Japan, and Russia Today from the Russian Federation. Gadling’s own Grant Martin likes the South China Morning Post and the more western Sydney Morning Herald.The local English-language paper doesn’t always have the freshest content, the most stellar writing, or the coolest layout, but it provides an invaluable look into regional and national issues. Expat news can also provide a lens through which to see world news through local perspectives, and help us keep in touch with the sentiments and opinions in our home countries and cultures.
Gadling readers, do you have any favorite news sources abroad? Please feel free to share in the comments.
Photo courtesy Flickr user Ed Yourdon
Why I never thought to throw this word out in the open – I don’t know. There are far too many Americans not quite in-the-know and unhip to everyday American slang. I remember casually saying the vocab bit you’ll find below in just a few seconds in a conversation and found there were several folk bewildered by the terminology.
Today’s word is an English slang word used in the U.S.A:
hater blockerz – shades, sunglasses
Let me explain this one for all who don’t already know. Ever been to a nightclub and notice an obnoxious amount of people wearing sunglasses on the dark, dimly lit dance floor? Most of us are probably wondering what the heck they are hiding from or why on Earth some people make such poor fashion statements. Well my dear friends I don’t have a good answer for you. Maybe they’re hiding from you? Perhaps you were staring too hard at their entire being. Could be it be they’re an outlaw on the run who desperately needed to dance, but couldn’t drop the disguise? Better yet – they’re probably just a victim of not-so-trendy trends. Your guess is as good as mine.
Past English words: agro, elope