Monday, September 11, 2006

tinglish and other language difficulties

communicating in thailand has been a really interesting experience. there are only a few thais who speak it really well, some thais know a little, and then a lot know no english... but you still manage to get by. this morning i decided to try room service and i pressed the room service button on my phone and got through to the restaurant but after trying to explain i wanted to order fruit, toast and tea for a couple of minutes to 3 different people i think they gave up and the phone went dead. so i called reception where there was 1 english speaking woman. i told her what i wanted and she said she would place the order for me. 10 minutes later and there is a knock at the door and a young thai boy walks in with a plate of toast and tea. i explained that i wanted the continental breakfast and pointed to it one the menu and tried to explain that i wanted the fruit and juice aswell and some milk for the tea. after a couple of minutes i phoned the reception and asked the english speaking later to translate into thai. he nodded and pointed at the menu and then left. 5 minutes later another knock at the door and he returns with another plate of toast and some more tea. i tried to explain again that i really wanted to have some fruit and orange juice and pointed to the thai characters above it.

he gestured for me to write it down. so i wrote 'fruit' and 'orange juice' but i thought i would play it safe and also draw pictures so i drew a banana, apples and oranges. he nodded and said 'banana' i said yes. i even started to write the thai characters, guessing the word for fruit by judging the word position and length. 5 minutes later he returns with a plate of pineapple and some orange juice\. good enough for me.. i actually felt bad for all the trouble.. i just really wanted some fruit. i thanked him and paid the 88 baht on the bill and gave him a tip.

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