quarta-feira, 1 de outubro de 2008

Welcome aboard

Hi everyone! Welcome to fun traveling in English.

We are going to share experiences when traveling to English speaking countries.

We want to hear your stories about how you managed with your English while traveling.

Tell us about your success and your difficulties.

Tell us how much you needed to speak and understand to really enjoy this experience.

We'll be looking for anecdotes and testimonials that will help us when traveling.

So, let's share and have fun.

Remember to post your questions and comments to our storytellers.


Um comentário:

Dennis disse...

Hi, Sandra.

I just took a look at all of your blogs. They were very interesting!

I thought that if I made a post about one of my travel experiences, it might create some interest from your students. Here it is.

My First Trip to China

I'm lucky to have traveled twice to China. The first time was in 1982, and the second time was in 2001. During both trips, my language challenges were not with English, of course, but with Chinese: I knew only a few words and phrases in that language.

During my first trip (1982), I went first to Tianjin, then to Beijing. Tianjin had, at one time, been an important port city and international trading center, and today it is becoming that way again. When I visited there, however, non-Chinese were uncommon because China was just beginning to open up to the West again. Consequently, my ability to explore Tianjin was somewhat limited, and I was also encouraged to take a translator with me wherever I went.

I have many memories of my experiences in Tianjin, but I remember two things particularly well: my "conversations" with waiters in the café of the hotel where I stayed and a trip I took without a translator to a restaurant near the hotel.

I enjoyed spending time, when I wasn't working (I was on a business trip) with two of the young waiters in my hotel's café. We were somehow able to share experiences even though I knew almost no Chinese and they knew almost no English. We communicated with facial expressions and gestures and by drawing pictures. Somewhere I have a photo of one of those "conversations." I remember that, somehow, they taught me how to count to 20 or 30 and, even more importantly, how to say "I want cold beer"!

The second thing I remember well was the trip that I took—with no translator—to a restaurant near my hotel. I couldn't read the menu, of course, because I didn't know any Chinese characters at all. However, I had had good results by drawing pictures when I met with my two young waiter friends, so I figured I could use that technique to get what I wanted to eat. The results were mostly quite good.

The one exception was when I tried to draw (and pantomime) eating rice. I drew what I thought looked like rice, and I pantomimed eating it with chopsticks, but I could tell from the restaurant waiter that he wasn't exactly sure what I wanted. Finally he brought me a steaming covered bowl of something. I was sure that it was rice, but when I removed the cover, I found that it was . . . quail eggs!

So much for my abilities as an artist and mime!

The other food that I had (chicken, vegetables, noodles) was quite good, but I never did get any rice. I was able to get cold beer with no problems at all, though!

Best wishes from Arizona, U.S.A.—

Dennis in Phoenix