Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lost in Translation

This week I am studying Spanish in Barcelona, I am really wishing I had booked more than 1 week, I'm torn as to whether or not I'll be extending my stay here - stay tuned.

One of the things that makes me laugh as I walk around the city are signs advertising products or store names that have been translated from English to another language. The vending machine at the school has sandwiches which are translated into English. A student came and asked me what cranc was. Very puzzled by this I went to look - it was a crab sandwich. I can only guess that somebody knew that crabby and cranky were synonyms so therefore crank and crab must be the same thing.

Here are two examples I've come across in Barcelona.

Not sure why the change of name but this is obviously a Dunkin Donuts. One of the first I've seen while abroad. Starbucks are everywhere though. I overheard some of the students in the school talking about how they really wanted a Starbucks but there are none here. Personally I've walk by 3 on my way from the school to my apartment, not sure where these people are looking as they walk.

Not much to say about his just liked the translation of the movie poster.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Car Chat

Here are some random musings about cars and driving that I have accumulated during my travels.

You'll find no surprise that men and women see cars in very different ways. In talking to a coworker about being picked up at the Beijing airport his first question was what type of car was it - Audi, Mercedes, Rolls. I had no idea, that was irrelevant.

There's only one time when there's traffic in Beijing - from morning to night.

License plates in the UK are yellow on the back of the car and white on the front of the car.

The UK has different licenses for automatic and manual cars, additional tests are needed if you want a license that allows you to drive both types of cars. If you have the wrong type of license and get into an accident your insurance will reject the claim.

In Barcelona on a 6 lane highway I noticed that the 3 middle lanes had light indicators above them with either a red X or a green arrow. The lanes themselves were also painted with large arrows in the center going in both directions. To address rush hour traffic the lanes switch directions at various times the lights above the lanes indicate whether traffic is going in the direction you are travelling or not.

Taxi Time
With all the time I spend in taxis I have found it interesting that different cities mark their taxis in different ways. Below see if you can match the city to the taxi.

Beijing, New York, London, Hong Kong, Milan

Various colours but bumpers are gold along with gold stripe around

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Better Late than Never

At the beginning of July I headed to Disneyland Paris for my quarterly team meeting. Spent the day doing normal business stuff then we headed to the park for fun. It was all a bit surreal to me, it was like I stepped through a space machine and was transported back to the US. Everything in the park was American, I can only assume that is for branding purposes they want all of the parks to look and feel the same. As a result you enter and are walking down Main street, USA (although you're in Paris) all the restaurants & bars in Disney Village reminded me of those at Downtown Disney in Orlando: Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, a Chicago style steak house, a country western bar, disco, and a sports bar.
Going on a weekday evening there weren't many queues at all the longest wait we had was 20 minutes. This enabled us to hit all the high-speed/action/roller-coaster type rides there and go on Space mountain 3 times. The speed with which we got through the park was probably helped by one of my co-workers who knew where everything was so we were able to quickly go from 1 attraction to another.
Over dinner we had an interesting conversation about housing. In France apartments are sold or rented not based on the number of bedrooms but rather the total number of rooms (excluding kitchen and bathroom). For example an apartment with a living room and bedroom would be listed as a T2. Some apartments in France come with what is called an "American Kitchen" this refers to a kitchen that is open to the living room but with a bar or island separating the two.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yes I'm Still Alive

Just a quick post to let you all know that I haven't forgotten about my blog. I know it's been weeks since I posted which was a combination of being on holiday (or vacation depending on what country you live in) and then getting sick while on vacation. A week of sleep and being on antibiotics I am now feeling better. Getting sick while on vacation is never a good thing, I think it was my bodies way of telling me I need to slow down a bit. Luckily it's summer time and Europe slows down. Not a lot on my plate over the summer so I should be able to get back to my old self shortly.