And we thought our guide in Mongolia didn’t speak English…..
After boarding the Trans Mongolia Express from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing we find out we have our own personal conductor. But he really does not speak one word of English! We figure since he works on board the train and meets a lot of foreigners, he must understand the basic questions, like ‘where is the toilet’ or ‘what time do we arrive’? But no, nothing…..
Fortunately we live in the 21st century with smart phones. He has the google-translate app! And we have a Chinese phrase book. We will be fine. Or so we think……
Unfortunately our Chinese pronunciation is not the greatest and he just looks at us blankly. A look we would become very familiar with.
He picks up his phone, types a few words and shows it to us.
‘Eggs don’t eat’.
Right……. No, they don’t eat. We eat eggs. Maybe that is what he is trying to ask us. If we would like an egg. We say yes, but never get an egg.
He pulls out his phone again. ‘You drive to Beijing’. Is he asking us to drive the train??? What happened to train driver???
We tried practising on a little girl that came to visit us on the train, but I guess our pronunciation wasn’t too great.
She could sing in English though.
This was only the beginning of being lost in translation. Throughout the rest of the trip we came across a few more…..