Lost in translation

The evening started off conventionally enough...

We met on the Rynek and after waiting the best part half an hour for latecomers to join us we headed off to the first watering hole for the evening. "The Beer Gallery" was indeed rather beer-centric, offering a wide variety of beers from around the globe. Luckily I espied a poster for Green Mill cider on one of the tables. Fortunately, I had sampled it for the first time several days previously and I knew I liked it. As an added bonus it comes in 400ml bottles rather than the piddling 330ml bottles that my beloved Kiss Cider comes in.

There were eight of us and we parked ourselves in the corner and some rather comfy leather sofas. The seating arrangements changed throughout the evening as people came and went or attended to calls of natures and calls of telephone. The Beer Gallery's Beer Toilet was indeed a fine place, decorated with hundred of beer mats on the walls.

The bar itself was decorated with paintings on the walls. I looked around and tried to spot the theme. Rembrandt, Van Gogh... "Dutch grand masters perhaps?" I thought to myself. Looking further afield I could see a work by Michelangelo and another by Leonardo da Vinci. There was a common theme here for sure. But what? A common palette perhaps? No. The theme was beer. Every painting had a bottle of beer strategically photoshopped into it. Da Vinci was particularly well represented with those iconic images of "The Mona Beer Lisa". "Woman with an ermine (and beer)".

As the purpose of the meeting was to talk in English that is what we did (in the main). Until a Korean member of the group arrived with a friend of his (also Korean). The new guy spoke six languages and when talking with us he was using about four of them, a little bit of English, a whole lot of French, with some Spanish and Italian thrown in for good measure. We taught him a few Polish phrases just for a bit of fun.

So, we left The Beer Gallery (I really wish I could have thought of something witty to write in their guest book) and in the true spirit of seizing the day went to Carpe Diem. Further mild interlingual misunderstandings ensued. Did one of the Korean guys really live "by the liver" (river). Was the DJ really "to ass" ("do dupy" in Polish literally means "to ass", but is better translated as "sucks" or, in keeping with the original, slightly more vulgar "is crap")

Lessons learnt from the evening? It seems that you can never know enough languages. My poor French and even poorer Spanish enables me to understand a bit, but not enough to converse. But, alas, learning languages takes a little bit to much effort. Also, I'm not highly motivated to learn them. I don't even go on holiday to French or Spanish-speaking countries. Another, perhaps more important lesson, is that you should never leave your unlocked smartphone on the table while you hit the dancefloor. Luckily, it wasn't my phone and there were no announcements made on my Facebook wall either confirming or denying my red-blooded heterosexuality.

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