Funny Translations

bad translation

I hadn’t been in Thailand long before I started noticing funny translations all over the place. Sometimes it is just a small mistake that makes something funny, like “rice ant pork” instead of “rice and pork.” Other times a terrible spelling can make a translation funny, such as “singarporsrink” instead of the well-known “Singapore Sling.” Then there are the translations that make absolutely no sense, like this menu I saw at a restaurant in Bangkok that said “the fish estimates the sea thicket is angry.” Yes, waiter, I’ll have the fish estimates the sea thicket is angry, please. These bad translations are found most commonly on menus at restaurants, but if you look you’ll find them all over the place. Here are a few of the “best worst” translations from Thai to English that I’ve come across in my first year here in Thailand. Continue reading

The Puppies of New Thida

If you’ve ever been to Thida, you know there are dogs that seem to roam around wherever they please. Through the middle of the school, in the cafeteria, around the snack bar; they basically run the place. Well, a few weeks ago, we found out about a new addition to the Thida dog family — puppies!! 4 adorable, fluffly, chunky puppies.  These puppies live in a large dog cage, behind the New Thida cafeteria. After lunch, we like to take stop by and play with these cute pups before heading back to the office or to teach our next class. They are already growing really fast! Here are a few pictures, of course, because who doesn’t love looking at pictures of puppies?!

Thida: Sports Day

Sports day is quickly approaching and for the past couple of weeks all of the students have been preparing.

You’re probably thinking, “Oh that’s great! There’s a lot of emphasis on sports and exercise at Thida!” Wrong!

As far as I can tell, the students are practicing to march, and only march. The students have been stomping around the school with marching batons and a Thai teacher tooting a whistle at them as they step in time. And to what end? What really is the point of half of my students missing important lessons (important to me at least) so they can slog around like infantry?

I walked up to a few of the girls in my P5 class today after school and they were standing around with their batons. “What can you guys do with those?” I asked. “What have you been practicing to do?”

One of them responded by stomping her feet and pulling the baton to her chest and thrusting it outward in time. She then laughed and shrugged her shoulders, as if to say “That’s about it.”

As far as I can tell, the only real sports that will be happening on “Sports Day,” will be the volleyball game between the English teachers and the Thai teachers. I’m using the word “game” loosely here, seeing as the Thai teachers have been practicing for this game for nearly three months and we’ve done nothing of the sort. I think slaughter  may be a bit more appropriate. Either way, it will be a fun day of school, that’s for sure.

– Jade

Massaman Battle to the Death: Settled?

So, after an organized tasting between both restaurants, we are at a stalemate. We currently have 6 votes for the Muslim restaurant and 6 votes for the Rajutid restaurant.

Last Saturday Peter treated those of us who wanted to participate to a lunch, to determine which massaman restaurant was in fact the best.  We met at the Rajutid restaurant for our first tasting and they brought their A game. It was by far the best meal I’ve had at the Rajutid restaurant. The chicken was tender and lacked the slimy texture it had the first time I went to eat there. The sauce was thick and fresh and didn’t taste overly-sweet, but sweet nonetheless. The roti, also was nice, but didn’t stand out. The major complaint shared by all was the portion size.

After we finished at the Rajutid restaurant we all headed over to the Muslim restaurant. Just like the Rajutid restaurant, and as if they knew we were all coming for a taste-off, they brought their A game as well. The sauce was spicy, the portions were more substantial, and the roti stood on its own. The major complaint held by some was that their meat was slightly fatty. Also, whereas some of us didn’t care for the sweetness of Rajutid as much, others didn’t enjoy the spiciness of the Muslim restaurant. For as good as the Rajutid restaurant was that morning, the Muslim restaurant still took it in my eyes. The combinations were more savory, the roti flakier and more flavorful, and the portions more substantial.

While they both brought their best, it came down to a difference in taste. Any real complaint about either restaurant was just not major enough to make significant  difference.

Votes for Rajutid: Peter, Kristin, Eric, Stuart, Savannah and Levi

Votes for the Muslim Restaurant: Jade, Dave, Catherine, Krystal, Ashley, Fiona

For there to be any real solution we need more votes. That, or we need to try the new Massaman place that Savannah has just claimed to be even better!

Stay tuned until our next food challenge.

Thai snacks – Lays, local style

Lays Mieng Kam

Thais are serious about their snacks. 10:30 am every day is snack break at Thida. Every kid in the school rushes to the canteen to buy absurdly sweet treats and bags of strange meat. After school, you see Thais everywhere chowing down on meat sticks and fruit shakes. And upon stepping foot into any 7-Eleven or Family Mart, you’ll encounter rows of candy, chips, sweet rolls, and hot dog-like mystery foods.

I personally have always enjoyed trying the endless varieties of potato chips I could find back home. Not every flavor is a hit. Some are quite weird. But occasionally some are good. Thailand has its own complete set of Lays flavors. They’ve got Original, of course, along with Sour Cream and Onion and Extra Barbeque. But the familiar flavors stop there. Browse a little more and you’ll find Spicy Crab, Shrimp Barbeque, Seaweed, Fried Squid, Meatball, Raw Salmon, and others. This last week I discovered two new “25th anniversary” flavors – Mieng Kam (a traditional Thai snack with lime, ginger, and chillies) and Chili Paste – both of which were pretty impressive. I’d especially recommend the Mieng Kam flavor (pictured). It’s different, but delicious.

One more cool thing about Lays in Thailand: See the logo on the bag? It appears to (kinda-sorta) say “Lay” in English. But it actually is a Thai word (เลย์) which is pronounced “Lay”. They managed to make their logo legible to both Thais and Farang. Impressive.

Got Milk?

Every Monday at Thida all the MEP (Mini English Program) teachers facilitate clubs. Each club has a theme – games, videos, writing, art, etc. After recess, the students line up and disperse into their designated clubs. This Monday, we were told by a Thai teacher, “Wait 10 minutes. The students go for milk.” Nobody was really sure what that meant, but we didn’t mind 10 free minutes in the office, so we headed back to the office while all the MEP students disappeared into New Thida for the forementioned milk. Snack and milk time means serious business.

Next thing we knew, all the students were dragging box after box of milk through New Thida, past the playground, across the courtyard, up several flights of stairs, and down the long hallway to their classrooms. Did I mention the kids drink a lot of milk here? Now, every box was full of over 30 personal size milk boxes, so these were heavy. Tiny students + big boxes of milk = lots of students huffing and puffing, sprawled out all over the school with large boxes of milk everywhere. Turns out, the milk delivery took so long that clubs were cancelled, and we got to spend the afternoon entertained by students lugging huge boxes of milk all over the school. And that’s one thing I love about teaching at Thida: There is rarely a dull moment. Enjoy the pictures!