Choosy

People are funny. In the town I’m going in Germany, there is this tiny hole-in-the-wall place that claims to have existed in the same spot for centuries and that sells wurst and sauerkraut for 3 euro. A typical tourist attraction, like a hot dog cart in New York. But you should see the online reviews.

“We stood there for 40 minutes, and nobody came up to offer us a menu or greet us.”

“We asked them to describe their vegan options, and they gave us a nasty look.”

“We asked if they had porkless sausage, and they glared at us and said they don’t serve an Islamic menu.”

“We asked if the food is gluten-free, and they pretended not to understand.”

People expect a maitre d’ and a menu catering to varied dietary preferences at an equivalent of a food truck.

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7 thoughts on “Choosy”

  1. Oh god this gives me flashbacks of my summer study abroad. We had a woman traveling with us who had a deadly dairy allergy. In England, we were okay because there was no language barrier. In Italy, it wasn’t fun. I was constantly worried about her dying on my watch. Thankfully we made it through without incidence but it was stressful.

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    1. “In Italy, it wasn’t fun. I was constantly worried about her dying on my watch”

      That’s what translators are for. If she knew what countries she’s going to there’s no reason to not have short notes in the languages necessary – Italian is hardly some obscure undescribed dialect.
      Or was the problem cultural in that you had no confidence that Italian waitstaff/cooks could be trusted to actually comply?

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      1. “That’s what translators are for. If she knew what countries she’s going to there’s no reason to not have short notes in the languages necessary.”

        Do you actually know a real person who makes travel preparations like this??

        Decades ago when I sold bus tickets at the New York Port Authority terminal for Continental Trailways (which at the time ran coast-to-coast bus service like Greyhound), we got LOTS of customers from Germany, and half of them could speak NO English at all, and had no one with them who could. (No, they didn’t even have pocket dictionaries.)

        The bus terminal had no interpreters. If I hadn’t just by coincidence been studying German in college at the time, those travelers couldn’t have communicated with the ticket agents at all. I still wonder how they managed to travel cross-country in an essentially monolingual America without being able to talk to 99% of the inhabitants.

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        1. I prepare like that. I’m making a list of phrases to learn for a 1 day stay in Prague.

          I don’t get how people can travel without a basic knowledge of the language. I’m too anxious for something like that.

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          1. I’m not taking about tourist phrases (though that’s always a good idea) I’m talking about someone with a life threatening condition seemingly leaving it to chance that people speaking a foreign language who have her life in their hands understand her condition.
            If I had that kind of condition I’d find a qualified translator for each language area I’m thinking of going to and getting written information to hand out. Life could be too short otherwise…

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  2. It’s easy enough to find vegan, pork-free, and gluten free foods in Germany. But you aren’t going to find it at that sort of place and that sort of place.

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