Friday, January 25, 2008

Some Helpful Phrases

Written on the bus from Hue to Hoi An, Vietnam
Posted from Phnom Penh, Cambodia

When you're traveling the way we're traveling, you occasionally have the good fortune of meeting other people who are traveling the way you're traveling. If you're lucky, these people are funny and interesting, and they are happy to engage you in hours of meaningless conversation. If you're SUPER lucky, they're not from America, and they have idioms and mannerisms that you've never heard before, but you find endlessly amusing. And if you're luckier still, they don't mind it, even a little bit, when you ask them to repeat these idioms so that you can write them on your blog. Here are some of our favorites, for those of you following along, who want some backpacker flavor.

Courtesy of Anna and Caleb, of New Zealand:Feral -- used to describe something TRULY disgusting. Example: "Eating a fried cat is feral!" When pronouncing the word, be sure to draw out the "e" so that it sounds like "feee-ral." Be emphatic.

Shit as -- used to describe how you're doing, when things are kind of crappy. Example: "I'm shit as, that's how I am. We just spent the last hour trying to confirm our flight and no one would help us." When pronouncing this phrase, the "as" part is sort of dropped off at the end. So it sounds a lot more like "shit-aaaahhhs."

Courtesy of Tom and Lizzy, of the UK:Posh -- now of course, I've heard this word before. Who DOESN'T remember Posh Spice? But there's something about the way Brits say the word that makes you want to curl up inside of it. It's used to describe something nice, fancy, or high-end. Example: "This restaurant is really quite posh. I hope we can afford it." Matt and I have taken to dropping the word into conversation whenever we can. Which, given our budget, is not often.

Courtesy of Tom and Jan, of the UK:This one is less of a phrase and more of a story, and if any of you have been to London, you will, no doubt appreciate it. Tom was talking about the night bus in London, and all of the insanity that goes along with it. Neither Matt nor I have really spent any time in London, so we turned to Tom and told him that every time he said night bus, we thought "KNIGHT Bus" of Harry Potter and Stan Shunkpike fame. "It's exactly like the Knight Bus!" Tom cried. "Except that everyone's drunk and no one can do any magic." And something about that sent Matt and I overboard. Everyone's drunk and no one can do magic! Brilliant!

Also courtesy of Tom, a phrase just for Geoff, "the wank bank." This one needs no explanation if you're Geoff, and if you're not Geoff, and you're curious, you're just going to have to email me to find out what it is. Because it's not appropriate to write about on a blog, especially when its speaker was a pretty high-powered attorney.

As we still have another 2 months of our journey left, I'm hoping to add additional phrases in, here and there. So far, these are our very favorite. For the few days after we left the company of Anna, Caleb, Tom, Lizzy, Tom, and Jan, Matt and I talked as though we were immitating someone who was British. Trust me, it was even annoying to us. But until we get it out of our system, we'll be the Americans in Hoi An, trying to find a posh restaurant that serves food that isn't even a little bit feral.


Andy said...

Don't you mean "spank bank"? Plus, how about adding "Like shit off a shovel." since it was so recent.

Carla said...


Happy Birthday!!! I have been reading your blog and you guys I envy you!! Matt slowly you are catching up to me!! Okay so I have 9 years on you...really you can't tell!!!! Have a wonderful birthday!!!!