Travel Teacher Oops: Basically Neighbors with the “Biebs”

One of the Hallways of Le Fevre

One of the Hallways of Le Fevre

Adelaide, Australia. 2010. Raiding the supply of “blueys” or blue withdrawal room forms in the staff room of Le Fevre High School, I grabbed a substantial stack. Recently, I had been called a “f**king bitch” in class by one of my year 8 students, so I armed myself with the blue tickets to the “naughty room.”

The withdrawal room was where you sent unruly, belligerent or uncooperative students. As I contemplated how long my blue pile would last, the assistant principal Jane Prince, whisked into the staff room.

“Steph, we need you to teach the Year 7 transition class today,” she mentioned while filling teacher pigeon holes (mailboxes) full of paperwork.

“The what class?” By now I was so used to winging it at Le Fevre, where I had been assigned as an American exchange teacher, it didn’t faze me one bit to be given a class I didn’t have a clue about.

A classroom awaiting students.

A classroom awaiting students.

“The transition class. Year 7s from feeder schools will be visiting today. We need to introduce these prospective students to our maths and language arts programs.”

“Jane, you really want me to teach this class?

“Yes, why not?” Jane grabbed another stack of papers, licked her thumb and began rifling through them. Soon they were completely sorted. She turned to look at me, while peering over the top rim of her glasses frames.

Because, seriously, you want the kids to come here, right? To impress them.

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Signs of the Times: “Leave your fancy footwear behind — oh, and your feet, too.”

© Sue Browne 2013

© Sue Browne 2013

Yangon, Myanmar. I love this sign, and it’s actually pretty famous in terms of funny mistranslations from around the world. Good family friends visited Burma earlier this year and took this photo. I’ve since seen it in Lonely Planet’s Signspotting and other blogs. I think it goes particularly well with the photo below.

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

McDonald’s, Colorado Springs, CO, USA. This completely cracked me up. I can’t imagine running in heels after toddlers in the first place. In fact, I only started wearing wedge sandals and heels occasionally when with my kids about one year ago (and only on completely sturdy surfaces.) Being a geeky English teacher, I also noticed that an unnecessary apostrophe appears with Moms. The poor apostrophe — it’s so misused. However, that’s a different post.  

Travel Oops: Signs of the Times —  “Huh…That’s an Interesting Name”

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

©  Donar Reiskoffer

Tanning a hide in Marrakech ©  Donar Reiskoffer

“That’s an interesting name” is code for “Wow that’s an odd, quirky or WTF name.”  Celebrities, of course, are notorious for giving their kids “unique” names such as Camera, Apple, Rocket, Daisy Boo, Tallulah Belle, Audio Science, Moon Unit…the list goes on. But eventually the kids can use nicknames, (although App is still rather “interesting”) change their names or flip off the paparazzi if the camerapeople ask how the tweens like their given names.

However, when businesses carefully select a name, it’s usually emblazoned on a large sign or spelled out in huge neon letters. And unintended associations and connotations can linger for a long time. Check out the above tanning salon, Tan Your Hide. Yes, it’s a tongue-in-cheek name. Actually tanning your hide is pictured above and to the left, and why wouldn’t you want to do that to yourself in a little cooking capsule?

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Signs of the Times: Beavis and Butt-head, This is for You Guys

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

Adelaide, Australia. Although I love Asian food, my inner adolescent boy came out strong with this one. I used to drive by this sign daily on my way to work. Kurt, the kids and I ate at A Dong a few times and I highly recommend the restaurant. In fact, I always wished I had taken a photo of the establishment before we left at the end of 2010. However, upon returning to Adelaide last month, I had a mission. While doing this post, I checked to see if there was a translation for A Dong from Vietnamese to English and could not find one. So, that still leaves the original connotation alive.

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

© MTV

© MTV

Signs of the Times — Fun in the Sun? Maybe Not…

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser 2011

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I’m sure when the town and cruise promoters developed this sign, they were completely confident in the certainty of the statement. After all, most of the time Cabo is brimming with sunshine. However, on those off days, the contradiction of the sign really screams out to you and is quite funny.

Sign of the Times: Think of Your “Happy Place” — The Impound Lot

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

Colorado, USA: You have to love it when traffic sign writers use sarcasm. This one, in particular, caught my eye. Definitely, by conjuring up an image of my minivan being towed, I thought twice about parking in this spot.

Visualize being towed

Travel Oops’s Friday Funny Sign: Keeping it Real (they know their stuffed elk is dead, right?)

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

Poncha Springs, Colorado. Hunting is a prevalent activity in the west, and many hunters turn to taxidermists to display the ultimate evidence of their favorite pastime. Of course, as most people know, the animal is dead and stuffed.

I realize Real Wilderness Taxidermy’s sign uses quotes for “real,” but this still just doesn’t seem like the best word choice. In fact, they could substitute “lifelike” for real. That would even create some parallelism with “lifetime.” As a geeky English teacher, this makes perfect sense to me.

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The Friday Funny Sign — Whoa! A Storage Unit for Hannibal Lecter?

© Stephanie Glaser

I did a double take BIG Time when I first saw this sign. YIKES. They sell BONES??? And units are available — what might be in the units? Don’t want to know.

Because that would be way too twisted to actually advertise the availability of bones (let alone have a business that sells them), the sign requires closer examination. When you see the sign from the correct angle, it says, We Sell Boxes.  However, when you first drive into the commercial site where this storage business is located, that is NOT how the sign reads. Time to choose another font.

© Stephanie Glaser

The Friday Funny Sign — Let’s go to the Beach — or maybe NOT!

© Stephanie Glaser 2011

Midcoast, Oregon. If the chilly water along the Oregon coast doesn’t scare you, the signs at the entrances of many of the beaches may. Not only is it great white shark territory, but large logs launch through the waves as well.

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