Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cheese Burger Please!

Cultural differences!

(Here is just a quick funny story that happened to me two months ago.)

Every month, we travel out to get supplies as many of you already know. The majority of the time we go in my truck to Kavieng. Sometimes we will go by boat to the island of New Britain. Every time we go to Kavieng for supplies we go to a restaurant for lunch. There are two restaurants in Kavieng and both are operated by the two hotels in Kavieng.

About two months ago my family and I arrived at one of the restaurants for lunch. We were the only ones in the restaurant, as is normally the case. Each member of my family ordered for themselves in English. (These small hotels are geared for tourist.) One of my children ordered a “fish burger”, and another ordered a “steak burger”. Then I ordered a “cheese burger”, and the rest of the family ordered as well. I could not wait for my cheese burger! I was very hungry. We had left very early in the morning, and none of us had eaten yet. It was just about 1:00pm. When the food arrived, Rachel received her steak burger, Heather received her fish burger, and I received my cheese burger. As I looked at my sandwich something did not look right. I took of the top piece of bread only to find a single piece of cold cheese! That was it! Nothing else, just a single slice of cheese. I called the waitress over and told her my order was wrong. She looked at my sandwich and said, “No it isn’t.” She then looked at my daughters two sandwiches, and said you have a “cheese burger!” We then realized, based on my daughter’s use of the word burger, it confused her. After all, they ordered a fish burger and steak burger and received fish and steak sandwiches. So when she heard my order of a cheese burger, she assumed I simply wanted cheese!

I then told her I wanted mince meat (hamburger meat) with my cheese. She then said, “Oh, okay you want mince meat with your cheese burger.” I just smiled and said, “yes please.”

My family and I laughed for several minutes. It was clear we were not at a restaurant in America!


Anonymous said...

That is very funny! How literal our words are for thought I believe.

bobinnc said...

So if you actually order a "ham"burger you would get ham instead of hamburger meat? Very funny. Good lesson in how semantics can be a very slippery slope. Thanks for the laugh!