Travel Rules, almost every traveler has them. Our number one travel rule is a rule we came up with very early on in our travels. We start learning and using words and common phrases in the language of the country we are going to. It is something for fun we call “bar speak” and we’re fluent in 7 different languages of it.
The most important words are please and thank you. You would not believe how much more helpful and friendly people are when you use those words in their language. The only phrase that might be more important is “where is the bathroom?”.
At the end of a long trip that had us visiting 3 different countries that spoke three different languages we were worn out. Our idea for an easy day was short visit to the beautiful medieval town called Saint-Paul de Vence located not to far from Nice, France. All of their little artisan shops would be the perfect place to find a gift for the person who watches our dogs.
It was when we walked into the third shop that I decided that I had already visited about two shops too many. I told Kim that I was abandoning her to sight see and take a few pictures around the town. We hadn’t checked our cell service, but I was pretty sure the town wasn’t big enough for us to loose each other.
About half an hour later I peaked in a doorway to see how Kim was coming along with her shopping. The store owners, an older couple, were handing Kim item after item and Kim was politely responding “bonjour” each time they handed her something to look at.
It was about the third time she said it I finally figured out what was going on, she thought “bonjour” meant “thank you” in French. Being the nice husband I am, I made sure not to point out her mistake in front of other people. For ten minutes I laughed harder and harder every time they handed her something and she said “Hello”.