Posts Tagged With: travel

How Mexico Changed Me

Mexican Flag

Mexican Flag

I admit it; I used to be a Gringo (don’t tell anyone else). A long time ago, the only thing I knew about Mexico was what the United States media pushed out to everyone. I thought of Mexico as a destitute place where everyone was trying to cross the border into the USA. I could not have been further from the truth.

I had just started a job at a gigantic international company and my boss informed me that I had to go down to Aguascalientes, Mexico to meet my North American team. I begrudgingly did so, anxious at what I would find. When I arrived, I was in utter shock at how wrong my preconceptions had been.

North American Team's Office

North American Team’s Office

Aguascalientes was a modern city with a thriving middle class. It looked like it was taken straight out of somewhere in the south east United States. Everyone I had met was proud to be Mexican and live in Mexico. They showed me around their city as well as bringing me into their homes and introducing me to their families. This had shaken me to the core; if I was so wrong about Mexico, what else was I wrong about? I then began my quest to open my mind and discover what I was missing on this great planet of ours.

What happened to my cultural perceptions paled in comparison to what happened to my culinary ones. I grew up thinking that I had liked Mexican food . . . Ha! I did not even know what Mexican food was!!! It turns out that most of the stuff (especially from the chain restaurants) is Tex-Mex, NOT actually what anyone would find anywhere in Mexico. The food I found in Mexico was fresh with complex flavors yet served simply. A real taco was not a hard shell jammed with as much things as one could fit, it was a soft corn tortilla, a well prepared meat and usually a lime on the side. If you wanted condiments, your choices were limited to the fresh salsas they had made right there or some hot local sauces . . . that’s it.

The only place where I saw massive accompaniments was at a restaurant that served Queso Fundido. If you haven’t tried this dish, which is similar to a Fondue, try it immediately! Here you get a boiling clay pot of melted cheese, plain or with your choice of an addition, soft corn tortillas and a tiered Lazy Susan of crazy condiments. This tray of splendor contained, the usual, guacamole, sour cream, etc., but it also contained grilled knob onions, mushrooms, chilis, and much more. Think of Queso Fundido as a Quesadilla on steroids. You could also order the melted cheese cooked with lovely things such as Chorizo sausage, mushrooms, onions, and/or so much more.

Whenever I went down there for business, I would usually go down early and leave late in order to take advantage of the weekends and visit some places, along with having some leisure time for myself to spend time with the team outside of work. During the work week, my friend Sergio asked if I wanted to go for a typical Sunday family breakfast at a restaurant the upcoming Sunday. There was no way I would ever pass up an opportunity like this, so I quickly agreed.

Sunday Breakfast with Sergio

Sunday Breakfast with Sergio

Sunday morning came and Sergio picked me up at the hotel I was staying in. Along the way, he told me that this particular restaurant had two restaurants side by side. One was open in the evenings for dinner, while the one he was taking me to was open only for breakfast. (What an odd use of space?!?) There, he introduced me to the most wondrous of all breakfast foods, chilaquiles. What are chilaquiles you ask? They are fried, crispy tortilla chips, cooked until ever so slightly softened with either red or green salsa and then topped with crema. From there you order it as is or with pulled chicken, egg, or whatever else they have on the menu. I know this sounds an awful lot like nachos, but believe me, they are so vastly different. Once you try them, you will want to start every morning with a plate of fresh chilaquiles. This is something I would have never thought I would love eating for breakfast.

One weekend, my buddy Fernando and his family took me up to the silver mining town of Zacatecas. On the way there, they stopped off in this small town to get, what Fernando and his wife said, were the best gorditas in Mexico. We pulled up to this hole-in-the-wall restaurant that was surprisingly clean, warm and friendly. Being the Gringo I was, I was surprised to see that they only served gorditas . . . no tacos, no tortas, no tamale, just gorditas. I quickly learned a valuable lesson. If you do one thing and do it extremely well, people will go out of their way to acquire what you are offering. That is a concept that is very foreign to people from the States.

Later on that evening, they took me to a restaurant dedicated to some famous general named Francisco Villa. The restaurant was decorated like a house/museum to this guy. Apparently, they thought very highly of the great achievements he did for Mexico. I sat there wondering why I had never heard of this general before. Then it dawned on me . . . I DID! Mexicans often have odd nicknames for their formal names. One nickname for Francisco is Paco. Another is Pancho. This was a restaurant in honor of Pancho Villa!!! Another life altering event happened at that moment. I suddenly realized that what we are taught in history class is completely subjective to where you live and who is teaching it. Villains could be heroes and heroes could be villains.

Pancho Villa's Restaurant

Pancho Villa’s Restaurant

The only downside to visiting Mexico was that I could not eat what restaurants were trying to pass as Mexican food for years after that first visit. Eventually, I came to grips with it by calling it Tex-Mex. Also, in recent years there have been a lot of authentic Mexican places popping up from full blown restaurants, to street carts, to hole in the walls.

Overall, Mexico changed the way I look at the world. It proved that all I thought was fact was merely an illusion which others proposed to me. I knew from then on, that if I was to truly understand the world and its myriad cultures, I would have to get out there and discover it myself. In essence, Mexico changed who I was at my core and what I believe in as a citizen of this great planet.

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Make your own judgments about locations and people.
  • Immerse yourself fully in other cultures.
  • Go outside of your comfort zone and try new things.
  • Discover local history through new eyes.
  • Shed your old beliefs, open your mind and discover the truth for yourself.

Author:                 Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                     7/20/2014

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How Amsterdam Is Misunderstood

Amsterdam, the misunderstood …

I sit here in the business class lounge on yet another trip to my Amsterdam office. I hear the heated conversation of a fellow business man on the phone with his wife arguing vehemently about him having to go to Amsterdam for work. He wholeheartedly puts forth that he has no choice and if he does not go, he will be fired. He goes on to say that he is going there for work and not “for fun”. But his wife is having none of it. She would rather give up their financial stability than risk her husband partying and/or being unfaithful to her. I do not know their situation.   For all I know he could be a raging drug addict pervert who has hurt her many times before. That is not what this article is about. It is about the magnificent city that is Amsterdam. Everyone has preconceptions about this jewel of a city, but they are most likely vastly incomplete. Amsterdam is a treasure chest with no bottom!

While it is true that prostitution and mild drug use are legal, it does not mean that those activities are the only reason to go there. Smoking is legal in the United States, but I’m not going to start smoking because I am there. These very same vices are accessible in regions around the globe with varying degrees of legality/enforcement. If someone is going to partake in those activities, they probably already have elsewhere. Additionally, if you have jealousy or sobriety worries for your spouse going places, then you have bigger issues than the trip at hand to deal with.

Beautiful Canal

Beautiful Amsterdam Canal

Amsterdam is one of those picturesque places that is imagined but rarely exists for most of us. It is divided by manmade canals rather than just streets. These waterways are lined with tall, thin, beautifully architected buildings which used to be warehouses/houses for the traders from its shipping hay day. These houses now serve as residences and offices. The beauty is surreal and one can only imagine what it would be like living or working there. Allow me to brag a moment … it is truly breathtaking to be able to work from an office right on a canal. The fresh air gently blowing in while passenger boats float by with tourists or locals out for a day on the water … absolutely magical.

Office Canal

Canal view from office

I cannot stress this enough, Amsterdam is one of the best walking cities of the world! There is very little automobile traffic in the city center (Centrum). Commuters and locals take well thought out trolleys throughout the city, but they are not overwhelming. That leaves room for pedestrians and bicycles … oh there are bicycles … everywhere! (Note: Bicycles and cars/buses have right of way. So stay alert!) As one walks, there are major roadways and tiny alleyways each hosting unique treasures. These routes are lined with small and unique shops and businesses.   One can enjoyably get lost searching for what amazing thing lies around the next corner.

Hint: If you have a Smartphone, turn on your GPS and add your hotel or specific other destination to your favorites and NEVER get lost!!! Amsterdam is that small and easy to navigate.

 The Dutch people … what an amazing culture! Due to Amsterdam’s status as a premier tourist destination, everyone I met was friendly, warm and welcoming. As with most European metropolitan areas, the people speak many other languages besides their own … and well too. You will have little trouble speaking with the locals. As a matter of fact, you should engage them as much as possible. Everyone has an interesting story or viewpoint and they are eager to hear yours.

 So, what do you like to do? Arts and culture? Amsterdam has some of the finest and most unique museums. They have it all, from Van Gogh to Medieval Torture. Are you a foodie? Because the Dutch have a history of world exploration, they import everything and with that comes an eclectic mix of world cuisines. Fancy Tibetan? They got it. Argentinean steaks? Yup! American fast food? Unfortunately yes to that too. I had one of the best and most unique sandwiches from an Italian sandwich shop called Cora Broodjes (Cora Sandwiches – http://www.cora-broodjes.nl/) on Prinsengracht.

Cora Sandwiches

Cora Sandwiches

Do you like to party? Amsterdam’s got an amazing nightlife. And they really aren’t serving coffee as the top item in those coffee shops. Europeans are well aware of the lure of Amsterdam. Some fly in, party all night without sleep and then catch a flight back home the next day … yeah it’s that kind of city!

 Do you like the water? Rent a paddle boat (or bike boat) and cruise the canals at your own pace. Want a guided tour, get on a canal tour boat and navigate the waterways learning all about what made Amsterdam a jewel in Europe’s crown.

Paddle Bikes

Paddle Bikes

While the tourists are indulging themselves in anything they could imagine, the local population operates right along side as if the rest does not exist. Parents with front and rear bicycle baby seats peddle along cobblestone streets. Women with skirts and high heals peddle their bikes with a style and grace that they must be born with. Business people zipping along in trolley cars heading to their next appointment. Old and young couples strolling the canals hand in hand without a care in the world. Yeah, the locals know how good they’ve got it.

Is Amsterdam wooden clogs and tulips? Yes.
Is it tall thin row houses and canals? Yes.
Is it prostitutes and drugs? Yes.
Is it bicycles and boats? Yes.
Amsterdam is all of this and so much more!

It is a safe, friendly, beautiful, historic city that everyone should come, explore and discover what Amsterdam is to them.

Travel Note: If you want REALLY good beef ribs in an old world super friendly atmosphere, get yourself to Café de Klos (Kerkstraat 41-43). There is usually a long wait for the few tables that they have there, but no worries . . . they own the bar across the street and you can hang out over there for some drinks and appetizers while you wait. If you want to cut down the wait time, ask to sit at the bar instead of a table (for some reason, there is more bar space than table space). The staff is hysterical and will make fun of themselves and you in a heartbeat, so don’t go there if you are of the faint of heart. But if you play along, you will become a regular in their eyes and will have an awesome time. Need a menu, just call the bartender over . . . it’s on their shirts! If you go, ask for Marik (aka Mark – looks like Kiefer Sutherland) and tell him Superman sent you.

Cafe de Klos Menu

Cafe de Klos Menu

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Make your own judgments about Amsterdam.
  • Get around by walking or renting a bike.
  • Use the GPS/Maps feature on your Smartphone.
  • Talk with the locals.
  • Get outside of your comfort zone and try something new.

Author:                  Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                      8/12/2014

 

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Top Ten Hindi Phrases

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Whether you are traveling to India or interacting with people, here is a list of extremely useful basic Hindi phrases.  Whenever I travel or my coworkers/friends travel I prepare this very same list for them.  I have found that these are the top phrases that can handle 90% of any native conversation you would need to have.  Even with a travel phrase book, this list printed out can be a quick life saver.

In India, there are many different ways to say the same thing.  This is due to regional, dialectal, situational and personal preferences.  Even the pronunciations vary for the same words.  The best advice I have from whenever I go to India is to relax and make an attempt.  If you are far off base or use something incorrectly, the people are very helpful and will help you say it correctly.  Two of my friends once had a 20 minute discussion on how I should say a simple phrase (no conclusion was ever made).  The bonus is that, in the cities, most people speak at least basic English and truly appreciate you trying to speak their native language.  To that point, I have compiled this list with the simplest and most widely used phrases to get you in good with the locals.

Rob & Freinds In India

Rob & Freinds In India

1)         Hi / Bye
            Namaste  (nah-Mah-stay) or Namaskar (nah-Mahs-Kahr) / Alvida  (Al-vee-dah)

2)         Yes / No
            Haan  (Hahn) / Nahin  (Nuh-heen)

3)         Please / Thank you
            Krpaya  (Krip-ay-Yah) / Shukriyaa (shook-Ree-ya-ah)

4)         Excuse me.
            Kshama keejeeae  (Kuh-shah-ma kee-jee-ay)

5)         Where is . . .?  (…the bathroom)      …kaha hay?  (kah-Ha Hay)
           Toilet kaha hai?                     (Toy-let kah-Ha Hay)
           The train station                    Steśan              (stay-Sahn)
            The bus station                      Bas ka aḍḍa    (Bahs Kah Ahd-dah)
            The police station                  Pulisa Steśan   (Puh-lees-ah stay-Sahn)
            The embassy                          Dūtāvāsa         (Doo-tuh-vahs)
            The hospital                           Aspatāla          (Ah-spuh-tahl)

6)         Take me to …
            … Jaanaa hay.  (Jah-ah-nah Hay)

7)         Do you speak English? / I don’t speak Hindi.
            Apko angrézee atee hay?      (Ahp-koh ahn-Gray-zee Ay-tee Hay)
            Mujhe hindī nahīn ātee hay.            (Mooj-hah Hin-di nah-Hin Ay-tee Hay)

8)         How much is this?
            Yae kitna hay?  (Yay Kit-nah Hay)

9)         My name is… / What is your name?
            Meraa naam …hay.  (Mee-rah Nahm … Hay)
            Aapka naam kyaa hay?  (Ahp-kah Nahm Kee-yah Hay)

10)       I need a doctor!
            Mujhey Doctor kee zaroorat hay!  (Mooj-hay Doctor Kee zah-roo-Rat Hay)

(TIP: For a larger Hindi phrasebook, check out: http://wikitravel.org/en/Hindi_phrasebook )

Now that you have the basics . . . get out there and meet some people!

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Hi / Bye                                   Namaskar / Alvida
  • Yes / No                                  Haan  / Nahin
  • Please / Thank you                  Kṛpaya  / Shukriyaa
  • Excuse me                               Kshama keejeeae
  • Where is…?                            …kaha hay?
  • Take me to…please.                … Jaanaa hay.
  • Do you speak English?           Apko angrézee atee hay?
  • I don’t speak Hindi.                Mujhe hindī nahīn ātee hay.
  • How much is this?                  Yae kitna hay?
  • My name is…                          Meraa naam …hay.
  • What is your name?                Aapka naam kyaa hay?
  • I need a doctor!                      Mujhey Doctor kee zaroorat hay!

 Author:                  Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                      10/2/2013

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How To Walk In Germany

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

We all know how to walk, right?  WRONG!  If you travel to Germany, you will be stunned by the impeccably clean streets, gorgeous classic and modern architecture and the politeness and warmth of the people.  As with almost everything in Germany, there are rules!!!  These rules keep the peace and order within and make it the wondrous place that it is to visit.

Before my first trip to Cologne (Köln) a friend of mine warned me about different colored sidewalks and something about him getting a ticket from a police officer for not following signals.  After slowing him down and asking to clarify, I realized he was trying to inform me about the rules walking there.

Sidewalk in Cologne, Germany

Sidewalk in Cologne, Germany

It turns out that Germany, ingeniously, has paved the bike paths a different color to differentiate which space pedestrians and cyclists should utilize.  Normally, pedestrians have the right-of-way, but not in Germany.  A cyclist will run you down if you are sauntering in their lane.  While this is true, most will jingle their bike bell to warn you of their approach.  The oddest thing to see is that people politely get out of the bike lane right away.

That’s the thing . . . Germans understand and follow these rules.  Even more, they expect everyone else to.  This was evidenced when I was in a taxi.  The taxi driver was not from Germany and began to make a turn into a crosswalk that had a “Walk” signal for the pedestrians.  While the pedestrians were not in a group nor knew each other, they, in unison, started screaming at the taxi for daring to violate the crosswalk rules.

German Crossing Signal

German Crossing Signal

On that note, crossing signals should strictly be adhered to.  Both for the regular street ones and the ones for the train track crossing.  This is where my poor friend acquired a ticket from a police officer.  Apparently, seeing that no train or traffic was coming, decided to make his way across the street in the crosswalk.  BAMN!!!  A cop descended on him like a bat out of hell and issued him a summons along with a stern lecture.

German cities are the most amazing walking cities in the world.  The streets are so clean, the people are friendly, and signs clearly mark where destinations are.  But, I cannot stress enough how strict Germans are with their rules.  If you follow them, you will have a wonderful time and truly enjoy your time there.  If you disobey the rules . . . you will feel like everyone around you has turned against you.

The Cheat Sheet:

  • When walking, stay off of the colored paved bike lanes.
  • Stay in the crosswalks when crossing a street.
  • Pay strict attention to the “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signals.
  • Pay strict attention to the “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signals when crossing the train tracks as well.
  • Do get out there and explore Germany’s extraordinary walking cities.

Author:                  Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                      9/30/2013

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Top Ten Chinese (Mandarin) Phrases

Chinese Pagoda

Chinese Pagoda

Whether you are traveling to China or interacting with people, here is a list of extremely useful basic Mandarin Chinese phrases.  Whenever I travel or my coworkers/friends travel I prepare this very same list for them.  I have found that these are the top phrases that can handle 90% of any native conversation you would need to have.  Even with a travel phrase book, this list printed out can be a quick life saver.

1)         Hi / Bye
            Nǐ hǎo (Nee How) / Zàijiàn (Tsy-jee-En)

2)         Yes / No
            Shi (Shur) / Méiyǒu (May-Yoh)

3)         Please / Thank you
            Qǐng (Ching) / Xièxiè (shyay-Shyay)

4)         Excuse me
            Duìbùqǐ (doy-Boo-chee)

5)         Where is . . .?  (Where is the bathroom?)
            …zài nǎlǐ? (Zī nah-Lee)  (TIP: …zai nar? (Zī nahr) in Beijing)
            Cèsuǒ zài nǎlǐ? (Say-swoh Zī nah-Lee)
            Train station              Huǒchē zhàn              (ho-Cha Jahn)
            Bus station                 Qìchē zhàn                 (chee-Cha Jahn)
            Police station              Jǐng shǔ                      (Jing Shoo)
            Embassy                     Shǐguǎn                      (Shur-Gwan)
            Hospital                      Yīyuàn                        (ee-Yoo-ahn)

6)         Take me to …
            Dài wǒ qù … (Die Woh Choo)

For this one, I have found it most helpful to have a business card (especially from your hotel), or a written name of the location you wish to go to, and point to it as you say “” (Choo).  It gives the driver/person a chance to study the location without asking you to repeat anything or to get into a lengthy conversation.

7)         Do you speak English? / I don’t speak Mandarin.
            Nǐ huì shuō yīngwén ma? (Nee Hway Shwoh Yeeng-wen Mah)
            Wǒ bù huì shuō pǔtōnghuà. (Woh Boo Hway Shwoh Poo-tohng-Hwah)

8)         How much is this?
            Duōshǎo qián? (Dwah-shaow Chee-an)

9)         My name is… / What is your name?
            Wo jiao… (Woh jeeYow)
            Ni jiao shenme mingzi?  (Nee jeeYow shan-Muh ming-Zuh)

10)       I need a doctor!
            Wǒ xūyào yīgè yīshēng! (Who Shoo-yaow ee-Guh yee-Shung)

Now that you have the basics . . . get out there and meet some people!

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China


The Cheat Sheet
:

  • Hi / Bye                                   Nǐ hǎo / Zàijiàn
  • Yes / No                                  Shi / Méiyǒu
  • Please / Thank you                  Qǐng / Xièxiè
  • Excuse me                               Duìbùqǐ
  • Where is…?                            …zài nǎlǐ?
  • Take me to…                          Dài wǒ qù …
  • Do you speak English?           Nǐ huì shuō yīngwén ma?
  • I don’t speak Mandarin.         Wǒ bù huì shuō pǔtōnghuà.
  • How much is this?                  Duōshǎo qián?
  • My name is…                          Wo jiao…
  • What is your name?                Ni jiao shenme mingzi?
  • I need a doctor!                      Wǒ xūyào yīgè yīshēng!

 
Author:                  Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                      9/12/2013

Categories: Meetin’ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Spanish Phrases

Seville Flamenco Dancers

Seville Flamenco Dancers

Whether you are traveling to Spain, Mexico, South/Central America or interacting with people, here is a list of extremely useful basic Spanish phrases.  Whenever I travel or my coworkers/friends travel I prepare this very same list for them.  I have found that these are the top phrases that can handle 90% of any native conversation you would need to have.  Even with a travel phrase book, this list printed out can be a quick life saver.

1)         Hi / Bye
            Hola (Oh-lah) / Adios (Ah-dee-ohs)           

2)         Yes / No
            Si (See) / No (Noh)

    3)         Please / Thank you
            Por favor (Por fah-Vor) / Gracias (Grah-see-ahs)

 4)         Excuse me
            Perdón (pair-Dohn)

5)         Where is . . .?  (…the bathroom)
            ¿Dónde está . . .?  (dohn-Day ess-Tah)  (…el baño) (El Bahn-nyoh)
            The train station        La estación de tren    (Lah eh-stay-see-Ohn Day Trayn)
            The bus station     La estación de autobuses (Lah eh-stay-see-Ohn Day Ow-tow-Boos-ehz)
            The police station     La estación de policía            (Lah eh-stay-see-Ohn Day Po-lee-see-Ah)
            The embassy              La embajada              (Lah Em-bah-hah-Dah)
            The hospital               El hospital                  (Ehl Os-pih-Tahl)

6)         Take me to …
            Llévame a… (Jev-ah-may Ah)
TIP:  For this one, I have found it most helpful to have a business card (especially from your hotel), or a written name of the location you wish to go to, and point to it as you say “aquí” (ah-Kee).  It gives the driver/person a chance to study the location without asking you to repeat anything or to get into a lengthy conversation.

 7)         Do you speak English? / I don’t speak Spanish.
            ¿Hablas Inglés? (ah-Blas Eng-lays) / Yo no hablo Español. (Yoh Noh Ah-bloh ess-Pan-nyohl)

 8)         How much is this?
            ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?  (Qwan-toh Qway-stah Ess-toh)
TIP:  A nice shortcut for this is to just say “¿Cuánto cuesta?”  Most Spanish speaking people will understand what you mean and, in fact, use this abbreviated phrase themselves.

 9)         My name is… / What is your name?
            Mi nombre es … (Mee Nohm-bray Ess) / ¿Cuál es su nombre? (Qwahl Ess Soo Nohm-bray)

 10)       I need a doctor!
            ¡Necesito un medico! (ness-seh-see-Toh Oon Mehd-ihk-oh)

Now that you have the basics . . . get out there and meet some people!

Running With The Bulls

Running With The Bulls

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Hi / Bye                                   Hola / Adios
  • Yes / No                                  Si / No
  • Please / Thank you                  Por favor / Gracias
  • Excuse me                               Perdón
  • Where is…?                            ¿Dónde está . . .?
  • Take me to…                          Llévame a…
  • Do you speak English?           ¿Hablas Inglés?
  • I don’t speak Spanish.             Yo no hablo Español.
  • How much is this?                  ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?
  • My name is…                          Mi nombre es …
  • What is your name?                ¿Cuál es su nombre?
  • I need a doctor!                      ¡Necesito un medico!

 Author:                  Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                      9/12/2013

Categories: Meetin’ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten German Phrases

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Whether you are traveling to Germany, Austria, Switzerland or interacting with people, here is a list of extremely useful basic German phrases.  Whenever I travel or my coworkers/friends travel I prepare this very same list for them.  I have found that these are the top phrases that can handle 90% of any native conversation you would need to have.  Even with a travel phrase book, this list printed out can be a quick life saver.

My mother one-upped me when she went to Germany.  She seemed to get by on two words: “schön” (shurn) meaning “nice” and “danke” (Dahn-kah) for thank you.  These and smiling a heck of lot seemed to do it for her.  Please try a little harder than she did.

1)         Hi / Bye
            Hallo (Ah-lo) / Auf Wiedersehen (Owf Vee-dur-zay-en)

 2)         Yes / No
              Ja (Yah) / Nein (Nine [9])

 3)         Please / Thank you
             Bitte (Bit-tah) / Danke (Dahn-kah)

 4)         Excuse me
             Entschuldigen Sie (ent-Shool-dig-gun Zee)

 5)         Where is . . .?  (…the bathroom)
             Wo ist …? (Voh Ist)  (… das Badezimmer) (Dass Bah-duh-zim-er)
             The train station        Der Bahnhof              (Dair bahn-Hohf)
             The bus station          Der Busbahnhof        (Dair Boos-bahn-Hohf)
             The police station      Die Polizeistation       (Dee Poh-lit-Zie-shtat-Zee-ohn)
             The embassy              Die Botschaft             (Dee Boht-Shahft)
             The hospital               Das Krankenhaus     (Dahs Krahn-ken-How-ss)

 6)         Take me to … please.
             Nehmen Sie mich … bitte.  (Nay-men Zee Mihck … bit-Tah)
TIP:  For this one, I have found it most helpful to have a business card card (especially from your hotel), or a written name of the location you wish to go to and point to it as you say “hier” (heer) in between “mich” and “bitte”.  It gives the driver/person a chance to study the location without asking you to repeat anything or to get into a lengthy conversation.

7)         Do you speak English? / I don’t speak German.
             Sprechen Sie Englisch?  (shpreck-Ken Zee Eng-lish) / Ich spreche kein Deutsch.  (Eeck shpreck-Kuh Kine Doytch)

8)         How much is this?
             Wie viel ist das?  (Vee Feel Ist Dass)
TIP:  A nice shortcut for this is to just say “Wie viel?”  Most Germans will understand what you mean and, in fact, use this abbreviated phrase themselves.

9)         My name is… / What is your name?
             Ich heisse … (Eeck hi-Suh) / Wie heissen Sie?  (Vee hi-Sen Zee)
TIP:  How the person answers this one will tell you a LOT in Germany.  If they answer, “Frau …” (Frow) meaning Misses, “Fräulein…” (fraw-Line) meaning Miss, or “Herr …” (Hair) meaning Mister, they want to keep their relationship with you on a formal basis only.  If they answer with just their name, then they are more relaxed and you can be too.

10)       I need a doctor!
             Ich brauche einen Arzt!  (Eeck brow-Kuh eye-Nen Ahrrst)

 Now that you have the basics . . . get out there and meet some people!

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Hi / Bye                                    Hallo / Auf Wiedersehen
  • Yes / No                                   Ja / Nein
  • Please / Thank you              Bitte / Danke
  • Excuse me                              Entschuldigen Sie
  • Where is…?                            Wo ist…?
  • Take me to…please.           Nehmen Sie mich…bitte.
  • Do you speak English?       Sprechen Sie Englisch?
  • I don’t speak German.        Ich spreche kein Deutsch.
  • How much is this?               Wie viel ist das?
  • My name is…                         Ich heisse …
  • What is your name?            Wie heissen Sie?
  • How much does it cost?    Wie viel kostet es?

Author:                 Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                      9/12/2013

Categories: Meetin’ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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