Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lost in Translation- Tibet Edition

Until I get my GPS data in order and I have any idea where I was I'm going to put off any serious discussion of Tibet. Until that time I'm going to have some fun with what is some of the worst English I have ever come across. While Nepal may get some English wrong, the Chinese elevate horrible English to an art form. Shirts we came across in Lhasa and other places were literally a mash of random words that made no sense together. There were so many signs, shirts and other labels that made us laugh that I have to split my pictures between Lhasa and the rest of Tibet. This section will cover the stuff we ran into outside of Lhasa.
"Becarful!!! Please dont urine here
100 RNB Charg


These are the kind of signs we don't usually need back in the states, unless you have the misfortune to live next to college kids. In Asia on the other hand, signs like this are needed, especially when your town is over run with Hindu pilgrims from India on their way to Mt. Kailash. 

"On friendly if water, feeling life."


The text at the top also seems to be lacking spaces, but we can gather that pistachios are "healthy delicious. It is really the best snack for all of you." What I found most interesting about this little packet is that here I was in China and I found something actually from America. Weird.

Notice for the Foreign Lodgers
Please be kindly advised to pay attention to the following items:
1. When a lodger is to check in a hotel must provide valid passport or international travelling doc-uments. It's forbiden to provide false ID or to use othersID.
2. Strictly prohibits carring the dangerous articles such as the combustible, explosives, virulent, and radioactive etc into the hotel and at the same time its forbiden to use the electric cooker, coal oil stove in the hotel room etc. Smoking in bed is stricked pro-hibitted.
3. Strictly prohibits prostitutions, pornographic  articles difusing, smuggling, drug abusing, gambling, grifting, overdrinking, fighting, loudly clamouring and other illegal activities.
4. Please kep the door locked when you are out or when you are sheeping.

Lucky for us I had no virulants, that could be difused through pornographic materials while sheeping!

"the bathroom of clean water"
I still have no clue what this place was about.

"Incense shops feelings ancient art" Next door to the "Extraordinary Traveling Store"

"Buddha's Halo Skill Hdandicrafts"
Apparently Buddha was Kick ass at Halo. Bummer they forgot to delete the extra 'd' in Hdandicrafts.

"Hua You Clinique"
I'ma fine. Hua You?

"Family of supermarket common People"
Being the people's republic and all you would expect them to look out for the common people, and here is the proof. This markets for you common people.

Freezing Feel, Fresh Air
The slogan aside, how does one pronounce NGX togehter? I'm becoming convinced that X made it into our alphabet for the sole reason of Chinese translation.

"Sui ning pestaurant"
What does one order at a pestaurant?

"Distance of the Platform" 
In that direction apparently it is some distance to a platform. I never found a platform.

"Jump of the Cliff"
This sign intrigued me so I followed the arrows, and did not find a Jump of the cliff, but another poorly translated monument.

"Eternal glory to the hero martyrs of jump in cliff!"
"The place of jump in cliff that against the British hero martyrs."

Apparently sometime in the 19th century a British expedition came up into Tibet and laid siege to this town, I'm guessing it was a small number of Brits. Anyway as the British advanced on this craggy fort, some fairly crazy Tibetan dudes jumped off the cliff at them with explosives or something. At least that's the story I got, but I think I'm missing some of it. Anyway this is the place of jump in cliff.


Oh China. It was amazing how many profane words were printed on hats and shirts and normal families just walking around with some of this stuff on. If parents only knew what their kids clothing said....


  1. this entry made my morning. i was roaring with laughter, my neighbours might not be amused.

    are you guys still around in october? i'll move from germany to kathmandu then and i'd love to meet for a drink in a nice pestaurant!


  2. i see - an email address would've been great in the comment.. !

  3. Hey Miriam,

    Glad you enjoyed the post. We are fully planning on being here come November, and we'd love to meet you for a drink when you get here. Kathmandu doesn't have any pestaurants but I'm sure we can make do! I'll shoot you an e-mail.


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