Sunday, March 6, 2016

From Poop to Pope with Polylingual Puns – Erich

Today we made quite a transition. As you may know if you have been keeping up with the blog, we spent the last three weeks on a horse farm in Lot, France. We loved it. But our time drew to its end. So we had to say a sad goodbye to the twelve horses, two dogs, two cats, and eighteen chickens. (And you Scarecrow, I'll miss you most of all.)

We'll also miss our wonderful hosts. Yes, for two of those weeks we were on our own while they were on holiday. But they were so generous to us during the times we were together. They are an exceptional family and we are glad to have made such incredible new friends.

As just one more example of their generosity, today, we were driven over two hours to Toulouse so we could catch a plane to Rome. And let me say, if you want to get far removed from the rural life of a farm in a big hurry, just travel to a metropolis like Rome.

It reminds me of New York City in many ways. As we were descending to the Metro, I felt practically at home. It was like descending into the Times Square subway station, but a light version. They only have two metro lines (A and B, which makes a good deal more sense than the alphabet soup of New York. Actually, here's an idea! What if NYC replaced the letters and numbers that demarcate the various subway lines with emojis? Brilliant, right?)

And in true metropolitan fashion, I got super super overcharged for a meal here. Wow! I'm so not in Kansas (or more to the point, Lot) anymore, Toto.

But we are looking forward to exploring this amazing city come the morning. And maybe, dare to dream, it won't be raining. (We've been in Europe for over a month now, and it has rained all but about five days. I'm sure it hasn't rained over all of Europe that entire time. But it seems to do so wherever we are.)

As we were coming into the city proper by bus from the airport, Syarra noticed a restaurant called “Eat-aly.” Kind of clever, but it only works if you are an English speaker. So this is sort of a polylinguistic pun. To the Italians, (though many of them probably know enough English to get it), it's just a ridiculous name. To those from the UK or US, it's a pun. (It's not a very good one though.)

But we noticed a better pun in France. But this one only makes sense to English speakers in translations, and I wonder if it was intentional. I suspect not.

When you go from one departement to another in France, much like when you travel from one state to another in the U.S., you see a sign welcoming you to that new departement. Well, when you are entering Lot, the sign says “Tres Nature. Tres Patrimoine. Tres Lot.” Now “Tres” means “Much”. But if you translate it another way you get: A lot of nature. A lot of heritage. A lot of Lot.

I found that very funny. But I wonder if any of the French find it even remotely funny. Why should they? They aren't looking at it and thinking “What could this mean in another tongue?”

But maybe we will see more of that as we explore Rome with our Vati-can-do attitude. And if you didn't enjoy that pun, maybe this blog isn't the right Forum for me. (Yeah, that one wasn't funny. Sorry.)


  1. Sorry to hear you were overcharged in Rome, we actually really love Rome and found a good number of reasonably priced restaurants. My one piece of advice on food in Rome is make sure to try real Roman carbonara. Completely different from what you have likely had before (and much better in my opinion). There is also the Bucatini al Amatriciana, but I always found that to be a bit salty. Also, if you can (it will be a bit pricey), try to do a day trip down to Naples to see Pompeii (and preferably also Herculaneum). We thought this was the most amazing thing we saw in Italy. In Rome, my favorite place was the Pantheon, and I am sure you will have the amazing gelato on more than one occasion.

  2. One more thing: About Eat-aly. I think that is actually an American restaurant, it is the Rome branch of Mario Batali's New York City restaurant, I think it is a bit overpriced.