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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Language barriers. Internet saves the day!

Skipping back a bit.  When I was waiting to fly out of Quito to Cuenca, there was a young Asian couple who obviously didn’t know the language and were visibly confused as to what to do.  They had their tickets in their hands and kept looking at the monitor and with a very baffled look.   They approached me and I tried to help them.  Their flight wasn’t listed on the monitor, nor was there a gate # on their ticket, so I asked a gate attendant why.  She told me their flight wasn’t due to depart for a few more hours so it was too early to list it on the monitor.  Keep in mind, Quito…albeit being the CAPITAL of Ecuador and a city of 2 million….has only FOUR gates at their INTERNATIONAL airport!!   So, the four gates were already assigned flights. 

Anyway, I tried to convey this to the couple using variations of sign language and pointing to spots on the monitor….’check back in an hour and your flight should be listed on the monitor along with a gate #’.   Didn’t work.

Finally, it dawned on me.  Technology!!!   I whipped open my laptop and connected to the internet (or “Internets” as George Bush Jr would say….but I digress).  I love using Google Translate for English > Spanish, Spanish > English.   I asked them what country they were from by saying Vietnamese?   Japan?  Singapore?  Korea?  Hellandback? Etc…all of them responded to with a big question mark on their faces.  Then I asked to see their passport.  Ah HA!!!   China.   So, I selected English to Chinese in Google Translate and typed my message to them in English and GT translated it into Chinese (all those funny looking drawings they call words).  They instantly understood.  

Mission Complete!!

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About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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