Have you ever ordered a meal off a menu because the picture looked like the meal would be delicious? Did the meal live up to the expectations you had from the photo on the menu?
On a recent visit to Istanbul, I went to a local restaurant in a shopping mall. They had posters of a delicious looking steak that was on special displayed all around the restaurant. Of course all the writing on the posters was in Turkish. As I can't read Turkish and the waiter couldn't speak English. I had to go by the picture.
The lesson to be learned, don't pick a meal based on a picture on the menu.
I guess another lesson could be not to order from a menu not written in English. On a visit to Gabon, I went to a cute beach-side restaurant in Libreville. The menu was in French, and the waitresses only spoke French. My French is limited to words like 'restaurant' and 'bureau.' I thought 'poisson' was the French for chicken, and was shocked to be served a very fishy stew with fish heads!
Maybe I'm a slow learner.
I made three bad decisions. The first one was to pack in my toiletries so that I didn't have to risk buying a wrong product in Finland as I can't read Finnish. I didn't want a repeat of the 'creme douche' incident. The second one was to send my passport away to another embassy to get a visa. This effectively meant that I would be traveling to another country without a passport. I didn't see this as a problem as nobody had wanted to see my residence card or passport when I left Frankfurt. The third mistake was deciding to check-in my bag because I had packed in toiletries.
Well, the airline lady asked me for my passport when I tried to check-in my bag. She refused to accept a certified copy of it or my now renewed residence card. Instead, she canceled my flights right there and then. This should have been devastating as I was leading a workshop the next day and people were counting on me. Instead, I went to the airport Starbucks, not for a coffee, but to use their table so I could set up my laptop. I quickly bought new plane tickets on a different airline. I did not check-in my bag, but took it as hand luggage, my toiletries setting off the alarm. Luckily, all I had to do was remove them from my bag and put them in a clear plastic ziploc bag they gave me. Thank goodness nobody asked me for identification on the two flights to Oulu in Finland and the two flights back.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I blame this all on the toiletries!
Sometimes I think these kinds of things only happen to me. Maybe it's because I am a risk-taker, who knows.
Cindy Vine is a South African living and working in Norway. Cindy is the author of Hush Baby, The Freedom Club, Not Telling, CU@8, Defective and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book format. http://cindyvine.com