Tuesday, December 13, 2011

India again - a Lost in Translation moment

Those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know that I get to make a-just-about-twice-yearly trip to India.  Though I don't enjoy the long flights, I do generally enjoy my visits - though my digestive tract may beg to differ from time to time. 

I firmly believe that you've got to have a good sense of humor to travel internationally - particularly during those "lost in translation" moments.  Either that or you'll drive yourself and those around you crazy.

My lost in translation moment on this trip came after I spilled nearly all of my mouthwash.  For me, mouthwash is key in India.  Spicy food + not being able to use tap water for toothbrushing means I use a lot of mouthwash.  Unfortunately on my first night here I managed to spill most of the mouthwash I brought with me. 

After briefly pondering how I'd get by without it, and if I could ask my driver to take me to buy some (where does one buy mouthwash in India - and how to tell the driver to go there?), I remembered that I'm staying in a fancy hotel.  Fancy hotels have things like this on hand to help haphazard guests like myself.  So I looked in the hotel guide, and sure enough "mouthwash" was listed in the "forgotten items we can provide you" section.

When I was headed out the next morning, I stopped by the front desk and asked for some mouthwash.  The woman at the front desk looked puzzled by my request.  So I repeated it (though not more slowly and loudly):  "mouthwash, you know to rinse your mouth and help keep your breath fresh."  I told her I needed it either tonight or tomorrow - I still had some of my own left that hadn't spilled.  She nodded knowingly.

Back in my room later in the evening, the requested item arrived - proudly presented by one of the hotel staff.  "Your breath freshener, mam."  (and by the way, it's always "mam" - it sounds ok in an Indian accent)

Here's what he brought for me:

The world's smallest box of tic tacs!

I've included my normal-sized nail polish to provide some scale.

There are seriously on ly about 7-8 tic tacs in this thing.  And they're tropical cherry flavored - not what I'd consider the best breath freshener.  It really made me laugh - particularly when I thought about the conversations that must have taken place, and all of the work they went through to bring these to me.

But still, I had no mouthwash, and now my supplies were dwindling dangerously low (not to make it too dramatic, or anything).

When I went to work the next day, I unintentionally left my pathetically empty bottle of mouthwash out on the bathroom counter.  And what did I find when I arrived back?

Real mouthwash!
Thank goodness housekeeping understood.


  1. Wow!! That Tic Tac is adorable though!

  2. Gives me an idea for tropical cherry flavoured mouthwash - yum!

  3. lol im having these Tropical Cherry favored one right now as I type this.


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