Thursday, April 24, 2008

Excuse me, do you speak English?

I am visiting London for the weekend and leaving tonight.

I can already tell my impression of London will be different this time (I've been twice before) for the very reason that I am coming from Switzerland and not from the USA. I can tell by my strange excitement in reading all about what there is to do on the London tourist website. The website is much like other European city’s tourism websites with one big difference—every play, opera, lecture and movie that’s listed I can guarantee to not have a problem understanding. Unlike in Prague, if I attend an opera sung in French, I’ll have English subtitles, not ones in Czeck. And unlike in Switzerland, where I tend to ignore all listings of plays and things having to do with spoken language, seeing them again on the London website revived something in me that I didn’t realize how much I have missed the last two years.

The last play I saw was Don Juan in German. Since it was part of the company Christmas party, and I didn’t have to pay for the pleasure of misunderstanding half the plot, I went, but the play went something like this:

Don Juan: I want your wife.

Other guy: No. I last night you chicken ate.

Don Juan: You are a because I last night was.

Other guy: I wife want.

While the audience would laugh at jokes, I would smile when I actually comprehended more than one sentence in a row. So I should be all smiles in London. And that will be a nice change of pace.

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