keeping it zipped

I’ve been a tourist myself, on many occasions – France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Mauritius, the Seychelles, the United States, Zimbabwe, Belgium – and I do hope I’ve never unthinkingly come out with a comment that may have offended a native of any of those beautiful countries. Examples of such comments might run along the following lines…

Woman: I love this scarf, I’m going to take it.
Her husband: We only have cash, okay?
Vendor: That’s fine, we’re happy to accept cash!
Husband: I mean, it’s American cash. US dollars.
Vendor: Oh. Okay. Well, that should be fine, I’m only hesitant because I’m selling the scarf on behalf of someone else.
Husband: It’s that or no sale. [Waves a couple of greenbacks in the air.] We were told you people love our money.
Vendor: [bites tongue] [then bites inside of mouth on both sides] Mmmphf. Let me put the scarf in a bag for you.

Woman: You make lovely things. The whole Waterfront is lovely.
Vendor: Thank you very much. I guess that means you’re enjoying your time here in Cape Town?
Woman: Absolutely. I mean, I had no idea it was so sophisticated out here.
Vendor: [stands on own foot so the pain will prevent her from making a sarcastic reply] Mmmmfmph.

Woman: Your knitting is very good. I like.
Vendor: Thank you, but it’s actually crochet.
Woman: I used to knit but I don’t have time any more.
Vendor: That’s a pity. It’s crochet, by the way.
Woman: No, knitting. In the Netherlands we call it knitting.
Vendor: Okay, but in South Africa we call knitting knitting. This is crochet.
Woman: Yes. It’s very relaxing. I like to knit a bag like one of yours one day.
Vendor: Mmphf. Well, I’d sure love to see how that works out for you.

Just thought I’d share those with you quickly. Not much time today – I have to hurry down to the river to fill my buckets (the hyenas in the back garden don’t like to go thirsty) and if there’s still time I’ll give the hut a bit of a clean.


Back soon x


40 thoughts on “keeping it zipped

  1. Karin Blokland

    We used to live in South Africa, but are back in Holland now. But my kids were born in SA. The remarks they get whenever they say they were born in SA are incredible though. “Did you live in a hut between the lions?” “You can’t have been born there as you aren’t black.” And some even believe they were black but turned white once we got back to Holland!!
    Loved your post!!

    1. Nice piece of work Post author

      Thanks Karin. I have heard many other similar comments, but I didn’t want to list them all – thought I might end up offending someone! I know not everyone is like this, obviously. It’s also a personal thing, I guess – I don’t take well to being patronised :-)

  2. youngatfifty

    This woman : true many cannot differentiate knitting from crochet…any fabric in wool is assumed to be knitted only !!
    Thanks for this conversation … a lot of hidden messages here :)

  3. tgonzales

    Oh Jill you make laugh as always. It takes a very smart person to do what you did (hold your tongue). I’m sure you never treated anyone anywhere you have traveled the way that some of the people have treated you. My hope for you is that you have more kinder people than idiotic ones today. Love and Hugs, Tamara (Oh my gosh I just remembered you said you had been to the USA, I want you to come back and travel to Wichita) :)

  4. Maryanne

    BWAWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH this is the funniest thing I have read..EVER! Thanks Jill for brightening our day. So happy that you’re on the front line, gathering stories for us to laugh our heads off at!!!

  5. vuchickens

    Sheesh! Talk about making us in the USA look bad! I would hope that if I ever get to travel to South Africa, I would remember the difference between knitting and crochet… and also have the decency to exchange my currency!

  6. craftysorcha

    Funny! Ah, sure doesn’t that sort of thing happen all over the place?
    You hear some funny things when you tell tourists you’re Irish – “Oh your English is wonderful, how long have you been learning?” My reply, “Ever since I was a baby!”


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