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Going abroad is delightful, but culture clashes and language snafus can leave travelers shaking their heads. Have a laugh as we
explore poorly translated signs, unusual bathroom plumbing, creative transportation options and particularly bizarre food.
Lost in Translation: Male Man
Gentlemen: Should you find yourself in need of a restroom while traveling in
Shanghai, you’ll be pleased to know that relief is on the way. Comic relief, that
is. This sign is likely to have you scratching your head and wondering just how
many kinds of men there are.
|Lost in Translation: Subway Insanity
Subways are confusing enough without adding language difficulties. If you
used this subway ticket machine in Osaka, Japan, would you know which
route to take and how much to pay? And if you managed to figure that out,
would you know where to get off? See you in Osaka. Maybe.
Lost in Translation: No Ladies at Any Time
Female travelers the world over know the value of finding a clean, well-lighted
restroom — soon and often. But if you saw this sign in Cornwall, England,
would you be delighted or just confused? If we didn’t know any better, we’d
think that Monty Python’s Flying Circus was in charge of signage for Cornwall
bathrooms. Presumably, the lady with a full bladder will need to seek out the
“No Men at Any Time” sign. Good luck with that.
|Lost in Translation: Enjoy English, Enjoy Yourself
This sign advertises a language school in Yangshuo, Guangxi Province,
China. The translator, however, could probably benefit from a few more
language lessons. While the English majors of the world will tell you that
mastery of words, grammar, spelling and punctuation will earn you a
great job and the respect of your colleagues, we hardly associate
mastery of the English language with “enjoying yourself.” Or do we?
Lost in Translation: High-Tech Toilet
Once upon a time, a commode required nothing more than a flush. Which of
the 11 buttons on this high-tech toilet in Tokyo allows you to complete that
simple maneuver? When it comes to the other 10 buttons, the mind boggles.
Does a wonderful symphony begin drowning out all the other noises in the
bathroom? Does one of the buttons allow you to request more toilet paper? We
confess; we are flushed with confusion.
|Lost in Translation: Poultry to Go
We’ve heard of take-out chicken, but this is ridiculous. If you’re traveling by
taxi bus in Antananarivo, Madagascar, don’t be surprised to find turkeys,
ducks and chickens in baskets on the roof. And you thought you’d already
seen plenty of colorful characters riding public transportation.
Lost in Translation: Arabic Stop Sign
You’ll find signs like this one in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and all over the
Arabic world. Fortunately, the traveler does not need to know Arabic to figure
out the meaning of this sign. So pay attention, stop pushing on the slanted
pedal — and stop.
|Lost in Translation: Something on a Stick
We all love something tasty on a stick, especially when attending a state fair
or a music festival. But you’re probably thinking of kebabs, satay or corn
dogs, aren’t you? In Beijing, the diner can look forward to some pretty
amazing creatures on a stick. Seriously, what could be better than deep-
fried scorpions, starfish and seahorses? Make mine extra crunchy.
13 Things a Burglar Won't Tell You:
Learn how to better protect yourself and your family with these insider secrets.
1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new
2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week.
While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys
your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long
it takes you to remove it.
5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house.
Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the
control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.
7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second
floor, which often access the master bedroom—and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put
motion detectors up there too.
8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door—
understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.
9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean
your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)
10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the
11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.
12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted
down, I’ll take it with me.
13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of
town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at faketv.com.)
8 More Things a Burglar Won’t Tell You
1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If
your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing
and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go
back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.
4. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for
a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re
home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive
or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close
the blinds, just to pick my targets.
6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s
easier than you think to look up your address.
7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day
is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.
8. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.
Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs
crimedoctor.com; and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for
his book Burglars on the Job.
Reader's Digest Contributing Editor Janice Lieberman shared these and more tips on the Today Show and in her blog.