Monday, April 16, 2007


One interesting (and, for Americans, very handy) aspect of travel abroad is the near universal presence of English. German tourists rely on their English to communicate with Italian hoteliers in Florence; English signage in Paris caters to international visitors from all over the world. In the Middle East, this phenomenon can be attributed to colonial influences as well as touristic convenience, but it's always fun to see "grilled lamp shops" (mmm!) on a menu or "McDonald's" transliterated into Arabic under the golden arches. We noticed advertisements for telegraph(!) facilities at the train station in Alexandria and for what may be air conditioning at a pool hall in Cairo; the sign for the Burger King in Aqaba stands against a mountainous backdrop at the edge of the desert, and an Egyptian tourism poster states the obvious.

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