Adventures in Miscommunication: Face Cream?

This morning, for the first time since I’ve been in India, I woke up at a normal hour. It seems that I’ve gotten used to horns blaring outside my windows 24/7 and the jetlag has finally disappeared. I got ready for work, ate some Papaya and was having a wonderful morning. Then I tried to leave the hotel. The elevator was not working.

Typically, this is not a big deal. You just take the stairs. This particular hotel were very against me using the stairs ( for some unknown reason, maybe safety?) so I was trapped and running late for work.

I called the front desk and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Good morning! The elevator doesn’t seem to be working. Is it getting fixed anytime soon?

Front desk: Elevator?

Me: yes, the evelator

Front Desk: hold on

The phone gets passed to another person

Front Desk: Hello Miss, how may I help?

Me: I was just calling about the Elevator.

Front Desk: Elevator?

Me: Yeah, the elevator. You know the thing that goes up and down, has doors that open and close.

Front Desk: Ok! Elevator. Ok. Bye.

There is definitely a difficulty I’m facing in being understood and in understanding others. I’m working on my Hindi but it isn’t an intuitive language for me. It’s going to take a lot of work. Regardless, in India there are over 500 languages spoken which means that there are some people who don’t even speak Hindi!

I just ended up taking the stairs and have no idea why they were so opposed to me doing that to begin with. On my way out I tried to figure out what they thought I meant. After much confusion I realised they they use the word lift instead of elevator. I should have tried that one. It’s noted for next time.

Turns out they thought I was asking for face cream. So, they sent someone to go get me some. We all had a good laugh about it.  I guess these language barriers at least make for some funny stories and the potential for new face cream.