Lost in Translation

Posted: 03/18/2008 in Semester in Israel
Tags: , , , , , ,

So I said I’d write about how I didn’t end up going to En Gedi, which is absolutely beautiful by the way, and I have a couple stories to go along with that. Being in another country with another language has it’s difficulties, as you might assume. Here are a couple instances from one day where there just seemed to be a misunderstanding…

It was Friday morning, and readied ourselves for our day at En Gedi. There were 6 of us who left the school at 6 in the morning to walk 45 min to the bus station. At the bus station we learned some very important lessons about Israeli weapons policies, something they really aren’t too lenient on. Apparently Andrew (poor kid), brought a camping knife in his backpack, and as he went through security, they didn’t like that too much. The conversation went something like this:

Security Personnel: You have a knife!
Andrew: Yes… it’s a camping knife.
Security Personnel: You cannot have this, it is legal in Israel.
Andrew: It is legal?
Security Personnel: Yes, this knife is illegal
Andrew: Oh, it’s ILLEGAL? But they sell them in the Old City.
Security Personnel: No, it is not illegal
Andrew: Wait, it’s NOT illegal?
Security Personnel: Yes, it is illegal?
Andrew: Wait, it’s not LEGAL?
Security Personnel: It’s not illegal.
Andrew: So there’s no problem then?
Security Personnel: No, it is BIG problem.
Andrew: So it’s illegal.
Security Personnel: No, it’s not illegal.
Andrew: No, it’s not LEGAL.
Security Personnel *frustrated*: It is not allowed in Israel.
Andrew: Then why do they sell them in the Old City if they are illegal?
Security Personnel: I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. It is not allowed in Israel. You have two options (they loved this options thing…): One, you leave. Two, I call the police.
Andrew: Fine, call the police.

Police Officer: Why do you have a knife?
Andrew: It’s a camping knife…
Police Officer: It is illegal in Israel. You have two options (see, I told you!): One, you break the knife. Two, I keep it.
Andrew: You know what, it’s a nice knife, keep it (*thinking, how exactly would I break a metal knife anyways?*).

So after that incident, we missed our first bus and didn’t really have the time to try the next bus. So we left and went to the Shuk (Jewish outdoor marketplace) just to walk around. It is there where we met oddly enough, a pirate (Note: there are absolutely no bodies of water in all of Jerusalem large enough to fit a boat). Our conversation with him went something like this:

Pirate Man: Ar! I’m captain Jack, do you wanna get HIIIIIIIIIGH?
Us *confused*: Eh… no thanks…
Pirate Man: Ai, where is your captain?
Us: Um… we don’t have a captain…. ?
Pirate Man: Ye don’t have a captain? Well, I be looking for a crew. Would ye mates like to join me aboard me ship?
Shlomy *getting creative*: No thank you. We do have a captain. Yeshua is our captain.
Pirate Man: Yeshua??? Well, I’ll kill him.
Shlomy: You can’t kill Yeshua! They’ve tried.
Pirate Man: Well, I’ll burn down his boat.
Me: He’ll just walk on water.
Pirate Man *looking rather confused*: Are ye sure ye don’t want to join me crew? …I already lost me woman and me rum in one day.
Megan and Jenna: Aw man, I hate it when that happens! That’s the worst.
Pirate Man: Do you wanna get HIIIIIGH?!? *blows smoke in Shlomy’s face*
Us: Er… no, really… no thank you. really.
*Pirate man mumbles something and walks away*

At first, I thought he was just joking around, but by the end of the conversation, I really think he thought he was a pirate. Well, it’s always interesting around here, that’s for sure. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed.

P.S. – Special thanks to Jenna for her recreation of these conversations that I stole from her.


  1. Anonymous says:

    haha I loved both your commentaries on the police and the pirate. Very creative way you all talked to the pirate- very clever! =)- Heidi

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