It takes a finely tuned sense of humor to put up with the travail of travel. I always liked the ploy of turning foreign signposts into town names.
For example, have you heard the one about the American tourist who traveled by rail all across France and wondered afterward why every town was named “Sortie”? “Sortie” means “Exit” in French and appears prominently in every railroad station.
Okay. Now you understand the theory.
What about the town a motorist sometimes encounters in Mexico named “Cede El Paso”? (Something to do with giving way to oncoming traffic, a very good rule to follow in Mexico.)
Or the villages of Spain and Mexico seen from the train window named “Descarrilador”? (Rail siding)
Of course, for every Sortie in France, there is a “Salida” in Mexico or Spain.
Ever been trough the German hamlet of “Ausgang”? or the Italian wide spot of “Uschita”? or “Udgang” in Denmark?
All as you probably have guessed, mean Exit.
Road signs offer limitless possibilities. Have you ever approached the crossroads settlement of “Conserve la Droit” in France? (Keep to the Right…I think)
Or have you ever found yourself 5 kilometers from “A Traveux” in France (This sign actually warns of road work ahead).
Even in British signs can provide a chuckle. “Flyover Ahead” does not meant that you are approaching a landing pattern or the village of Flyover, but that an overpass is coming up. One can approach a flyover in Africa, Hong Kong and Australia.
It only takes a smattering of a language to enjoy a joke in another tongue, such as the T-shirt seen in Mexico that proclaimed, “Menudo, Desayuno de Campeones!” (Menudo, Breakfast of Champions!)
Sometimes the real or fancied fleecing of tourists lends itself to amusement. A friend of mine likes to remark that even when the wool gets pulled over the eyes of travelers in France, it will turn out to be 50 percent cotton.
Some folks remember the now-famous New Yorker cartoon during a period of tight dollars when Americans were staying home in droves. Hard times in the European tourist haunts were summed up in the cartoon showing two French waiters reminiscing in front of an empty café: “And remember their funny shoes and funny hats? Yes, but generous! Generous to a fault!”
The latest travel joke making the rounds concerns the man who walks up to an airline counter, points to his three pieces of luggage and asks:
“Can you send one bag to London, the other to Minneapolis and the other to Fargo, North Dakota?”
The airline ticket agent replies that such a request would be quite impossible. “Can’t understand why,” says the traveler. “You did it to me last week.”