Saturday, September 22, 2007

Language Barrier

Thursday I did one of my one day commutes from L.A. to San Francisco for a meeting. Except for the getting up at 3 or 4am thing in order to make a 6 or 7am flight, I really don't mind ... especially if I'm going to San Francisco. I love that city.

This trip I needed to take a taxi from the airport in order to make it to my meeting on time. So I went out to the taxi stand, hopped into a cab and told the driver I needed to get to Front Street and Broadway. He had a very heavy Asian accent and kept chattering something at me that I couldn't quite understand. Eventually I determined that he was telling me what route he was going to take to get me to Fourth Street. So I dutifully corrected him saying that I needed to go to Front Street, not Fourth Street. His reply? "Yes, taking you to Fot Street." OK. Was that Fot as in Fourth or Fot as in Front? Hmmm. I was pretty sure that he still thought I needed to go to Fourth Street. So I tried again. "You are taking me to Front Street aren't you? FronT not FourTH." I tried to articulate the "T" as clearly as I could. Again I got, "Yes, taking you to Fot Street." Fighting back imminent panic, I started digging through my bag for the handy plastic-coated-folding San Francisco street map I'd brought along. I hovered over the cabbie's shoulder and pointed at the spot on the map where Front Street and Broadway meet. I held my breath as he glanced at my map. Had I broken the language barrier? "Ahhhh ... you want FOT Street not Fot Street." Success.


  1. Hi-Larry-us! I have been there before. I mean figuratively. I have not been to Fot Street. Or maybe I HAVE been to Fot Street and didn't know it? :-)

  2. I'm glad you had your map!