Travel and Languages.

Travel and Languages.
We came to Germany and spent a considerable time waiting in line for passport control. The guards were very efficient and polite, but many of the newly arrived passengers held up the lines due to their inability to speak German or English. So the guards would politely ask the requisite questions like the purpose of the visit, where people were going, whether they had a return ticket, was anybody meeting them. And adults would reply loudly in their own languages, in the widespread belief that if you speak your own language very loudly others would understand you. No, they did not understand the questions while the guards could not understand the answers. When we finally neared the booth, the line stopped again with two women trying to figure out what they were supposed to do. I stepped closer and translated for them and several others who eagerly rushed forward pushing me aside in the process. The young woman behind the glass never lost her patience. When we managed to step forward, we had our passports and return tickets ready. We had all the necessary information in English, so it only took a few seconds for us to pass through. And we said “Danke” and “Frohe Weihnachten”, which is German for Thank you and Merry Christmas. She beamed at us and said, “Same!” How do we know what to do? All the information can be found on the internet; any airline magazine also tells you what to do when you arrive to a new country. You can use Google translator, either learn how to pronounce a few phrases in the language of the country you are visiting, or simply have a printout ready. The purpose of your visit, an invitation if applicable, your return ticket. Saves a lot of time and effort to yourself and others. Learning a few sentences or even words in a foreign language is made easy today with the help of various web sites. It is common politeness, especially during a holiday season.

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