To establish some context, the majority of our writings come from Mexico and our students are mostly Spanish speaking. This particular story comes from one of our English students who work at the airport in Mexico City. She was already inside the airport on her way to work when she was approached by some tourists who wanted directions to the Subway. Knowing the layout of the airport very well, she enthusiastically told them to follow her. After the 10 or 12 minute walk through the airport, up the stairs and past the food court, they finally arrived. Happily presenting the tourists to their destination, she said, “Here we are, the Subway restaurant.” There was a moment of uncomfortable silence which was broken by one of the tourists. “No. We wanted the subway. You know… the transportation rail?”
As you can imagine, the English student was very embarrassed. After all, her English had become very good and she clearly understood them. She had brought them to the Subway just as they had wanted. She unfortunately had to re-direct the tourists back to where they had entered the airport (which just so happened to be where the entrance to the subway station was).
In some countries, the subway is referred to as the “Metro” so it was very easy to misunderstand the intentions of the tourists (especially at lunchtime).
In the end, she discovered that there is more than one meaning to the word “Subway.”
Thanks go to our wonderful student in Mexico City for allowing us to share her story and to you for taking the time to read it.