Monday, June 09, 2008

How Do You Say "Red or Green" in Korean?

빨강 또는 녹색 !*

Recently, I met three students from South Korea near the Main Library who were on a trip of a lifetime—from Vancouver to Santa Fe to Chicago, New York and Montreal, before returning to their engineer studies in Seoul. They kept telling me, “We are taking Route 66!” That old TV show from the 60’s really has captured youth around the world, and as my son would have said, “Road trip!”

Stepping into my help-the-tourist mode, I answered their barrage of questions about Santa Fe. They were looking for authentic New Mexican food, so I recommended The Shed. I quizzed them about what they might like to eat and found out they had not a clue about enchiladas or tamales or burritos, let alone chips and salsa. I explained the food and made sure they knew, if asked the official New Mexico question, "Red or Green?", to answer, "Christmas!" To that they gave me a thumbs-up and laughed. They would be so “in” at the restaurant!

I was curious when they asked me where they could find gumbo and they explained to me that their Korean guide to Santa Fe listed it as a good food to try here. So much for guidebooks. As I left work that night, there was a parking place right across the street from The Shed. So I slipped in and there were the three students sampling chips and salsa and excitedly talking about their taste. I found their waiter and arranged to purchase their appetizers for them and left my business card.

The next day I received a call that there were three Asian students here in the Library to see me. What fun! They were astonished that I had purchased their appetizers and I told them I just wanted them to have a great time on their trip. They did a thumbs-up and said “Christmas was great!” They took the accompanying photo for their scrapbook of America.

As they left, I gave them some advice. Drive carefully and do not talk to strangers. At that, Edwin burst out laughing and said, “But you were a stranger!” My humor did translate. They wished me “great days” as they left. And truly meeting Edwin, Jaehoon and Jeongho gave me a great day.

Pictured from left:
Edwin, Jaehoon, PCH and Jeongho

*Pronounced: Bb(Pp)ahl-gahn tto-nŭn Choh-rohk

Written by PCH at Main.

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