Seven years and ten months ago, I arrived in the Republic of China, better known as Taiwan. At the time I left South Africa, I knew very little about where I was going or what it looked like. I didn't even know where I was going to work. My agent (now my friend) Maggie just said, "Don't worry about anything. I'll have a job for you when you arrive."
Now, in my mind's eye, I had an image of a mixture between a tropical island and the images one gets of China in the old movies: red lanterns, very obedient students and the smell of incense... Oh, and somehow everyone can speak English.
Well, how rude my awakening was is a story for another day. In fact very few people speak English outside of Taipei. In my early years in Taiwan, I was always very excited to find a restaurant that had a menu in English.
So, for your reading pleasure, I present the English menu of a coffee shop in Yinge, a town very famous for its ceramics (and not so famous for its English!)
"Excuse me waiter, could I please have the 'Chicken of the oyster bad-mannered'? Mind you, item G looks delicious too! Oh, what should I order!"
"My friend here will have the Nine-storyed Baconian's pasta." (...which was bacon pasta with basil, in case you were wondering...)
Welcome to my world!