Signs. They try to tell you something important, and sometimes they fail. This is perhaps especially true in places where the people reading the signs may not speak the native language, such as in tourist-centric cities and in the vicinity of famous landmarks. The people who made the signs, being aware of potential language barriers, may have tried to make the signs simple and their message clear. Sometimes they succeeded. Other times? They just made me laugh.
Here are some examples of signs that caught my attention on my travels....
"Slow children?" Okay, well, that child is clearly running, so I don't think he's slow. And if he is slow, I'm not sure I should be worried about him at all. I could outrun him, even if he is a zombie or something.
Oh, you want me to drive slow(ly)? Because of the slow children who may be in the road, but may actually be running and not be being slow? WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE SLOW, ME OR THE CHILDREN? I give up.
I like how whoever designed and/or erected this sign clearly went on Google images and just grabbed the first four pictures that appeared. There are watermarks on the hamburger picture, which is visually superior to the other pictures (more like MS paint icons), and the red circle-lines don't even all go in the same direction.
LAZY. DO BETTER.
"Please behave respectfully," say the words in English.
Hmmm. So it looks like that means:
*No throwing things at the birds
*No sliding down the stairs
*No throwing litter at other litter.
*No wearing ugly bathing suits?
*No sitting on steps while wearing ugly bathing suits?
*No throwing ice cubes or possibly sugar cubes on the ground?
*No ball games?
At least, that's what the icons are telling me. What do they really mean?
The fun police are watching. NO FUN! EVER! Exceptions: gondola rides and buying beads.
Zoos are a great place for funny signs, because they often involve DANGER, which, when not actually happening to you or your loved ones, is pretty funny.
Here I am reading about what peril (perill, peligro) may occur should I nonchalantly hop the fence, while that lioness there looks particularly peaceful and content. As if she's daring me to defy the sign. "Go on," she says, "I won't bite you. Hop the fence, do!"
But heck. Just about everyone knows lions are dangerous. It's almost as if the sign doesn't even need to exist. But this one...?
Pelicans bite? Holy crap.
Rumor has it, bears bite too. So don't do this, potentially moronic parents....
How can we make it any clearer? Adult + little person + over fence = NO!
Although the following sign was probably meant for zoo visitors, I like to think it's actually intended for the zoo's pandas to adhere to also:
No, seriously, pandas. We'll feed you at staggered intervals. Stop trying to help yourself to the goods!
Meet the otters! All named after delicious things you can find at Whole Foods:
Kevins! Yum! I wonder if Kevins taste like asparagus water?!
And how bout them crocodiles?
"Evil" and "cherished": two extremes, neither of which actually pertain to my feelings toward crocodiles. After careful consideration, I'm somewhere in the middle.
A few non-signs that amused me on my travels....
At the Smithsonian Museum Of American History, an old ad for 7-Eleven:
"LEAVE THE YOUNGSTERS IN THE CAR?
Why not? You can see them from anywhere in the store.
That's a 7-Eleven drive-in grocery for you. Park right at the door... leave the youngsters in the car... pick up everything you need... and they've never once been out of sight. How many times have you given up any thought of going in the grocery for that something you needed... because taking the car pool in with you was out of the question? Try our little "park-at-the-door" store next time you have a car full of youngsters.
Open from 7am till 11pm... 7 days a week. 7 Eleven."
There's no "i" in team, and pretty soon, there'll be one less "u" in "agriculture."
In Barcelona, while on a tour bus, I was hoping to get a Wifi signal. Suddenly, I got one, and it didn't even require a password or watching a lame video or me signing away the rights to my firstborn child.
I looked up, and realized... My little iPhone 3 had located the mothership!
In Germany, they don't just have gummy bears. They have gummy everything. Even cows in lederhosen...
They also have cheap Lego there. And... really cheap non-Lego, too:
I'll leave you with one more picture whose sign offers some essential advice:
If you're being chased by a hammer, pickaxe, or similar instrument, this is NOT the time to be slow! RUN TOWARD AN EXIT.
I mean, duh.