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I’ve been back from India for a month now, but I can still give out free advice to those about to travel. Here are some phrases you may hear from the locals wherever you may be; I’ll translate what they really mean.

“That is not possible” — (Note: this advice mainly applies to India.) Translation: “That is absolutely possible if you slip me some cash while my boss isn’t looking.”

“Oh, it’s easy to find” — Translation: “I’ve lived here my whole life and it’s beyond my imagination how anyone could get lost in this thousand-year-old city that was intentionally built to confuse foreigners like you.”

“Well, I don’t see why you can’t” — Translation: “Our constitution grants me the right to have an opinion on anything and I’m going to exercise that right and make something up, especially since it won’t be me blundering into the seedy part of town late at night.”

“What could possibly go wrong?” — This common phrase needs no translation; it really means that the speaker is that guy who: has a pet python, monkey or tiger; goes hiking in the Grand Canyon in summer with no water; freely gives his credit card info to adult sites on the internet; thinks the freeway is a motorcycle race track; remodels his own home while still living in it (I’m doing that right now and questioning my own sanity); celebrates a Super Bowl victory by getting drunk and climbing a power pole and/or the Statue of Liberty (Still not as crazy as remodeling your own home while living in it.)

Finally, if this article seems pessimistic, then I say this: Bravo! You have absolutely gotten my point. Stay home, call Home Defenders when you have pests, and laugh at all those tourists blundering into the seedy part of town. Hey, it was you who sent them there because that place is easy to find and what could possibly go wrong?

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