Now, to be fair (to me), I have shown remarkable restraint over my past 5 years overseas by not mocking the misuse of English running amok in non-English countries. Indeed, I have been a Paragon of Politeness.
*Sigh* - no more.
A few weeks back, Mr. This Cat's (Not) Abroad and I were feted at the Marina, a rather swanky Lebanese restaurant in Erbil, complete with ambient lighting, a sound stage for the requisite warbling Arabic female chanteuse, and oddly, a stuffed seagull mounted on a pedestal at the front door. And although the food was great and the company congenial, let me share with you a few items from the menu:
* cheese rools (presumably rolls)
* tongs (presumably either of the kitchen utensil variety, or an organ extracted from the mouth, probably with tongs no less. Having said that, tongue leaves a better taste in my mouth).
* fish fee lea (presumably fillet - kudos though for transcribing it from the French. Fish fee let doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi.)
* klmary (presumably calamari ... ahhhh, those foreign words are so elusive, n'est ce-pas?)
* pizza cocktail (presumably ... nope. I have no clue)
* BBQ sheep bools (presumably balls, but admittedly bools sounds more gastronomically refined and less, well, testicular)
... and my personal favourites, all of which were listed on the Seafood page:
* sparrow (presumably a close relative of Chicken of the Sea)
* frogs (presumably a close relative of the Great Atlantic Sea Frog)
* BBQ bird (presumably a close relative of the stuffed seagull at the front door and the aforesaid sparrow).
... all of this can be washed down with a nutritious glass of Cantlops Juic and topped off with a nice narghile. How about Gum flavour? I fear that the latter is not a typo.
Bools and tongs notwithstanding, the highlight of the evening was the pure delight - nay rapture - which lit Mr. This Cat's face up like the proverbial Christmas tree when he saw Guinness on the menu. After all, it had been many many weeks since he last had a perfect pint of stout (it is chockful of antioxidants). But always the Doubting Thomas and so susceptible to disappointment is he that he drilled the waiter mercilessly. Are you sure? Yes sir, Guinness. Really? Guinness? Yes sir, Guinness. I'll have a Guinness.
Yes, yes ... I am a shit for doing this because, after all, the food was good and clearly, I was able to decipher everything on the menu (apart from the pizza cocktail). But after all these years
As an addendum, let me say this of the Marina: Iraq is a landlocked country. Any hopes I had of watching the yachts gently bob in the ochre wash of the setting sun were quashed immediately upon remembering that I am in Iraq and Iraq is a landlocked country. Perhaps the time has come to change its name. Like the Sandbox. Much better.
Oh ... and the Guinness (so chockful of antioxidants) which Mr. This Cat ordered? Well of course there was no Guinness. Why on earth would Guinness be served at a Lebanese restaurant in northern Iraq? Yes, the waiter promptly brought Mr. This Cat a refreshing but slightly less healthy 7Up (but with no shamrock design in the head because 7Up has no head) and without any reference to the 'substitution' he so deftly made with no thought of consulting the customer. Perhaps he thought that Mr. This Cat would not notice. Well, at least the can was green.