Friday, November 23, 2018

Mexico City: Misadventure in Translation

A very special shampoo. Mexico City. November 2018.

The delightful Rasha, the woman-who-loves from Oman, and a fellow guest at the guesthouse, speaks a lot and a little of a several languages: Arabic, of course. English, fluently. Some Swahili, some Spanish, and ... oh, let's go back to the Spanish.

Like me, Rasha had a private room with a shared bath. For convenience, fellow guests often leave some of their toiletries in the shower, such as shampoo.

Rasha loves fragrances, and sometimes will use shampoo to wash her hands because of their lovely scents. Well, there's that reason, plus in the shared baths of the guesthouse, tiny pink bars of soap may be present in one moment and gone the next, so shampoo might do in a pinch, anyway.

One day, Rasha was in the bathroom and when came the moment to wash her hands, she remembered a chubby tube of shampoo in the shower. Rasha lifted it to her nose, inhaled the scent, and liked it. Rasha read the label, yup, shampoo. Who cared that it was for men? It cleaned and it smelled good.

Rasha wetted her hands, squeezed some shampoo on same, and lathered up. Mmm, the creamy shampoo felt nice and smelled nice. She rinsed off, walked out of the bathroom, and set about the next business of her day.

...... Until not much time later when she noticed that her hands and fingers had become streaked with walnut brown stains.

Aieeee! What happened?!

Rasha dashed backed into the bathroom, snatched up the squeeze bottle of shampoo, re-read the front, and, only then, processed the full translation:

"Fades the gray" 
"Coloring shampoo"

Rasha found some real soap and vigorously scrubbed her hands and nails to remove as much colorant as possible.

It took days for all of it to disappear.

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