Thursday, March 12, 2009

Over There

I love getting directions in Uyghur. The whole concept of instructing someone to turn left or right at certain major landmarks is completely missing. In fact no matter where you are or where you’re going the directions given are always the same. With a swift wave of the hand you are told “Uuuuuuuuuuuuuu yarda” meaning “Oooooooooooover there”. The length of time that first syllable is held indicates how far off the mark you are. And so you start walking in the general area to which they pointed. When you feel that your travels equate in length to the inflection with which they were given, it is time to find another friendly face and ask them. Hopefully this second person still points in the same general direction and hopefully they only tell you “Uuuuu yarda” (if you are fortunate you are now within sight of the final destination and it can actually be pointed out for you). The problem comes ( as I recently found out again) when the second person points back from where I just came and gives me an even longer “Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu yarda”. This back and forth, back and forth trying to judge the estimated length simply by a person’s tone of voice can go on for a while. Or you can do like I did and give up and ask some one in the national language, and get real street names and proper information about what to do when you arrive at various intersections.

No comments: