LUXEMBOURG-VILLE — An expat’s valiant effort to order seasonal mulled wine ended in catastrophic failure on Sunday after vendors at Luxembourg’s Christmas market couldn’t understand what he was saying.
During several tense minutes, the 39-year-old anglophone tried to express that he wanted “vin chaud,” trying variations that included van chowed, vine show, and even voucher.
The vendor eventually handed the market-goer her personal telephone, thinking he desperately needed to contact someone named Vince Cho.
The exchange further deteriorated when the frustrated man switched to German and tried to order a “Glühwein.” This attempt sent him tumbling down a rabbit hole of incorrect pronunciations including glow wine, glue ween, and Glockenspiel.
Attracting a crowd of onlookers that included several high-ranking members of the French language institute L’Académie française, a German television crew, and a group of delighted Chinese tourists, the man persisted until a semblance of understanding was reached. After a quick jaunt to a nearby stand, the vendor proudly returned with a roasted chicken, thinking that the man was imitating the clucking of a hen.
“I actually do speak French, or at least I think I do, and I know for certain that my German is quite passable as I used to listen to a lot of industrial metal,” the anglophone later insisted. “The ambient noise was quite loud, and I wonder if the hot spiced wine seller wasn’t a little drunk herself, if not just deaf.”