Learning local language while traveling is always an asset. But sometimes it might also go horribly wrong as I encountered one of my embarrassing travel moments in Iran.
I was learning Persian before I went to Afghanistan and Iran. In Iran, I tried to show off my Persian skills by wishing good night (Shaba Kheer) to local people in Persian.
And when I was at Masood’s place in Shiraz (my CouchSurfing host), I wished him Shaba Kheer before going to sleep. He was stunned and was kind of shocked. And then he suddenly burst out laughing. I was clueless and asked him what’s wrong. He explained me the meaning of what I just said by breaking it into two parts.
So, Shaba meant Night, which I was pronouncing correctly but Kheer that I was saying so proudly, meant DICK in Persian.
I had a flashback moment and realized that for the past two weeks I was kind of saying to the beautiful people of Iran – “Good night to your dick.” And what was even more embarrassing is that I told this to many women too. I think it’s a miracle that I am still alive and not beheaded.
The embarrassment didn’t stop there. Masood, who was still laughing, called up his friends and narrated the incident to them. He put them on speakerphone and asked me to repeat what I said, to each of his friends. They sure did have a gala time that night at my expense. But I was glad to provide some entertainment.
After that night, I didn’t wish anybody.
P.S – The correct expression is Shaba Khair (there is a different sound of Kha, which I think Iranians can pronounce better)