Couple faces language challenge on trip

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; If you sometimes have a problem picking up the Southern drawl, put yourself in Thomas and Claudia Schweizer’s shoes.

Vacationing from Germany, the couple recently flew into Miami, rented a car and took a driving tour of the Gulf Coast, stopping in Mobile, Gulfport and New Orleans before arriving in Natchez on Sunday.

&uot;In Alabama, it was very hard in the restaurants.

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I understood nothing,&uot; said Claudia, who is the first to admit her English needed some brushing up to prepare her for the trip.

&uot;We learn English in school in Germany, but we don’t use it on our jobs,&uot; said Claudia, a chemical industry worker who attended a weekly English class before her vacation started.

Sunday evening, the Schweizers were strolling along the river bluffs, enjoying the scenery and planning the next leg of their vacation.

&uot;We will spend tonight here and drive up to Tupelo tomorrow and visit Elvis’ birthplace,&uot; said Thomas, a bus driver in Bamburg, a German city of 50,000.

And if a visit to the King’s hometown is not enough to get them acquainted with the Dixieland dialect, the Schweizers plan to stop in Nashville to hear some country music before riding on to Wisconson to visit Thomas’ sister.

While there, they do plan to attend Harley-Davidson’s centennial celebration in Milwaukee.

In Germany, the Schweizers both enjoy riding motorcycles &045; Thomas a Honda and Claudia a BMW.

&uot;I like Harley-Davidson,&uot; said Thomas, who stopped to admire two hogs parked on Broadway Street.

The Schweizers, who are enjoying a month-long vacation, will be in America for three weeks.

&uot;In Germany, workers usually get four to six weeks vacation every year,&uot; said Claudia, who has traveled in America twice before. This was Thomas’ first American journey.