No Room at the Inn?

April 1997

When we checked into the Hotel Elysée Palace in Nice, the clerk took a long time searching his computer for our reservation. Since we had arranged half-price rates through our Entertainment card, I had made sure to bring a fax of our confirmation. When I showed it to him, he discovered the problem – Ludwick is not a common last name in Europe but Ludwig is a common first name, and the computer had me listed as Ludwick John! (I should have remembered to write it as John LUDWICK, in the European fashion.)

In fact, when we lived in Frankfurt we were the only Ludwicks (or Ludwigs for that matter) in the phone book. I had long since learned to pronounce my name as LUDE-veek when making reservations, because Lud-wick isnít in their vocabulary. And, in spite of having to pay nearly $50 to have a translation made of my Virginia drivers license to get a German one, the translator misspelled it as Ludwig! Well, even if the name isnít quite right, itís worth it to have a lifetime German driversí license. (John Shulstad, a Frankfurt colleague, had a similar problem, since the "sh" sound in German is always spelled "sch.")

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