Have you been there before, standing along the Mekong River with your bicycle and trying to hitch a ferry ride to the other side of the river to fix your flat tire? If you have not yet experienced that, you are missing out on a lot! The question is, “How do you get across what you need to the local people?” It is this part of the journey that allows us to really experience local life! Use your hands, your creativity in drawing and point at things familiar. This is what we do when the local people do not speak English. But when they do speak English, it still can be a challenge to understand what is meant. This simply because the English language is spoken so differently here. It may sound weird, or even rude but it is not meant to be that way, of course. Keep in mind that Asian languages are much like Southern European languages: very direct and imperative. People will not ask you to “please sit down and have a bite.” No, people will tell you to “Sit and eat!” Most people in Asia translate literally what they would say in their language to English. It just sounds a bit off but it is meant to be very friendly. Listen carefully, take a moment before you respond, savor the words spoken and reply with a smile!