FlagAmongst Israelis, Brazilians, Canadians, Americans and Germans there are a couple of Vietnamese guys staying in my hostel.

I have made a point of saying hello and trying to have some fun with everybody here so they were no different.

However to say there was a language barrier is a bit of an understatement. Neither side can pronounce the others vocabulary, there isn’t a great deal of similarity between the different dialects and none of the three of us can speak a common language.

pictionaryOnce I discovered they were from Vietnam however, I refused to give up because I am going there later this year.

I came up with the idea of drawing a few things Pictionary style which was just the catalyst we needed to get a ‘conversation’ going. One set of Olympic rings, London 2012, and a couple of family trees later we were off.

I spent most of last night doing this but towards the end of the evening Tuyen who was the most ‘talkative’ suggested we try Google translate on my laptop. For the next two hours we typed into the screen a question or response to the other and just waited for the internet to work its magic for us. It wasn’t always perfect e.g. I still have no idea what he meant based on Google’s translation of ‘Wish intention bees Viet nam’ but it was a surprisingly effective means of building bridges as well as being quite a lot of fun too.




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