When I’m in a jam, I almost always revert back to the smile, point, and nod method of communicating. But what if you’re trying to get a little more info? Well it may sound dumb but I try to either play a very poor game of charades or do a quick drawing of the situation. I always carry a small notebook and pen with me. Most of the time, it’s so that I can take notes while I eat, wait for the train, etc. but sometimes it really comes in handy to doodle something to get your point across. As an example, I was in Phnom Penh and wanted to know if there was covered seating in a market since it was raining. After a couple quick drawings, the person understood what I was asking. Look, I’m not trying to win an award for communicating, just trying to get my point across.
Although I’m sure there are apps that you can use to get your point across that would make your life easier, there are times when you just have to improvise. As great as that app is, if you haven’t had a chance to recharge it, it would be completely useless. I try to bring it down to the most basic level. Sometimes the simplest ways of communicating are the most effective.