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McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

Sitting in a cafe. Thunder rumbling. Stomach also rumbling. I went down to the LHA the other day, a Tibetan education place, where they can learn English from volunteers and also computer skills and website design. I know some people who have been doing English conversation groups there, and thought I could offer to do something. I told them I had website building skills. I was asked if I knew Dreamweaver. I said yes. Good, that’s what we need. I was shown numerous pages handouts for the students and as I glanced through them I started to think that I don’t really know Dreamweaver that well. I spent yesterday morning, before my first class, teaching myself some of the things I don’t know. Once you know one of these computer applications the rest are all pretty similar. When it came to the class I realized the main problem was not my knowledge of what I was supposed to be teaching, but more the language barrier. The guy who interviewed me said I have a strong English accent, and then asked if I was Scottish. I don’t think they understood much of what I was saying, but were too polite to say so.

In Thailand I heard English people speaking pigeon English to Thais to make themselves understood, which to me always sounded patronizing, but they were able to make themselves understood. The Thais smiled and laughed at their anecdotes, but perhaps they were just too polite to tell the stupid farangs they couldn’t understand a bloody word.

They’re playing some terrible music in this place, some female singer, American, singing about love or something. It might not be so bad if I didn’t understand the words, but it would still be bad. The speaker is crackling. I’m the only one in here. Time to go.

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