25 August 2008

Burmese hand signals: dodgy...

Went to a petrol station last night to get a can of Coke from the shop but got there about 10pm - right when the attendants locked the doors for the night. However, he'd just let someone in about 10 seconds earlier so I thought he'd let me in as well.

And so I gestured at the attendant inside the shop (whom I assume to be Burmese) that I wanted to buy a drink - using the universal hand signal for "drink" (i.e. holding an imaginary cup up to my mouth and tipping it).

Unfortunately this gesture probably meant something else in Burmese - the guy didn't get it and kept directing me to the payment window where you'd pay for petrol.

I kept gesturing, and he kept pointing. So I went to the window, and gestured again only to draw blank stares from the group of Burmese attendants, all of whom were beginning to look rather nervous.

This has led me to two possible conclusions, either:

1. The universal hand signal for "drink" means "I want to pump petrol" or (according to Elaine) "I've planted a landmine in your front yard so you better lock your front door" in Burma.


2. The Burmese are just shit at hand signals...

"Wait! WAIT! I meant trim my sideburns some more... *URK!*"

Of course, it's all probably yet another case of me getting poor service in situations where it's normally impossible to get poor service :)

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