Biggest tip....Smile!! best comunication device in the world!
Don't stress about it once you get on the ground you'll find your own way.
The most common statement made by people when they first go traveling... " Everyone was so friendly!" And they will say this with some kind of wonder and surprise.(we must have such a dark view of humanity!) Especially because you are from another country, once you get off the mega touristy tour bus route, you'll be just as much a novilty to them as they are to you. I've been traveling for 4 years from the Middle East to Asia to Europe to the Pacific, and I'm constantly humbled by the generosity of the world. And most humbling of all the more "economicly deprived" the area is (i.e. the less they have in western terms) the more welcoming and friendly they are. But no matter where you are if you're from another country and out of a tourist group, and have an open smile on you face, people will always be more helpfull and friendly to you than their fellow countrymen.
I remember seeing a book ( by Lonely Planet i think) it was a book full of pictures, so you would point at what you wanted in the book and show the person ( i.e picture of a plate of food, hospital, hotel) That way if you traveling through several counties/ languages you can use it all the way. I saw the book in a shop and chuckled to myself, thinking how simple it was and how often i could have used it!!!
Long story short..... Chill Jono! Go with the flow and smile a lot (sometimes like an idiot helps!
) make a few hand gestures and you'll be fine!!! - think of it a s huge game of charades! ;0) It's a bit hard at first but you'll get in the swing of it in no time! (just leave your western paranoia and suspicion at home)
"he who travels lightest, travels happiest" - Budda
'99 R1100GS - In a suitable shade of black
It's not that life is so short, It's just that we're dead for so long....
"The world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page." ~ Saint Augustin