Markets: Andijon, UzbekistanLanguage gaffes are frequent when traveling, even when you know a fair bit of the language. Sometimes you can't manage to say the simplest things and end up relying on embarrassing pantomime to get your point across.
After trial and error at buying different cuts of meat from this meat vendor in Andijon, Uzbekistan, I finally found a cut that was tender enough to not require hours and hours of braising to make it edible. When I asked him what this part of the meat was called, he replied “meat” in Uzbek. Upon asking him again in my broken Uzbek he kept repeating “meat”. The problem was I didn’t know how to say “part” in Uzbek and just kept pointing and asking "What is this?".
We went back and forth like this for long enough that the wasps gathering on the slabs of meat (yes, wasps eat meat) were starting to annoy me before it occurred to him that I was asking for part of the thigh. But instead of giving me the Uzbek word for it, he just slapped the inside of his leg grinning happily that he finally figured out what I was asking for. Unfortunately, every time I bought meat from him thereafter, I had to reach down between my legs and slap my inner thigh to tell him what I wanted, not exactly the most modest thing to do in a Muslim culture where most women still wear full-length long skirts everyday.