All over the world where I’ve been I always run straight to the first English bookstore I saw or knew it exist. Lots of memories and overweight packages of books to be read on the road back “home”. And it is something special about those bookstores that goes beyond the common language used – in books and in direct communication with the bookstore people (whose fate I will always envy – can you imagine what kind of life is this to spend precious working time in the company of so many books). One of the main reasons I want to stay in such blessed places is that it is more likely to find here various translations in English of various authors or of relevant books about the country and town I am visiting. Lots of books about Berlin in the English bookstores, Japanese literature translated into English in Tokyo or the best of the Jewish literature and the history of the Middle East in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. In this case, English serves as a tool for discovering new cultures, identitites and histories otherwise unaccessible because of language barriers.
The next time when you are away, pay a visit to the local English bookstore!