Besides German speaking Europe Italian can work as a Lingua Franca in S.E. Asia as well.
|My friend IZ holding a mini praying mantis on his wrist in Koh Phayam|
We're in Hua Hin, in the Gulf of Siam, two or three hours south of Bangkok. A little restaurant with a terrace on the sea, fish on the dishes in front of us. We're having dinner with a group of Zurichers and, as usual, at least two of them are able to speak almost perfect Italian. Switzerland is funny place: all those official languages and not even one that unifies it, the people sometimes forced to speak English among them. I find them fascinating, but they don't surprise me anymore.
A few hours later, while we're waiting for the bus to Ranong, a guy asks me if I know something about the bus to Phuket, which is already quite late. He spoke Italian correctly, there is some noise and I haven't been able to focus on his accent. It turns out that he's English, from Cornwall. He lived in Caserta and Ravenna for many months. He remembers that at the beginning he even used to speak with a Neapolitan accent.