China is not an easy country to travel. It’s not just because of its size and population density, which are already sufficient reason in itself; but also because of the language barrier, social customs (the Chinese are very yours), cleanliness levels, pollution, public consideration, respect traffic rules, insufficient or inadequate transport networks in some areas, strange foods and so on. During the two years I spent in China I have known lovers and detractors of the great Asian power. I personally suffer a dichotomy love-hate for this country.
The best way out of doubts about China is to go there and live it in first person, but if you have the opportunity or not you decide to do this, read this first. As there are many documents where you can find out about their cultural, monumental or gastronomic delights, besides a thousand tips to have a blast, I’ll give you advice (humorously) about what NOT to do in China ever again.
- Expect to find roast duck and in each restaurant
In China other things they eat and if you are not lucky enough to find an English menu, half of the time and not know what you’re asking. Search restaurants with pictures of dishes, cross your fingers, and accept your fate with fortitude. I hope you really like spicy food. Do not expect a fork even if you ask (if you know and understand you ask). Take it with you or better, learn to use chopsticks, that when hunger strikes are much easier to use than you thought.
- Try to fool a Chinese
During the past 5,000 years too many fingers on one hand to enumerate foreigners who have deceived a Chinese. None lived to tell the tale. For your physical and mental health accepts that are smarter than us, or more stubborn; the point is that never ever come out winning in a discussion with them. You agree that if you go to China you will “fool like a Chinese” routinely, do not take sourly. Save your anger and be happy.
- Enter a public service
Especially after eating. Especially if it is a service station in a remote area. And not so remote. What you see there is something that you nailed in memory for the rest of your days. Be prepared for 1 yuan, above, it is common to have to pay to visit the stinking hole. If you’re squeamish, wearing a scented handkerchief that can get in the nose, sometimes it’s a matter of survival.
- Traveling during Chinese national holidays
Unless you like to feel crowded and leave the skin to find transportation and accommodation. The first week of October and the week before and after the Chinese New Year (date varies each year but becomes between January and February) are the worst. The truth is that lately no matter what time of year trips, as more and more Chinese high net worth level that add to the fashion within tourism.
- Pretender find alone
You have seen amazing photographs on this or that site in China, and are looking forward to make a picture of your life, hang it in your living room to the envy of your friends. But when you put foot there, there are a few hundred tourists copying your idea and putting together that breaks all the charm. But there is hope: the Chinese tend to travel in massive groups, and the guides tend to always go for the same places. If you go off the beaten path still have a chance to find peace and magic. That, or get up much earlier, before the tours appear (usually arrive at 9:00 or 9:30), or stay until the sun sets and go progressively going to dinner (in China is dinner around 19:00).
- Becoming a rock star
Will treat you as such, you will watch with fascination, not cease to shoot pictures as if you were parading down the red carpet of the Oscars path although in big cities like Beijing or Shanghai this already happens less. In many places Chinese tourists will pay attention to the incredible scenery and ancient monuments just to look at yourself, abroad. Not suitable for people who are overwhelmed being the center of attention. Oh, and you cannot go to his head, as many Westerners become arrogant (to the point of giving cringe) and back home is a hard slap of reality.
- Will visit free sites
In China you pay for everything. Tourism has become a business where all want to get rich, and you will find that if you visit, for example, some rice fields will have to pay entrance ticket in several areas, and that these tickets cost the same as visiting the Forbidden City Beijing (five or six euros is normal anywhere). You pay for peeing, by entering a village or by stepping on a park. There will be almost no interest site that you can visit for free. Still, the accommodation and food are cheap, and China is still an affordable country.
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- Speak Chinese if you can speak Chinese
No, although your travel guide you type with Latin alphabet how to read Chinese characters, you will not get yourself understood. It works like this: if the person you are addressing is interested in understand you, you’ll have difficult though just get it. If you’re spoken to who does not love you understand, can already be bilingual in Mandarin entry you have failed for the simple fact of having face abroad. Manage Mandarin tones you require months of language study, and the Chinese do not even expect you can speak their language, so neither expect nor understand you strive for it. The most sensible thing you can do is take the phrases written in Chinese characters and the interested read them for yourself.
- Try to communicate by gestures
It does not work. Sorry, I do not pretend to be a killjoy, I’m just warning you. It can be maddening, but the ability to understand body language is nonexistent in most of the Chinese population. They are not as expressive as we are, or are not used to it. Or simply they are not programmed to understand abroad under any of its manifestations communication. Go to a supermarket, pointing a plastic cup and put face interrogation, it will not do for the employee to take you to the place where are these. Also, it is useless to ask for directions with a map. It is scientifically proven that the Chinese do not have the gene that allows humans to settle with a map.
- Wait for the cars you let it pass
Do not trust even if the light is green for you, many ignore. The crosswalks without traffic lights not serve for absolutely nothing, and even if you hauls to cross them you’d better run if you see a car approaches you. Traffic is wild and cars take precedence over people.
- Feel proud after haggling a price
I refer to point 2 to tell you that, however much you’ve bargained an article, this you could have been cheaper. Ask price and divide it by four, offers even a little less and try to climb up plan in that amount. It sounds radical and will be a tough negotiation, but even so, the same comes next will be bought cheaper.
- OK pose for photographs
Actually it is an experience to be lived, because it is a good way to meet people and have a laugh. At least the first few times, before you prove crippling joint request you pictures without succession of continuity. I notice the consequences. First, if you accept a photo will be many more requests after; and possibly you have to take a picture with every Chinese who has in the vicinity, which is no joke. Second, these photos will be uploaded to the Chinese social networking as the biggest trophy of the holiday week; photo with foreign (monkey show) will be seen by thousands of Chinese, if not millions, in the coming days. In any case, it is the best way to predispose to what indicated in paragraph 15.
- To question their customs or superstitions
Tiger’s penis crushed serve or not to cure impotence is not a matter of your business. That poetic. The Chinese are proud of their 5,000 years of traditions and customs, do not try to get you and make them see reason, then you will enter into a discussion that will not carry beyond your own frustration. If you do not like spitting loudly in your very noses or irretrievably sneaking in front of you without queuing, you’re wasting your time complaining.
- Complain if something is old, dirty or broken
In a country until recently Third (and still is depending on which regions), which live 1,400 million people sharing scarce resources, everything that does not involve money or accessory is totally strict survival and irrelevant. When you go to China, open your mind and downplays the importance of things.
- Accept an invitation to drink
Unless you’re willing to get drunk as a Cuba and then write an article about 15 things you should NOT do when you travel to China. For more tips visithttp://apporello.com/.