Lots and lots of food being offered, apparently China has this ”guest rule”, which means any guest will be showered with fruits, food, gifts and you can’t really refuse.
Traffic is absolutely crazy!! In his words: it seems that the only rule for drivers is don’t run a red light.
you WILL get stared at a lot( depending on where you visit in China of course), but don’t take it offensively, it’s just Chinese people being curious because they don’t see many foreigners. He has a tip: smile and wave back at them, usually people will shy away 😛
- If you hear the term ”Lao Wai” when you are walking about, more often than not, it means people are talking about you. But don’t be offended, it’s not a racist term, it means ”foreigner” and can be attributed to anybody who isn’t Chinese.
- Cost of living is VERY CHEAP compared to European standards in terms of food etc. However, surprisingly branded clothes such as Adidas etc are very expensive.
- The weather in China generally is warm, and can be very humid; however as Annie has already pointed out recently there have been very heavy rainstorms (perhaps I dragged the dismal Welsh weather with me).
- At meal times/resteraunts expect to have Chinese people looking at you while you eat, again this is not because they are rude they are just curious. If you can use chopsticks reasonably well then it may attract attention as there is a general belief in China that non-Asians simply cannot use them, people will be impressed if you can but if you cannot at least try to use them and experience the culture.
- If you plan on using taxis in China make sure they are from a big company as unmarked taxis or “black taxis” as they are otherwise known will often not have a meter and will charge ridiculous prices for foreigners.
- When buying something from a market stall in China be aware that nothing will have a price tag on it and the price is settled through bartering. If you are a foreigner people will believe that you are wealthy (which is a reasonable assumption since you are likely to have a lot of money on holiday), prices will start very high and you will have to bargain to bring the price down. However in big chain stores all goods will come with a price tag so it is no good trying to bargain.
- Be careful if you want to try any street food, with a lot of stalls there won’t be a problem but some are not very hygienic and the food may make you ill and ruin a good portion of your trip to China (for instance yesterday we walked past a stall selling the fermented “stinky tofu” and half of the street smelt like a cess pit).
- Public toilets in China are not seated toilets but sqaut toilets, which obviously means that there is no seat and you have to squat over a hole in the floor (sounds disgusting but most public toilets are), however hotels and apartments will have seated toilets.
- Some useful phrases are “bu yao” (No I don’t want it), “Xie xie” (thankyou) and “Mei shi” (I’m ok). In China if you are the guest of any Chinese people these can be very useful as being the host in is very important and as the guest you will frequently be offered food and asked if you are ok.
These are just some of the characteristics of China, and any bad points are far outweighed by the good. China is a great place to be at the moment, it’s just a shame that it is often portrayed negatively in the West.