Friday, March 26, 2010

Let's Get Down To Business (that song just keeps going around in my head!!)

 Guess where I'm going??

A few years ago, The Brain and I started talking about our 25th anniversary, and what we'd like to do to celebrate .  Of course travel is on high on both of our lists and we hoard frequent flyer miles like Nancy Pelosi counts votes, so we brainstormed where we have enough ffmiles to go, and outlined 4 different international trips that we thought would be fun.

Then we immediately crossed China off the list, because barring going with a pre-packaged tour group (which we really don't like), we weren't super comfortable trying to make our way around China by ourselves.

At the same time, my brother-in-law S was doing some educational work with with a Chinese law university and even bringing some Chinese interns to the US to work in his law practice.

ANYWAY - fast forward a couple of years, and The Brain and I are getting ready to go to China with both my sisters and their spouses, and my mom and dad.  S (b-i-l) is the true travel guru, and he is planning the trip with the help of some of his favorite interns, who will be our tour guides.

We are leaving in just a few weeks, and I'm starting to get a little nervous.

Most of what I know about China I learned from Mulan.

Kung Fu Panda.

I don't drink tea.
I don't know how to use chopsticks

but I do like Chinese food, so I feel like it will all work out. 

Anything you've ever heard about going to China that you think I might need to know?  Spill it.  I've already heard from several people that toilet paper is not always readily available... so we've each packed a roll.

Woo Hooo!
I mean
這是如此令人興奮 !!

* updated to add - We're going to Bejing, Xian, and Nanjing.


Tay said...

Food in China will not be what you are expecting. Do, however, expect to see a McDonald's and WANT to go eat there. That's what I hear, anyway. My friend lived there for her husband's internship and I'll have to ask her further opinion for you. You should post about where you are going and then I can get more specific info for you.

Mallory said...

My cousin did a foreign exchange teaching program in China for about 5 months. She said that they never eat raw veggies (apparently, they think that's gross)! I have a feeling that there are enough tourists locations that you will survive there just fine! Have fun!

Barbaloot said...

I'm definitely glad I went to China---and definitely planning on not going back. If you're the same as me, make sure you hit as much as you can in one trip:)

Are you going to Hong Kong as well? Cuz it was one of my favorite places. Especially Victoria Point---the highest place where you can look out over the city.

We hiked Mt. Huangshan---hard and time consuming, but beautiful. If you're not opposed to hiking that could be fun. I have other ideas-but China is SO huge that it's hard to say where to go if I don't know your cities and such. If you have questions-let me know! Have fun!!

Miggy said...

Hey long time...

So the hubs and I went to China a few years ago when my uncle and his fam. still lived there. We loved doing a lot of the touristy things like the Great wall {obviously a MUST if you're going to china} and The Forbidden City, Tieneman Square {spelled that wrong}, etc.

But we also took a road trip with my uncle, his family and another family friend to some of the rural places out of the city and I think that sticks out as my very favorite part of the trip. Seeing the rice fields, a village hundreds of years old made out of stone, people still sleeping on stone slabs with inch thick mats....Of course it's only something we would have done with 'locals' {both families had lived there for years and years and years} and so we were really lucky in that sense. And the food is AMAZING--IF, big IF here, you're with someone who knows the ropes--where to go and what to order. I'll never forget getting a meal that fed 17 of us and the cost was somewhere around 18-20 dollars and the food was delish! But when my husband and I went it alone one day, we were gagging on our it really depends. Good luck and have fun!

mormonhermitmom said...

Sounds like a fun trip. Of course the internet hot spots will be sporadic, or censored, so I guess we'll have to wait until you get back to get the scoop - Sounds cool though!

Heather said...

No clue, I've only been to China Town in San Fran. But send me a postcard!!

Janell said...

I lived in Shanghai for 3 months and loved it! (Shanghai's doesn't offer much in way of tourism compared to Beijing or Xian.)

What's funny is how much like Mulan the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are. Or, more accurately, how much Mulan acurately depicts the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. I had the Mulan soundtrack stuck in my head the entire time I visited Beijing.

The "Chinese" food you've been eatting - unless it's every looked back at you - is not the Chinese food you'll find in China. The food there is delicious and foreign, but you're very unlikely to see an eggroll while you're there.

If you can't yet eat with chopsticks, take a fork with you. If you're sticking to the touristy places, they'll have forks available. However, if you go off the beatten track it's very probably that a restaurant won't have forks. I'm convinced a few restaurants went out and _bought_ a fork for me just because I was so pathetic with chopsticks. (With practice i became better.)

Do keep toilet paper on you. Don't expect Western Style toilets except in readily touristy areas. Always use the bathrooms before you leave your hotel whether you need to or not. Take immodium with you. Take the immodium for a day or two regardless of whether you think you need it or not. Chinese food can be startling to the Western stomach. . . um, better to be constipated than otherwise.

One tip: if you hand anything to anyone use two hands and accept things with two hands. Especially business cards and cash.

Another tip. Chinese manners are NOT western manners. Don't expect people to behave like they do in the states. They are polite, but they're polite in the manner of their culture and not ours. I don't think you'll have a problem with this, but I do recall one acquaintance railing against how "rude" the Chinese were.

Ah, I envy you. I'd love to go back and visit China again!

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goddessdivine said...

Wait--you bribed people for your frequent flyer miles? ;-)

Hey, maybe you can see where they make all the stuff to sell in America. That would be cool.

Brenda Susan said...

I spent 2 weeks in China & Hong Kong with my students. Once was enough for this coiuntry girl! Carry those little packets of kleenex for your toilet paper every where you go. Carry hand sanitizer & go potty in the hotel before heading out. The toilets are "squatty potties", a literal hole in the floor that you squat over. I did it on a moving train several times!! Ha! crazy!

Anonymous said...

Loved seeing China, BUT prepare to be swamped with people trying to sell you souvenirs. They are intense to put it mildly.

Yvonne said...

I love Mulan.

You will have such a great time. A word of advice--practice squatting. Trust me, it will come in handy.

Love the flair about Chinese food.

I've been to Beijing and Xian but not Nanjing.

Stephanette said...

The only thing that I knew of was the squatting. My s-i-l says your thighs will probably burn.

Other than that, I can't wait to hear all about your trip.

Happy Anniversary!

Earl and Vickie said...

If you get a chance, go to Costco. It's REALLY different.

Julie Ramsay said...

Immodium and granola bars :) You'll have a blast! Make sure you go on the great wall!!

Emmy said...

I have never been so don't have any advice; but I bet you will have a wonderful time!! It will be nice to go with other people to help you find your way :)

Have fun!!

Vern said...

Cory had to go to China for work one time and I bought him a camera specifically for the trip. He came back with 17 pictures of the buttons on his toilet and 5 videos of the crazy drivers. I think he did manage one picture of a temple somewhere. He spent a week eating things like pig intestines and then got grossed out when he came home to Kentucky Fried Chicken. What does any of this have to do with you? Nothing really, but when you said "we're going to China" it all came back to me and I guess I needed to get that off my chest. Have fun!

Melissa said...

Sounds like a really great trip!! No advice from me except to have a really great time and take lots of pictures :)

Salt H2O said...

Pack a box of zone bars from costco. trust me.

That Girl said...

Um, WOW.

Also, I'm a total expert on China, cuz I read the Joy Luck Club.

LisAway said...

YOU'RE KIDDING. I just finished writing a batch of articles about "China travel" (I started writing this comment like 5 days ago, sorry. Now I just started a batch of articles about mattresses, which reminds me, don't plan on sleeping comfortably while you're there - but you probably have heard about their "mattresses".)

Jennifer said...

Whoot! It is going to be so incredibly fun. And an adventure of a lifetime...and I don't mean ONCE in a lifetime. I mean something to remember for the rest of your life.

You the RV bursting to flames on the freeway in CA. :)

Ahhh the memories!