Confession time! It has been ten years since I last blogged. Cairo 2006.
A recent visit to China has woken this blogger-panda from hibernation, although pandas don’t really hibernate. As I find myself working with content marketing and social media in the travel industry, and being a traveller at heart, plus an educated anthropologist, China was really a pleasant surprise. Thus I want to write a series of China travel blogs, for a lot of the things I was told beforehand was total ludacris.
Let`s start with the language barrier! There’s an app called Baidu that translates live Chinese to English and vice versa, you just talk into the phone. Other apps translates text and menus, but the best way of ordering food in “no english” eateries, is pointing at whatever the neighboring tables are having that you fancy. And it`s fun! More on the foodie stuff later.
Mind the gap
Everyone I met in China were really helpful despite understanding no or little English. Sign language and screenshots of what you are after goes a long way. Getting around is easy, the metros in Beijing and Shanghai are all in English, 3 RBM one way. Download the metro map apps and you have it offline in your pocket. Point of comparison, rush hour in both cities ain’t half as bad as the London tube and air conditioning is much better. The Chinese and Norwegians alike, could however learn a thing or two from British queue-culture…
While you’re at it, get a good VPN app and WeChat. Lot`s of free wifi. You can easily access all social media including Tinder, Happn, Bumble beyond the great firewall. Let`s get real, Tinder tourism is a big thing. Not just for hook ups; talking to peeps, getting local insight on clubs, restaurants and areas. You’ll swipe through lots of expats, fellow travelers, study abroads and Chinese repats. And please, stay sane. Shady people can be found everywhere on this planet.
If you, like me, enjoy going out dancing in clubs, another great thing about WeChat is getting a promoter. Free entrance and endless drinks at crazy clubs. The Belvedere might be a bit watered out or synthetic, so drink responsibly.
1. VPN app
4. Metro maps
Next up, how to avoid the tourist crowds.