Don't forget to pack...
Going to China? Bring your own shampoo, deodorant,
etc. There are a number of copy cat brands in China,
so buyer beware. I have seen people purchase what
they thought was a North American or European brand
of shampoo and the contents where not and it was very
damaging to their skin/ hair. Also, makeup as well
as personal hygiene products are two or three times
more expensive than what we pay for them here in North
America. Stock up on what you need before you go --
if you have extras leave them for new friends at the
close of your trip.
Pauline, Cambridge, Canada
balm and squatting...
It depends on where you
are going -- some restrooms in China are still pretty
primitive -- so be prepared. Take your own toilet
paper and seat covers for where the toilets actually
have seats. Most public toilets are the squat type
so start exercising your thigh muscles and practice
squatting. A small dab of Tiger Balm under the nose
can be very helpful in dispelling unpleasant odors
in the toilets.
Estelle, California, USA
Ed. note: I
use my mentholated lip balm under my nose in "hard-to-be-in"
washrooms. I also wear pants with tight fitting legs
so the bottoms don't get dirty in the squat washrooms.
In Beijing, I took a pedicab
(arranged through our hotel), which was about half
a day long and cost about US$45.
We were taken through the alleyways of a 300 year
old area in the second ring road where we explored
the crowded neighbourhoods. Our guide took us into
a school which had pre-schoolers all the way up to
early elementary school age, then to a typical neighbourhood
market and the home of a retired couple who had lived
in the area their entire lives. The end of the tour
was a tea ceremony at a traditional Chinese opera
house. It was very informative and graceful and the
tea was much welcomed on such a cold day. This tour
is highly recommended. It was a glimpse into traditional
China and a view to its future.
Trish, Singapore, Malaysia
P.S. Beijing in December
was extremely cold -- many sites are old and do not
have any heat. I suggest you take some extra clothing
(I find silk long underwear lightweight and very warm)
if you are travelling there in the winter.
don't have to dress up at night no matter where you
Ed. note: I agree.
When I was in Beijing in January I was very glad I
had packed my silk
longjohns -- I wore them not only outside in the
cold under my pants but alone as comfy, light "loungewear"
in my hotel room.
In preparation for my upcoming
trip to China I've started collecting websites that
contain useful information. Other JourneyWomen might
like to take a quick look at these two links - both
seem very useful: See: www.brookes.ac.uk/worldwise/directory/www00044.html
-- a university site that contains helpful data about
almost everything about the country. And, also www.travel-guide.com/data/chn/chn050.asp,
a site especially good for money matters.
Marion, United Kingdom
have more fun in Beijing...
I was in China for two months last year (around
Beijing) and my flatmate taught English in Shanghai
for over a year.
I got used to being stared at. As a blonde,
blue-eyed girl, I was a fascination to everyone
- from passing motorists to people on the
pavement. I found out that everyone will try
and say 'hello.' Chinese people wanting to talk
or practice their English make a great way to
pass the time while waiting for trains, etc.
Most young Chinese want to learn English - many
can read and write it, but spoken English -
from western teachers - is a special opportunity.
Once you've madea connection with people (especially
on the trains) they will go out of their way
to help with the harder struggles unfamiliar
to westerners (getting on the train - finding
a 'hard seat', and if you feel comfortable -
will watch over bags stored overhead while you
run to the toilets). I found many a shared 'hard
seat' (when there weren't any seats left) by
chatting away with students.
Robin, Brighton, United