No Chinese? No Problem!

Travelling through China had its really difficult moments. First off, I don’t speak Chinese. Secondly, China has a technology block on Google, so I was out of luck with my self-navigating. Many larger cities have signs in several languages to accommodate visitors and travelers, but often times I was on my own to try to figure it out. Even when I did know where I was supposed to be going, communicating with those around me was not easy.

Train stations in China were almost as large as some airports I’ve traveled through!

The trick was finding someone that DID speak English, and planning ahead. I had directions to my host’s house and my map got me as far as the hostel in which I stayed the first night. While at the hostel, I asked a man at the front desk if he could translate my directions into Mandarin in case I needed to ask for help (my map and directions in English would not help with the locals). This became a VERY useful tool during my journey.

Many bus stations I’ve experienced this year (not only in China) have been little more than big lots where buses dump us passengers

Many times I had to stop someone to ask for help, mostly by making a pathetic face, waiving my hands in a friendly manner and pointing to whichever city name or bus stop on my map I was trying to get to next. At one point, I even had a commuter man have me follow him because he was going to the same location. Not the most efficient way to travel, but I eventually got to my destination. Smiles and kindness are the same in every language.:)

Have you ever had trouble getting around some place? What tricks did you use to navigate a new city?



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