Chances are when you hear the word “China” or think of visiting, Beijing & Shanghai are the first places that come to mind. I know that I always thought that one of those would be my destinations upon my first visit to the country. However when Sachin & Shyamla (my brother-in-law and sister) moved to Guangzhou last year, that automatically changed.
As someone who has never visited China before, I was pleasantly surprised during my stay in Guangzhou last week. Other than the language barrier which was extremely prominent, I really enjoyed my time there. If you’re wondering what China is actually like as a place, here are some random tidbits which I picked up along the way:
- If Sachin & Shyamla are anyone to go by, picking up Cantonese/Mandarin is not overly difficult. Some words* which stuck:
*Nihao: Hello/excuse me
*Yo Bien: Right
*Jo Bien: Left
* Shi Shi: Thank you
- Whereas most restaurants in the West serve regular water as soon as you sit down, restaurants there serve hot water instead.
- I want legs like flamingos and to live a life like Pandas. Oh and speaking of animals, elephants are freakin’ hairy:
- There really is an app for everything…including an English to Mandarin/Cantonese translator
- Spas are available at a dime a dozen…or should I say an RMB a dozen
- Facebook and Twitter are banned in China
- Unlike most ‘markets’, Chinese markets aren’t based on the streets. Consider them like American malls with a heck lot of bargaining.
- Their use of corn is not limited to sweetcorn soup. I kid you not when I say that corn juice is sold on the streets and…wait for it…offered as a fro yo topping (as are cherry tomatoes)
- Guangzhou is extremely safe: over 268.000 surveillance cameras have been installed citywide in order to boost security.
- Chinese food in China is good…really good
*My spelling of the Mandarin/Cantonese terms are purely based on how they’re pronounced*