“Oh, you’ve been to China? Here, let me ask you one of these five questions…”
When you come back from China, be prepared to answer these same questions. A lot. Taxi drivers, nurses, immigration officials, shop assistants, friends, family, your dog… everyone will ask you these.
1. What was the food like?
Sometimes we ate at the finest restaurants in Beijing or Shanghai. Other times we huddled on airport benches chowing down on free noodle cups because our flights were delayed. Other times we were served food at cheap restaurants and we had no idea what it was. Supermarkets were a little surreal but you got used to it and you were never short of a laugh with seaweed flavour crisps and things inside packets that look nothing like their photo. Like everything in China, there’s really good stuff and really awful stuff, you just have to separate the two.
2. Did you see the Great Wall?
Yes. And I have all of the deets on the best places to see it, how to get there, what else is nearby and the best time to go. Article coming here.
3. Did you see the Terracotta Warriors?
Eventually. You can read all about it here. Although it took two trips to Xi’an before we managed it because there’s just so much to do in Xi’an.
4. Do you speak Chinese?
A little bit. Enough to get by in taxis or restaurants in most areas and not to call your mother a horse (seriously, “ma” has four meanings depending on tone). The hardest thing about Chinese for me was the fact that, like Irish, they have no true words for “yes” and “no” (your phrasebook is wrong). You simply put the question into a positive or negative form to indicate your answer. This is fine if you can speak in complete sentences in Chinese. Not so great for beginners.
5. Would you go back?
Yes, but I’d want to be more choosy about the city we lived in, and go somewhere with lots going on, like Chengdu, Shanghai or Shenzhen.
Hit like if this is relatable haha.