China Travel Tips

OK, maybe not “China Travel Tips”, but certainly “Middle of Nowhere China Travel Tips”.

Also to clarify, I’m not actually in Kunming. Altho this looks like a decent sized town/almost city, it’s all part of the steel plant so I’m officially in Kun Steel.

1. Carry toilet paper. Not because what they have in the hotels is bad or anything like that, but because for some unknown reason they like to ration it…. you get one roll per day, which sounds OK except that each one is about 10% the size of a normal roll. So if you don’t have tissues and start using toilet paper to blow your nose, you could be in trouble.

2. Carry coffee (kaffe). Coffee might be my friend, but it doesn’t seem to be that way for most Chinese. The hotel literally has NONE… not even instant packets. Luckily the corner store a few blocks down had some Nescafe pre-mix sachets, so got a box of that for the princely sum of Y7 RMB or about $1.10 AUD. Don’t understimate how important this was to me… you don’t want to know me after 2 days without coffee.

3. Drinking Pijiu (beer) is fine… drinking Baijiu (rice alcohol) is acceptable… drinking both at the same time tho, not such a good idea. Nuff said.

4. Forget about seat belts – completely. You won’t find them in the company near-new supplied Ford Transit passenger van, and definitely not in the small gray mini-vans of the local taxi fleet. Also on taxi’s – the Mandarin for mini-van is Mien bao che, which literally means “loaf of bread car”. I laugh each time I hear that one.

5. Get used to eating local. In the big cities the hotels will provide cereal and toast for breakfast, but not further out. Chinese breakfast food is very similar to lunch or dinner… rice, noodles, stir fry etc., just maybe a little less spice or chilli in it. It’s a bit odd at first, but you get used to it.

6. Don’t ever be surprised by the weirdness of things. My favorite Chinese food is steamed dumplings or Jiaodsi, which is pretty easy to recognize and order from the picture book menus that most restaurants have. I was completely stumped then to get a reply of Meiyou Jiaodsi. What do you mean you don’t have dumplings… that’s worse than a pub with no beer !!!

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