– Minorities can have two children. Countryside Chinese are allowed to have two children if your first child is a girl. They must wait four years and then pay around 50,000 yuan for permission to have a second child.
– Almost everyone in China believes all Americans are rich. A bus driver came over to Guide Tony while we were eating, amazed that Americans were eating in a local restaurant. He asked, “Is it true all Americans are as rich as Bill Gates?” I wish…. and, I’m not kidding! We have an image of either “Ugly Americans” or “Rich Americans” thanks to television and movies. Protesting does no good. This is what they see on the Silver Screen and it is impossible to change their minds.
– ATM carda won’t work in the less-touristy regions of China.
– During the disasterous Yushu earthquake in the Kham area of China, 85% of Jiagu’s homes were destroyed. What happened to my little Yushu hat seller? The temples? Small restaurants that we slurped noodle soup in the morning and ate steamed buns? There is no information at all on what happened to the people.
– Zhangjiajie. There is another national park 8km/5 miles away from Zhangjiajie. Tianmen Mountain has 8-person gondolas that ascend right from town. The Tianmen Mountain Cableway is the longest one-way cableway in the world, takes 45 minutes, and has a height gap of 1,000 meters. That’s a whopping 3,000 feet off the ground!
– Zhangjiajie was once was extremely poor but tourism has transformed it. James Cameron’s Avatar certainly helped. His crew spent anywhere from one week to 10 days in 2008 (depending upon who you talk to) shooting background for the movie in the park. The 5,000 population that swells to 15,000 in peak season, April through October.
– Xiamen. Typhoon season runs from June to September. The island of Taiwan buffers Xiamen and takes most of the brunt. Xiamen is the 4th most popular city for Chinese tourists.
– Nanjing has a population of 9 million people. We asked Guide Maggie to guess how many cities in China have a population of over 3 million and her guestimate was 23 cities. According to Wikipedia, there are 10 cities with a population of over 3 million people.
– If you are looking for a big grocery store in China, Suguo Bi is the place to look for. They resemble Walmart, Target with household goods, and groceries.
– Those little mini-temples all over the villages in Southeast China are Earth God Shrines. It is too difficult for remote villagers to visi bigger temples so they build small Earth God shrines in every village to pray to.
– Announcements are made inside immaculate subway cars in both Chinese and English plus there are maps showing all the stops on both sides of every train car. Simple, easy and efficient.
– Chinese tour guides usually take an English name. In my thinking there are two possible reasons: 1. They think we’re too stupid to remember and pronounce their name; and 2. They can’t stand hearing us mispronounce their name.
– Airplanes. It is still usual to take a 55-minute, economy flight in China where flight attendants distribute wet towels, serve complimentary drinks and snacks! Still on the subject of flying within China, prepare to have a nervous breakdown in any of their airports. Announcements for each and every flight is repeated over and over in Chinese and English in a non-ending loop. Argghhh…
– Trains. Tickets show train number, compartment and seat numbers on them. Everything else is in Chinese. To leave the train station, you must show your tickets once more. Do not throw them out!
Enjoy your trip to China!