When you went to the zoo as a kid, which animals were you most excited to see? Monkeys? Lions? How about dogs? Or a pig? If you visit the small zoo attached to the Guanlan Mountain & Lake Garden Farm in Shenzhen, China, you won’t find the first two, but you’ll find plenty of dogs, […]
The Flooded Streets of Shenzhen
It rains a lot in southern China. Most of that rain falls during the monsoon season from April to September. This can be a little annoying if you’re traveling around China during the summer and you enjoy doing anything other than sitting in your hotel room. It can also wreak havoc on transportation in rural […]
Snacking on Scorpions in Beijing
The Chinese are famous for eating everything. Name an animal and I guarantee there’s a restaurant that serves it; name any part of that animal and they’ll have a dish featuring it. To be fair, mostly this stereotype applies to the south. There’s even a saying among the Chinese that people in Guangdong province “eat […]
I Love Chinese Repairmen!
When you live in a Chinese apartment, something will stop working. Actually, most things will stop working. The majority can be fixed using duct tape, paper clips, newspapers, rubber bands, chewing gum and/or various other items laying around the house. Occasionally none of those will work and you have to call a repairman. That’s when […]
How Long Does It Really Take To Pick Ten Lychees?
I’ve been on a number of sightseeing tours in China and they all had one thing in common: they were bad. Often very, very bad (like this one in Xi’an). Despite that, I enjoyed most of them. Having the right people on the tour helps, but the most important factor is attitude. If you go […]
Sweating Away at Shenzhen’s Meilin Reservoir
Summers in China are horrible. They’re hot and humid and anyone who sets foot outside is instantly soaked in sweat. When I lived in Shanghai, I escaped to Kashgar in the far west of China for the summer. The temperatures are even higher there, but the complete lack of moisture makes life much more pleasant. […]
How I Enjoyed a Terrible Terracotta Warrior Tour in Xi’an
Most group tours are a waste of time and money. Tour guides drag you from one shop, often thinly disguised as a tourist attraction, to another, with a quick stop or two at an actual attraction in between. On full-day tours, they feed you lunch at an overpriced restaurant and when the day is over, […]
No Foreigners Allowed in These Parts
They say that getting there is half the battle, but that was not often the case in China. Don’t get me wrong, getting anywhere in China is rarely easy—take my two attempts to make my way west to Sichuan province while I was living in Shanghai; once foiled by a snowstorm and once by an […]
The Hassle of Finding a Hotel in Rural China
I enjoy traveling in China overall, but that enjoyment does not generally extend to the accommodation search outside of popular destinations. Only hotels with the proper license are allowed to accept foreign guests and the Chinese government does not seem to hand out many of those licenses in less visited destinations. In many small towns […]
Don’t Let China Into Your Home!
The concepts of manners and personal hygiene are viewed very differently in China. In my two years in the country, I saw people clipping their toenails at their restaurant table, grown men defecating by the side of the road, a pretty violent brawl between two old men on a bus and virtually everybody smoking everywhere […]
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