:3 Ni hao
😛 ça vais bien?
🙂 Xin Chào
Hehe That is all four languages I know for now. A little background about my four languages hihi.
I was born in Viet Nam-> it makes my first language is Vietnamese.
As I was about 5 years old, my mom and some relatives forced me to study French.
Even I don’t like French much, but the fact I have been followed the French language for 15 years is unchangeable! (now it’s dusty haha Pardon! :P)
And then 2013, as the situation urgency, I crossed studying English. The purpose was for my immigration to Seattle. It’s a long-life wish of my maternal grandfather.
Fast forward until last year, I grew some interesting with Chinese Mandarin haha I self-studied a few months in the past year before focusing on another life aspect.
Back to this blog, I am still excited when I write this post and share my “hard experience” for my FIRST SOLO TRIP EVER in my life. And my destination is China, Zheng Zhou city.
It’s not a fun trip to you, but to me, it has much values for my personal grow XD And do you know why I write this blog?
😀 Do you know we are in the Gemini month?-> The main concept about Gemini is about learning and communication. And one more common trait with all Gemini is talking about the “up to date” personal issues, no matter what aspects haha-> I just copy that Gemini trait 🙂
Before traveling to China, You need a Chinese VISA (in most case)
Before my leaving, I had to apply for a Chinese Visa L type. L type means for travel seeing and leisure. (if you want to know more about which type Chinese Visa you need, Chinese Embassy is the destination) I had been prepared the Chinese Visa since April 2019. At the time, I planned I would fly to China around April 17th and come back on the following Monday.
However, my plan was crashed because of my cold and flu… *sigh* It took around one month for me to recover from the cold and flu. I was angry because I could not fly anywhere. If I flew with a cold/flu, it might spread the virus to other passengers, the flight crew. More seriously, the USA’s custom might not allow me to depart from SEATAC International Airport.
And then in May, our US has one national holiday – Memorial Day. I took a little advantage and decided to fly to China, even it was a short trip.
I left SEATAC International Airport around 12:45 PM in the afternoon-> flew to Shenzhen Airport… It was a long trip with more than 14 hours staying the aircraft. I had 2 hours 30 minutes for transit into the domestic.
From Shenzhen, I flew more to Xiamen Airport-> here, I had almost 11 hours long for connecting to the next flight…Next, I flew from Xiamen to my destination: Zheng Zhou city.
Basic, it costed me around 30 hours for flying from Seattle to Zheng Zhou city. (well, I’m economy class 🙂 so I don’t have much choices about flights )
Normal Chinese people can’t handle you haha
That was the original translation from a tourism guide. He was a native Chinese. Of course, he didn’t speak English. We had to use the translator for communication.
Yup, it crosses your mind at first, but it has a little problem. When you are outside the USA territory, your mobile phone network can’t reach you unless you purchase a “roaming international package”.
For me, I don’t use that option, and my choice is the local SIM card and the free wifi from airport. -> it has the disadvantage…. You can not leave the airport without a local SIM card issued internet.
After translating back and forth more than one hour long, the tour guide right inside the Zheng Zhou Airport can help me to activate the internet on one local SIM card. (Reminder: this SIM card has only one purpose: provide you a Chinanet on your mobile phone. It means you need to unlock your phone before the trip if you choose the option like me)
Next, he asked about the hotel. He suggested some 5-stars Hotels near the Zheng Zhou Airport because his company had contracts with those hotels. I refused to use his services because he offered the highest price…
As I was about to leave the airport, he let me know one fact: Not every single hotels accept a foreigner.
It’s true because I am the witness…and it costs me some because I don’t believe in him…
After leaving the Zheng Zhou Airport with the Chinanet on my phone, I headed to ground transportation and was planning to go to the local hotel that I chose before the trip. (the Booking website said it has an error when I book a room online)
As soon as I entered that local hotel, the receptionist made me feel dizzy because that person said the hotel doesn’t accept a foreigner.
*sigh* I sent a pm the tour guide in Zheng Zhou airport and asked why. He replied the hotel needs to have a special permit from Government in order take a foreigner as a guest!!!
That is one more ugly truth…
I didn’t know about this fact before the trip. Perhaps, I didn’t google enough about accommodation in China…
Before traveling to China, You need to know about Chinanet
What is the special about Chinanet you need to know?
- Chinanet = China + Internet
- It means the internet you have in China is very SLOW!
- Chinanet allows you to open Chinese websites ONLY!
- Chinanet has the Invisible and Invincible Great Firewall to back up!
- It’s China Great Firewall makes the internal internet so slow!
- It’s China Great Firewall blocks almost external Western signal and all products from Google!
Realistic solution: get VPN before travel China if you want to use Google products and services. I am serious!
My situation: I use the Express VPN before and during the time I stay in Zheng Zhou.
A foreigner is treated in many “unique ways”
Actually…. I was treated in some negative ways because I’m a foreigner in China… IT was a hard lesson….
As you can see with my picture above, my Vietnamese race makes my outlook very similar to native Chinese people. Without saying a word, Chinese people assume I’m one of them. -> it leads to one problem: the language barrier.
I don’t know much about the Chinese Mandarin language. Before the trip, I self-educated a little bit. With one referred software from the public library, I had learned less than 100 Chinese Pinyin. (By the way, Pinyin is the core pronunciation of Chinese Mandarin.)
With less than 100 pinyin (most of words are travel-relating), I was over-confidence.
It costed me some because of that.
If my first sentence is saying ” Duìbùqǐ, wǒ bùshì zhōngguó rén. “, the Chinese listener will shout their Chinese Mandarin with the normal speed. They REALLY don’t care you understand or not. They just care about their business and how they manage to make some profits from a foreigner.
Honestly, it also is common situation in my home country Viet Nam. Vietnamese people usually over-charge the price to all tourists. That is one of many reasons international tourists don’t come back to Viet Nam the second time. And I find somewhere in China has the similar.
(Last) Language barrier
When you decide to have an international trip, Language is the most essential thing. With 7 billion people in our Earth (and still growing seconds by seconds), the top 10 most spoken languages order has changed in this year 2019:
It totally depends on the population which speaks that language. It’s obviously Chinese and Hindi are in the top 5 because each country has more than 1 billion people.
For me, I am on the way to learning Chinese Mandarin after French and English. I don’t just say. I make a plan and also do some actions.
One destination of my China trip is Zheng Zhou University. It’s simple because Zheng Zhou University is the best University in the city. I go there and ask about my study application(of course, the best way to study Chinese Mandarin is right in China). At that day, the admission said it’s not my turn to take a look at my application yet-> it means I do the unnecessary thing and waste “some times” because of my impatience!
My first solo trip to China is not so good. It has more problems than my original plan, but the trip helps me to learn many things. It is the first time at all. Nobody perfect for the first time. The point: will you learn from it and improve for the next trip?
How about you? Where was your first solo trip? When did it happen? What was your destination back then? Who did you travel with? Can you share why did you choose the destination for your first solo trip?