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China travel tips from a local

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  • China travel tips from a local

    My mum recently hired and sponsered a Chinese nurse for residency in Australia, I'm off to China in March and mum asked her if she knew anything about the 'shay-o-lin' temple. The nurse lived (and her family lives) about an hour away from Dengfeng, so she wrote me up a list of travel tips for China in general but specifically Dengfeng. Many of these are commonsense, a couple I don't understand and a lot have been discussed on these forums.

    Here's the list verbatim (sic)

    1. Cold water is NOT drinkable in China

    2. Watch out your wallet and valuable things at all times

    3. Do NOT get medication from small pharmacy

    4. Do NOT buy things and use public phones around train station

    5. Remember these numbers : Police 110
    Fire 119
    Ambulance 120

    6. Do NOT trust people who asking money for help (most of them pretend as disabled, pregnant, poor and mum with little kids and elderly).

    7. Do NOT pick up the money or valable things on the road (99.99% of this scenario would be a TRICK!!!)

    8. Always bargain with shopkeepers (starts from half price )

    9. Do NOT eat fruits and vegetables without washing carefully

    10. Always get things from big supermarkets and big stores

    11. Take some pain relief patch or massage oil with you (learning kung fu is NOT easy at all)

    12. Watch out when crossing the road (the traffic rule is different from Australia and cars always not give away to pedestrians)

    Feel free to add any China tips from your own experience

  • #2
    Which ones don't you understand?

    As for the fruits, if you can't peel it, don't eat it. And beware when s shopkeeper uses a knife to lets say, cut watermelon for you. The skin is dirty, and no doubt that knife is really infected with bad bacteria; his cutting it will contaminate what you eat. Buy your own watermelon, wipe it down good, and use your own knife. Remember, the Chinese use human shit to fertilize their crops, which is one reason why they are all contaminated with H. Pylori and other things.

    READ the Helicobacter Pylori section in the main site (Shaolin / Shaolin FAQS / Health).

    Remember, the biggest cause for gastric infections in China (and Asia) is the use of chopsticks. The plastic ones tend not to be washed well, so use wooden ones. And the typical Chinese response at a dinner is for them to pick food with their chopsticks, and put it on your plate. That's how the common infection H. Pylori is spread. H. Pylori causes gastritis, and sometimes a chronic, difficult to control stomach infection. It can eventually lead to gastric cancer.

    Try to avoid places that use too much MSG. I'll write about this one day. If it tastes too salty, don't go back.

    Eat plenty of banana's. You'll need the potassium, especially if you're working out a lot.

    Again, never share chopsticks. Don't let people pick food for you. Get your own choptstics / utensils if you can. Wipe off your plates.

    Don't drink out of glasses. Drink out of the bottles.

    Use hand sanitizer, especially after shaking hands with the Chinese. They have a nasty tendency to blow their noses onto the floor, which contaminates their hands, and easily spreads colds, flu, and other types of infections.

    Make sure the seals on the water bottles are intact. It is common for kids to take used bottles from the garbage, feel them from the river, and "sell" them to various places.

    Remember, "The Chinese are Chinese". They don't give a shit about you or your health or anything about you. They want to make money and survive. It is not meant to be an insult, it is just a normal response to their history and living circumstances. It is a completely different mindset from what you are used to in the western world. And human life just doesn't have the same "value" in China, as it does in the western world. After you spend some time there, you'll understand what I mean.

    So many more things, can't think of them all. There's lots of pearls scattered throughout the site (Check the Specified Readings section, and the Shaolin FAQ areas, among other places). And of course, the forums here.

    Fortunately, there is a big supermarket in Dengfeng now (wasn't when I first went there years ago). Food there is relatively safe.

    Don't eat or drink the dairy products. Period.

    Only drink water that has been boiled. NOT water that is "hot".

    There are no restrictions on what is sold in small pharmacies. You're best at the local hospital (and NOT the TCM hospital across the street from the Feng Yuan Hotel. Unless you want to see some comical things)

    Do not trust anyone, except, for example, Decheng and his staff, (or others that I or people here might send you to). Again, The Chinese are Chinese.

    If really ill, get to the hospital in Zhengzhou; do not stay in Dengfeng.

    Be careful of the massage girls and hair salon girls. Many double as prostitutes, and AIDS rates are highest in Henan province, where you'll be.

    Be very careful when crossing the road. Cars RARELY give way to pedestrians or children. Boy, do I have a story about that.... One day.

    Begging children can be part of mafia set ups, as they are in the Philippines. They're working, not begging. Avoid any beggars, regardless of how cute they are.

    Beware beautiful women. Where ever you go. All over the world. (Especially in Thailand, they tend to be boys, LOL)

    Bring some medicines with you. OTC Pain relief stuff, Cipro, Pen VK, Bactrim and Zithromax (ask your local doctor to tell you what to use them for and prescribe them), your usual medications, and your contact lens supplies. Don't expect to find everything you need in Dengfeng.

    Make sure you have a good working ATM card from a large national or international bank, with STAR and PLUS markings; keep money in a home bank account. You'll be able to access it via ATM at Bank of China. Travelers Cheques can be a nuisance and tough to exchange. Also have a Mastercard.

    Sign up for Emergency Medical insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation insurance. If you're really sick, you need to either get back to the large non-TCM hospital near Forbidden City in Beijing, or, preferably, to Honk Kong or, better yet, Bangkok (Bumrungrad). That is, if you can't get all the way home. Get the hell out of Dengfeng and Zhengzhou if you're really, really sick.

    I'll think of more later.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)


    • #3
      By a 'couple' I mean just one, I don't understand why I shouldn't buy things or even use the public phones at the railway stations. I can only think that I would be considered more of a target at a location where there is a higher density of foreigners/people. I've not been in touch with this woman since, so I haven't had the opportunity to clarify.

      Thanks for the advice, once again very helpful


      • #4
        The train station can be a horribly busy and bustling place, where pickpockets and other undesirables might hang out looking for easy targets. She might mean that trying to fuddle with a public phone there might put you at risk for theft because you're paying attention to the phone and not your surroundings, or, she might think the phones are not secure lines. Living in a communist country I guess can be an unsettling experience; I've known some older Chinese that just won't talk about the Mao years, and the look in their eyes shows a lot of pain, but they won't admit that.

        Not sure what she meant, but I've found the train stations to be less of an annoyance and issue than dealing with the taxi drivers who inhabitit the outside of them.
        Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

        "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

        (more comments in my User Profile)


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