I think what I need here is a surviving guide
I have had the chance to talk with some western colleagues, apparently we share, more or less, the same difficulties.
Let be clear, if you want to take shenzhen metro, well it is a piece of cake, all indications are in chinese and english, the train are modern as the stations. Every stop is clearly described on the train (and announced in both languages) so it is a great way to travel here.
The things get differents when you need a cab.
you have to wait on the street hoping to find a free taxi running, then you try to call it somehow (being italian make me easy to work with gestures, lol). and beware of the color, not all taxi can go everywhere, so if you are a little far form the centre may be you find red and green ones. not all can drive you where you want or need.
And once you are in… welcome language barrier. trying to explain where you need to go is not easy, so better you write or print the direction, i have my hotel business card always with me, just to be sure I can show him the direction.
I have not found any cab driver able to talk in english as of now.
Alas if you plan to use your google translator here, you could have problems, golden firewall blocks google tools.
1) download an offline maps for your phone, will be useful.
2) if you plan to stay here a bit, and you want to connect using a 4g\3g network i suggest you to buy a sim in Hong Kong, there are plans without roaming from china, with 6 and more gb\month and it is outside the golden firewall, that means you can easily have all your tools working.
3) download a vpn software before being here if you plan to use a local sim or some roaming (but is so expensive, would you really like to go on roaming?)
4) if you buy a phone here, be aware that chinese android version is different, it does not run some google key engine so some apps could not work, eventually you can install a new rom (in some shops they do it for foreign people)
I am still struggling to find a decent translator. The hardest point is being able to translate written text of course. I have this issue also at work, chinese love to send communication with graphics instead plain text. Visually nice sure, but hard to deal if you are not a chinese speaker.
Food is great
I love chinese food, but you should be aware of some things:
They do not use to drink at lunch or dinner, beside some tea. And the water is usually warm, a sort of very light lemonade i think. if you want cold water or even cold beer you should ask for it. Do not give for granted that they bring cold beer if you ask one.
And do not give for granted the have cold drinks at all.
As in hotel even if they have a fridge it is probably empty and disconnected.
(now mine has some bottles of water and a beer, lol)
Food is generally cheap here and of good quality, if you plan to eat western style you have to spend a little more, but usually you can eat under 200 yuan.
Well I cannot guarantee for the quality of western food, i tried Pizza Hut and I was quite disappointed. But I have seen also a lot of KFC here and some Starbucks. I have had coffee at starbucks and was good, but not sure it was because of quality or because I were missing coffee so much
You should also be aware that chinese way at restaurants is different:
restaurants are usually loud, people talk normally.
Chinese food is shared, they bring you several different things, and all people take with the chopsticks. they usually leave bones and stuffs on table, spitting directly on the table. You have to be used to this, can be a little strange at the beginning.
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Pavia – Shenzhen 4:I think what I need here is a surviving guide was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine