5 Nuggets of Advice From China
A regular reader by the name of Belle shared some excellent advice in a post about 3 things to know before coming to China. Below is her advice, formatted with titles and a few additional comments:
1. Chinese Supermarkets Often Have Many (sometimes hard to find) Floors
I wish that I had fully realized that contrary to the USA, where they tend to build outâ€¦the Chinese more often (and i believe it to be a smarter way to go) build up and down. But the existence of the up and down isnâ€™t always obvious. If you go into a supermarket, be aware that there is probably more than one floor. Donâ€™t make the mistake of going to a market to buy things like sheets, slippers, towels, etcâ€¦.not seeing any on the first floor, and paying too much by buying these things from one of the â€œstandsâ€ on the first floor. Look everywhere for an escalator first. Donâ€™t be afraid to explore to really find out all of your options. (Of course, maybe this is only true of large citiesâ€¦if you are in a small town, this may be total BS for you)
This is completely true – and applies to shopping for many things – including trinkets and gifts on the street. Never buy something in China from the first shop selling it.
2. You Will Be Stared At
If you are severely self-conscious, China may not be for you. You WILL be stared at. You could be in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhouâ€¦being obviously foreign even city-folk may stare at you. It is nice to know that it is completely common to carry an umbrella even when the sun is shining (helps protect your skinâ€¦man and woman alike). I have found that on days when I do not want to feel all of the eyes on me, I can hid behind my umbrella. Yes, they still stareâ€¦but I donâ€™t notice it as much.
Even in Shanghai you get stared at. But Hong Kong is pretty light on the staring… It can be nice to do people watching there (like back home), because very few are watching back.
3. Don’t Drink the Tap Water
DO NOT drink the tap waterâ€¦but it is okay to brush your teeth with. Donâ€™t end up wasting water you buy to brush your teeth with. And if it is an option at allâ€¦get a water cooler and have water delivered to your house. Beats feeling wasteful buying bottle and jug after bottle and jug and creating so much waste from it.
Try to go for name brand water delivered to your home – Nestle probably is one of the safer brands to rely on. If you drink the water you will very likely get very sick.
4. Jeans and Shoes are too Small
If you are female and larger than a size 6-8 US (or if you simply have hips)â€¦do not count on being able to find jeans here that fit you. Same goes for US womenâ€™s shoe sizes above a 7.5â€¦ good luck finding shoes you like in your size. Maybe it can be doneâ€¦but after more than a year in large city, I have yet to find these things. Either spend the extra money and buy a couple of pairs of each before you comeâ€¦or make sure that you can have them shipped if you are going to be here long enough for what you bring to get worn out.
This is true for guys too, but to a smaller extent. Jeans from most Chinese stores just don’t fit right (mostly because there’s no room for bigger quads / hams), and you can only find international brand or fake brand shoes above a certain size… but that’s usually enough, unless you are trying to go local.
5. Female Hygiene Advice for China
While I don’t mean to make any males uncomfortable, if you are female and like me, do not enjoy the feel of diaper-like padsâ€¦get ready to only have access to O.B. tamponsâ€¦and I do mean the kind without an applicator. Though here, the brand is cool enough to include plastic finger-covers. So either get used to the idea of using your fingerâ€¦or using pads.
Yeah… nothing to add there. Except that most Chinese girls have never used a tampon.
🙂 Thank you for the useful advice, Belle.