More Translations

NUMBERS:

One
èr, Two
sān, Three
Four
Five
liù Six
Seven
Eight
jiǔ Nine
shí Ten
一百 yībǎi One hundred
一千 yīqiān One thousand

FRUIT:

西红柿 xīhóngshì tomato
草莓 cǎoméi strawberry
菠萝 bōluó pineapple
pear
橙子 gānjú orange
西瓜 xīguā watermelon
苹果 píngguǒ apple
香蕉 xiāngjiāo banana
椰子 yēzi coconut
黄瓜 huángguā cucumber
火龙果 huǒlóngguǒ dragon fruit
葡萄 pútaó grape
柠檬 níngméng lemon
芒果 mángguǒ mango
荔枝 Lìzhī lychee
柚子 yóuzǐ pomelo
莲雾 liánwù wax apples
山竹 shānzhúguǒ mangosteen

VEGETABLES:

cōng scallion / green onion
红萝卜 hóng luó bó carrot
jiāng ginger
卷心菜 juǎn xīn cài cabbage
辣椒 là jiāo hot pepper
土豆 tǔdòu potato
茄子 qié zi eggplant
生菜 shēng cài lettuce
洋葱 yáng cōng onion
玉米 yù mǐ corn

ESSENTIAL WORDS AND PHRASES:

你好 Nǐ hǎo Hello
你好吗? Nǐ hǎo ma? How are you?
Hǎo good
谢谢 Xièxiè Thank you
对不起 Duìbùqǐ I am sorry
这是什么? Zhè shì shénme? What is this?
多少钱? Duōshǎo qián? How much is it?
厕所 Cèsuǒ Bathroom

CALENDAR:

礼拜一 Lǐbài yī Monday
礼拜二 Lǐbài èr Tuesday
礼拜三 Lǐbài sān Wednesday
礼拜四 Lǐbài sì Thursday
礼拜五 Lǐbài wǔ Friday
礼拜六 Lǐbài liù Saturday
礼拜天 Lǐbài tiān Sunday
Tiān Day
Zhōu Week
Yuè Month
Nián Year

Here’s the PDF version.

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The Beds

This is fairly simple, Chinese beds are hard as bricks. I’m not exaggerating, most of them are simple wooden frames with a sheet over the top. The sheet obviously doesn’t add any padding. I think it’s there to keep the owner from getting splinters in their sleep 😜.

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This bed, for example, is advertised as a “soft wood” bed.

A lot of people in China use Taobao (kind of like Amazon) to buy foam pads if they’re staying in China for an extended period of time. The prices vary between $20-$60 depending on the thickness and quality of the foam. You won’t have to worry about the hard beds if you’re staying in hotels and hostels. They usually spring for soft mattresses. Hard experience has taught me that belly flopping onto a bed at the end of a long day is not a great idea. Be careful!

 

Help with Menus

One of the most daunting parts of traveling to a place where you don’t speak the language is finding good to eat. Chinese food is amazing and delicious, but sometimes playing what I like to call “menu roulette” just doesn’t sounds appealing.

Menu roulette is not for the faint of heart. You sit down in a restaurant, the waitress gives you the menu, you close your eyes, and point to something. Within 10 minutes you’ll find out what you’ve ordered. One time I accidentally ordered a whole tray of cucumbers and garlic, which turned out to be delicious. Another time we ordered chicken soup that contained a whole chicken, which took some getting used to, but was still good. Give it a whirl when you’re feeling adventurous.

I’ve made a little translated menu just in case you’re not feeling adventurous. Of course, not all restaurants will have everything on this menu, but it won’t hurt to ask. This is a PDF version of the menu below. All the dishes listed are commonly eaten so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding them. Try your best to pronounce the pinyin, but if worst comes to worst, you can show the characters to the waitress😜. I hope it helps!

Chinese PinYin English
Traditional Dishes:
西红柿炒鸡蛋加饭 Xīhóngshì chǎo jīdàn fàn Eggs & tomatoes on rice
宫保鸡丁 Gōng bǎo jī dīng Kung pao chicken
糖醋里脊 Táng cù lǐjí Sweet and Sour Pork
北京烤鸭 Běijīng kǎoyā Peiking Roasted Duck
回锅肉 Huíguōròu Pork and cabbage
葱油饼 Cōngyóubǐng Scallion pancakes
Zhōu Chinese rice porridge
炒饭加鸡蛋 Chǎofàn jiā jīdàn Fried rice with eggs
炒面加鸡肉 Chǎomiàn jiā jīròu Chicken fried noodles
茄子加饭 Qié zǐ jiā fàn Eggplant and rice
牛肉面 Niúròu miàn Beef noodles
牛肉面汤 Niúròu miàntāng Beef noodle soup
魚香肉絲 Yú xiāng ròu sī Pork/vegetables in sauce
辣子鸡 Làzǐ jī Chicken w/ spicy peppers
炒面 Chǎomiàn Stir-fried noodles
炸酱面 Zhájiàngmiàn Noodles in sweet sauce
拉面 Lāmiàn Pulled noodles
臭豆腐 Chòu dòufu Stinky tofu
Dumpling Varieties:
包子 Bāozǐ Steamed buns
锅贴 Guōtiē Fried dumplings
馒头 Mántóu Steamed bread
小笼包 Xiǎolóngbāo Soup dumplings
生煎包 Shēng jiān bāo Boiled wantons
Specialty Foods:
粽子 Zòngzǐ Rice in a bamboo wrap
油墩子 Yóu dūnzi Shanghai radish fritters
豆花 Dòuhuā Soy bean pudding
火锅 Huǒguō Hot pot
Meats:
鸡肉 Jīròu Chicken
猪肉 Zhūròu Pork
牛肉 Niúròu Beef
烤肉 Kǎoròu Barbecue

 

Go Get Your Hair Washed!

In America, it’s not super common to go to the salon for the sole purpose of having your hair washed, dried, and styled. However, in China, many women do it weekly. There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but the most prominent is that many traditional homes still do not have full showers. If they do have full showers, it is likely the home-owners still shower out of a bucket. You should know that there are a lot of what Westerners would consider weird thoughts about water. Drinking cold water is terrible for you, it is especially bad for female health. They also firmly believe that getting completely soaked by water is just asking for a cold or flu. And most people don’t own hair dryers. Therefore, hair washing is done mostly in the salons.

Here’s how it will go down: you walk into a salon and ask them to wash your hair. Saying xi1 tou3  (phonetically, she toe)  or 洗头will do the trick. They’ll take you to the back of the salon and have you sit in a reclining chair and lean you back over a sink. You can expect a couple questions like, “is the water hot enough?” “do you like the pressure?” After a great massage, they’ll take you back into the salon to blow dry and style your hair. They can do pretty much any style you want. Just show them a picture to work from.

Get this, it’s usually only like 10-20 元, like $2! Going to the salon is a great way to make new friends and get into the local culture.

Bathrooms. Caution, real talk ahead

You might notice some striking details about the pictures above. First, they’re obviously squatters. Second, there aren’t any doors. Chinese people are not phased in the slightest about natural body functions in public. They might look at you oddly, but that’s just because you’re a tourist. Your shyness will decrease with time and will wear off eventually.

I am so excited to talk about this. China is one of many countries which still use squatting toilets or “squatters”. Most tourists would rather die than use one, but to be honest, squatting is going to be your only option in most areas. Just give in to the squatters, they’ll grow on you eventually. Having spent a few years in China I can tell you I would use a squatter over a western toilet 10 out of 10 times. Not to get graphic, but with squatters your bum won’t touch anything anyone else’s bum has touched…

The real question is, how in the world do you use one? I was inspired by this picture I saw on the internet a few years ago:FOREIGN201603210903000075472179452This kid is nailing the “asian squat”. I would suggest studying it before your travels.

Then after you’ve perfected the squat all you have to do is keep your pants out of the line of fire. That’s probably the most common mistake tourists make whilst using the squatters. With some practice, I’m confident you’ll be fine. This is a direct quote from a friend who spent 6 months teaching English in China, “I was terrified of pooping on my panties, but it never happened.” See? Practice makes perfect.

A lot of people actually think squatting is better for your body. I’m not going to get into all that. You’ll be able to make a decision for yourself soon enough!

Internet and VPNs

You might have heard of the Great Fire Wall of China. In a nutshell, in 2010 China began censoring their internet very heavily. The Chinese political party reserves the right to block anything they find dangerous to national security, inappropriate in any way, critical of the Chinese government, or destructive to China’s reputation; the definition these terms have yet to be given, so they could be used as an excuse to block pretty much anything at any time. For instance, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, iTunes, YouTube, blogs, and all things Google are inaccessible.

Now here’s where things get interesting. You can probably live without social media if you’re only going to be in China for a couple weeks or if you’re cool and want to do a social media cleanse. However, if you’re there for an extended period of time, it’s nice to have the capability of keeping up with events in the U.S. Therefore, VPNs.

Webopedia explains VPN’s way better than I ever could. They say “A VPN secures the private network, using encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and that the data cannot be intercepted.”

Basically, you can download software on your devices that will allow you to circumvent  censorship. Most VPNs come as a monthly or yearly subscription. The prices and efficiency vary widely from service to service. If you want to get a VPN you should do research to ensure that particular service will be effective in China and to how many devices the software can be downloaded. A lot of VPN providers would be effective in many countries, but China is exceptionally diligent on their censoring.

Here are a few VPNs that have worked for me:

Most of these VPNs can be refunded within a week or so of purchase. I would suggest downloading from various providers and then cancelling the ones that don’t work. They’ve always been good about refunding my money within a week.

A word of warning. Don’t be scrolling through Facebook or Instagram while in public. It’s just asking for trouble, you’re not going to get arrested, but something interesting happens when people are placed under such heavy restrictions; they begin to restrict themselves in anticipation of consequences. Meaning, the common Chinese people don’t want to be seen with someone breaking the rules. Just be respectful no matter what you choose to do.