Why You Should Travel to China

In episode #3 we’re traveling to China and sharing all our tips and experiences so you can too!

We took a 10-day guided tour with Gate1 Travel to China visiting three vacation spots in China: Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai

China is such an interesting place! In this episode we talk about what you need to do to get a vista to travel to China from USA, why a guided tour through China is the best way to experience the country, tips for travel to China, and bust the myths that the food is bad. The Chinese food is REALLY good!

A vacation in China was not high up on our list, but when a great sale comes in, you follow the savings and explore a new country. And we’re so glad we did! On this China vacation we saw The Great Wall of China, Terracotta Soldiers, Imperial Palace, Shanghai Bazaar, and pandas at the Beijing Zoo. We also danced in the park with locals, had a traditional duck dinner, has a 17-piece dumpling dinner, and a saw very interesting Chinese acrobat show. It was a jam packed episode!

China travel is not scary! Yes, there are language barriers and you will experiences quirks and differences – like squatty potties – but you will love it! And this travel guide to China will help ease any worries you have and get you so excited for your China vacation!

China Travel Resources:

Gate1 Travel – The tour company we used for this trip, we highly recommend their China vacation packages!

ExpressVPN – The VPN company we used to access Google and social media in China

Travel to China Podcast Episode Transcript

3 (55s):
Hello everybody. And welcome to episode three of the Travel Squad Podcast, China,

4 (1m 2s):
China,

2 (1m 5s):
China.

1 (1m 7s):
We took a 10 day trip to China as a Travel Squad, and we learned so much about the country, the people and the Chinese history.

4 (1m 15s):
So one of the questions that we got asked when we told people we were going to China is why are you going to China? Wasn’t that a question that you had for the whole group again, when we told you that was next on the get go.

3 (1m 28s):
Why China,

5 (1m 29s):
China, all the time,

4 (1m 31s):
You know, and I’ll admit, you know, China wasn’t necessarily high on my list of must do travel locations. But the reason why we went was simply for two reasons, as China was more specifically my location that I picked, even though it’s not high up on my list. One of the main reasons why was we found a guided tour that was really, really inexpensive included flights, hotels, transportation, within China, all for a reasonable price. And on top of that, we also went to Shanghai and in Shanghai, we had a free day and Shanghai has the newest Disney park to open Shanghai Disney.

4 (2m 16s):
And so since it’s one of Brittany denies bucket list, things to do to go to all Disney parks, the combination of the fact that it was an inexpensive trip and it went to a place where there’s a Disney park for me to go to definitely made this one actually happened. I think I speak for all of us when we were thinking, well, China’s not high on the list, but we all love China, right?

3 (2m 40s):
Oh, I love China now. But when you guys were throwing that out there, I was like, why would I want to go to China? I have never even thought about China and I’m not a Disney person, but as I do with most trips just jumped on because it’s a place in the world. And I want to see all of the places in the, and definitely, definitely, I’m so glad that I went.

4 (3m 3s):
Did anyone ask you Zena or Brittany, why you guys were going to China?

2 (3m 7s):
I think it’s just not super high on people’s travel lists. So it’s more of curiosity of why would you choose China over someplace that is more popular? I think I probably had that thought too, but I just don’t like being left out and, you know, regardless it’s another stamp in the passport and, you

4 (3m 25s):
Know, action for you.

2 (3m 26s):
Exactly. Some major FOMO, but also I know that we’re going to be going to the great wall. And if anything, like, I want to see the great wall. So shit, you guys let’s go to China. We’re going to China.

3 (3m 37s):
Great wall definitely sold me.

1 (3m 39s):
I think when people think of China, they think about how English, isn’t a prevalent language in that country. And so it may be difficult. And I think that really just intimidates people. So when I was telling my coworkers that I was going to China, they were like, why China and I? My, my response is always why

4 (3m 55s):
Not.

2 (3m 56s):
Exactly. Yeah.

3 (3m 58s):
We also heard a lot of warnings about China in terms of like the food. The food’s not like what you’d expect in the us or the food’s not good. I don’t know if we are going to talk about this on, on the podcast, but I want to say the food is amazing.

4 (4m 14s):
We’ll definitely talk about the food because I don’t know what everyone was talking about. Who has been to China and said it wasn’t as good as you have it here. I’m, I’m longing to go back simply for the food. It was so good.

2 (4m 26s):
I want to go back for that plate that they served. You have sweet and sour pork. I don’t know what the other option was when we had lunch that day, but I chose wrong. The other thing is this trip was coming off the heels of Machu Picchu. And I did not take any snacks to Peru and everyone else did, and I regretted not taking snacks. And then someone told me that makes sure you take snacks to China because you might not like the food there. So I took a shitload of snacks and I didn’t need any of it because the food was so good. You really

1 (4m 57s):
Liked that Peking duck dinner, didn’t you vena? Oh

2 (4m 59s):
My goodness.

4 (4m 60s):
We’ll get into a little bit of that more later, I guess. Right.

2 (5m 3s):
More duck in my life. And I probably won’t again. So China is very unique and it really makes you feel like a celebrity because everyone wants to take your picture. Maybe it’s just for the fact that maybe a lot of Americans don’t go to China, but really people were treating us like celebrities and they were constantly grabbing us and taking pictures with us. I remember at one point someone grabbed him, Jamal and I to take our picture and the guy was wearing a San Diego t-shirt and we got super excited and we’re like, oh, we’re from San Diego. And I have no idea if he really understood what we were talking about. He was just so excited to get his picture with us.

4 (5m 43s):
Yeah. I just think when they see, you know, westerns visiting their country, it’s exciting to them because China’s, you know, up and coming as having a lot more tourists now than ever before, but still a lot of people seen that it’s really unique. So they want to take your photos. I mean, it happens so many times to all of us, but more particularly, you know, Kim Britain, they like him with the girls, not so much the guys,

3 (6m 8s):
There was one part where me and Brittany were just standing around and these guys came up to us to ask, to take our picture. And we’re like, okay, you know, it’s the millionth person that’s asked. And we’re like, well, can we take a picture with you? And so we have pictures with them too.

2 (6m 22s):
Yeah. Or even there were times where we were sitting in the group and our tour guide was talking to us and you know, of course we’re outside, we’re in a public area. People are passing us and people would come up and start taking pictures, filming us while we’re sitting there as a group. This means to our tour guide. And you just sometimes wonder like, oh my goodness, there are so many pictures of me out there. What are they doing with them?

1 (6m 43s):
So actually I kind of got frustrated with that by the end of the two war. And so there was one day where this lady just kept taking, kept taking our photo, just keep taking our photo. And she kept going up to the group, interrupting us. And so when we passed her again, I got out my camera and I just took a whole bunch of photos of her.

2 (7m 1s):
Yeah. But you know,

4 (7m 3s):
She was extra aggressive than most people, other people would like ask. She literally not even just coming up to Brittany would interrupt our tour with everybody else and just get kind of in the whole mix of things. And that one was obnoxious, but very, very rare. Everyone else is usually polite. Sorry.

1 (7m 19s):
Very nice. It wasn’t a fun experience because we would have photos with these random strangers too.

2 (7m 25s):
Yeah.

1 (7m 25s):
So in this episode, we’re going to talk about why go on a guided tour, the cities we visited and answer listener questions of the week.

4 (7m 33s):
One of the reasons that we decided to do a guided tour was simply because one, we saw it on sale. Like sometimes our destinations are dictated by the sales, but on top of it. But on top of that, I feel like China is a country that is a must do in a guided tour situation. For several reasons. One of them being that I’ve already touched on cost effective. We chose a tour that included our flights, hotels, all our tours within country. They did have some optional ones that you can pay to upgrade to. But within every city there was your tour included

1 (8m 13s):
Gate one

4 (8m 14s):
Gate, one Travel.

2 (8m 17s):
This was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with gate one adventures.

3 (8m 21s):
This is not sponsored gate one. I wish they were sponsoring us, but they’re not. We just love them there. They’re so good. The service is amazing. They picked us up at the airport with a sign, all of our transportation. He made sure we were up at a certain time. He made sure we had our passports when we needed them.

4 (8m 40s):
We forgot their passports. One time, I think that was giving Zan

3 (8m 46s):
And they would order our food, make sure we got the best food, which is probably why we enjoyed what we ate so much and gave us along with the tours, all of our history lessons, it was just red carpet service there. And we love them.

2 (8m 57s):
Yeah. One of the things though, when you’re going through a tour company, they do in order to get those cost-effective rates, they do fly you out of a big airport. We’re here in San Diego and we had to drive two hours north to lax in Los Angeles and fly out of there.

3 (9m 12s):
We also had to stop about 40 times. So Brittany could P

1 (9m 16s):
I have like the smallest bladder ever.

4 (9m 19s):
I don’t, I, I watched you from the moment we got up, Brittany, I don’t know where all that liquid in your body came from. He literally drank one cup of coffee, maybe a glass of water. And we had to stop 40 times.

2 (9m 29s):
That’s okay. We made our flight, we made it to the airport and we were good.

4 (9m 34s):
Yeah. And I think Brittany touched on this earlier when she said, you know, obviously if you don’t know Chinese or any other language for what other country you’re meeting, but realistically Chinese is a difficult language. And if you have no elementary foundation for it, the guided tour is clutch for that aspect of things. You have your tour guide. He knows English. Clearly he’s a native. He knows Chinese, and you don’t have to do any ordering of food. Nothing. When you try to check into the hotels, you don’t have to worry about transportation. So it’s just kind of show up and you don’t have to feel one bit of uncomfort, you know, being in a foreign land and not knowing anything about the language, especially in China, I feel like more so than

1 (10m 20s):
Our tour guide was with us, our entire duration of our trip, which was really nice because you just have a consistent person. But when we went to different cities, we also got local guides that knew that particular city, which was really helpful to navigate that one particular city. But like I said, your one major guide goes with you for the entire trip duration. And so you build a relationship with them as well. And it’s just very helpful when you’re trying to order beer. For example, we all wanted to order a cold beer.

3 (10m 49s):
How do you say beer in Chinese Mandarin

2 (10m 53s):
Being

4 (10m 54s):
PGO I want a cold

3 (10m 56s):
That’s cold beer.

2 (10m 58s):
Oh, so what are we can Joe? Oh, I wouldn’t have gotten that.

3 (11m 2s):
PGO

4 (11m 3s):
Vizio PGO

3 (11m 5s):
Being is cold.

4 (11m 6s):
Yeah. Okay. I thought being PGO was I want a cold beer, but no, that’s just cool. But we knew the basics.

3 (11m 16s):
So without this guided tour, I don’t think I would have even gone to China because people don’t speak English there. All the signs are in Chinese. There’s no way we would have, we wouldn’t have been able to get around as easily and member the first day where we had to order food on our own, how lost we were with the menu we ordered.

1 (11m 36s):
And we weren’t that satisfied when we order,

3 (11m 39s):
We ordered something that we thought was like medium spicy. And it was the hottest thing in the world. We couldn’t even

4 (11m 45s):
Finish it.

2 (11m 47s):
Maybe a little bit of context. You know, we’re flying in from lax. We land in Beijing and at this, I think what we’re landing at 3:00 PM. We’re super hungry. We want to eat. We get to the hotel after they pick us up. It’s it’s a hour long drive to, from the

4 (12m 4s):
Trip from the airport to the

2 (12m 6s):
Hotel. And Jamal makes the comment that, Hey guys, I think I just saw seven 11 around the corner from the hotel. And no one believed Jamal because it felt like we were walking forever. And everyone was like, Jamal, what are you talking about? Where is this seven 11 that you speak of?

4 (12m 21s):
It was several blocks. I thought it was closer. It was several blocks.

2 (12m 25s):
So we were able to stock up on water. That was good. And then we decided, you know, obviously we’re hungry and we need to eat something. And so we went to this restaurant and it was just

4 (12m 35s):
Right next door to the hotel.

2 (12m 36s):
It was mind boggling because we just, everything is in Chinese. We have no idea what we’re ordering. And basically like what Kim said. I mean, we thought we ordered something with medium spice and it was, you couldn’t even eat it. It was the hottest thing you’ve ever eaten in your life.

4 (12m 50s):
Well, even using the translation app was difficult, but I just want to let the listeners know this was pretty much one of the only days that dinner and our meal was not provided simply because it was the day that we arrived. Several people coming in from other flights, we flew out of Los Angeles. Other people on the tour of the special was out of New York. So there was just timing differences. So because of that, there was not a group of dinner that was included. And just even in that little debacle of trying to just order and you know, do things on our own, it was very, very difficult. So guided tour comes in handy.

2 (13m 23s):
I think there was only one other night that we didn’t have dinner because when you’re on the guided tours, they feed you breakfast. They feed you lunch, but dinner is kind of up in the air. So we bought the specials every single night. So we were constantly doing something every single night. And because we’re going out to do something, they would feed us dinner. But there was one night that we didn’t purchase the, the added on evening activity. And so we did walk around, I think we were in Shyanna at that point. And it was just so confusing because there’s nothing in English.

1 (13m 56s):
We ended up eating at the hotel.

2 (13m 58s):
Yeah.

1 (13m 59s):
At the hotel restaurant.

4 (14m 0s):
And Kim didn’t realize we fed her shrimp on that one. Miss. I don’t like seafood.

1 (14m 5s):
I didn’t know about it until recently.

2 (14m 7s):
That’s so funny. I thought we ate at,

3 (14m 9s):
I can still taste the shrimp in my mouth.

4 (14m 13s):
You didn’t

1 (14m 14s):
Know, you were saying how good it

4 (14m 15s):
Was. I call your lie.

1 (14m 17s):
So, one other thing about guided tours to know is that when you prep for the tour and the country, they tell you what immunizations you need. They tell you what you should pack. They tell you some tips and tricks. Like for example, China is a bring your own toilet paper country. And so I had that prepacked before we went, but it gives you a lot of insight of how to plan for the trip and get the most out of your trip before you even go.

3 (14m 44s):
I want to say one more thing about the guided tours. And that is that obviously you’re on a tour with other people. There’s people that you’re going to really click with. It’s not all old people. In fact, we met a couple on this trip that we became really, really good friends with. And we’re actually going, I think you guys took a trip with another trip with them

4 (15m 5s):
To Japan,

3 (15m 6s):
And then we’re going to be visiting them in November when we go to Arkansas. So you actually make friends with these people that you’re on this trip with for 10 days. And so it’s really nice.

4 (15m 16s):
So when we were in China, they took us to three cities. In particular, if we landed in Beijing, we also went to Shyanne as well as Shanghai.

2 (15m 26s):
And they flew us to each of those cities to China is huge. We did not drive to those locations. And again, benefits of the guided tour, those fights are built into the price that we paid.

3 (15m 36s):
The one bummer was that we didn’t get to go on the bullet train. I was sad about that.

2 (15m 41s):
We did in Japan,

3 (15m 43s):
I did

2 (15m 44s):
It, but we missed the Kim.

1 (15m 46s):
And when you have to go check in for the flights, your tour guide is at the front of the line, making sure everyone gets on the flight, making sure everyone gets their luggage check. So it’s like full service

3 (15m 55s):
And they take your luggage for you.

4 (15m 57s):
What was your guys’s favorite part about Beijing of the things that we did?

2 (16m 1s):
What was my favorite part?

3 (16m 4s):
Pandas. Oh, the Panda zoo.

4 (16m 8s):
Cute.

2 (16m 9s):
I feel like it’s just so hard to choose. Beijing was such a fun city. I really liked the great wall. I liked the place that they took us to buy the Pearl necklaces.

1 (16m 20s):
I’m just wondering why you didn’t say the Peking duck dinner was your favorite things. Ana,

3 (16m 26s):
You ate a lot of deck that night.

4 (16m 29s):
Once you tell us the story of the peaking duck, dinners, anus.

2 (16m 33s):
Very, this isn’t the very first night, right? The very first night is when we went to that restaurant. But this is like the first full day

4 (16m 39s):
And that

2 (16m 40s):
Night. Yeah, exactly. So

3 (16m 41s):
Wine and duck dinner night.

2 (16m 43s):
Yeah. So we’ll, they advertised it as the Peking duck dinner. And I guess we had unlimited alcohol to be really Frank with you. I don’t remember. I don’t remember this. So I probably drank a little bit and I’m eating the duck and they give you these little paper wrapper, not paper wrappers, but it’s their version of

4 (17m 3s):
It’s like their version of, I would describe it as a tortilla.

2 (17m 6s):
Yeah. So you can put the duck in this tortilla with the sauce and again, a little

1 (17m 13s):
Vegetables

2 (17m 15s):
And

3 (17m 15s):
Sauce, the sauce.

2 (17m 17s):
I don’t even remember that, but I guess I drank a lot. And now all of a sudden, you know, I’m hungry and I ate a lot of duck and I kept saying, how good? I don’t believe that I did this, but I guess they keep telling me that I kept saying how good it is. It’s so good. It’s so good. Next thing you know, I’m stuffed and then

3 (17m 36s):
Ducks and bringing out more duck.

2 (17m 38s):
I can’t believe how many ducks

1 (17m 39s):
Prioritized as the Peking duck dinner. And so we thought like, we’re going to be eating duck all night. So we’re filling up on duck

4 (17m 48s):
By chorus five. They brought out like five different ducks per our table

1 (17m 53s):
When they’re going to bring out more food, like more normal Chinese food on top of that, when we’re stuffed on this dock

2 (17m 59s):
Already,

3 (17m 59s):
Right. To get rice and chicken and pork. And we’re like, whoa,

4 (18m 3s):
I would say that’s the one. If there was one critique of our trip, it’s that? I don’t think it was articulated to us that there’s more beyond the duck at the Peking duck dinner.

2 (18m 15s):
So I, yeah. Clearly stuffed myself on duck.

1 (18m 19s):
So now it’s a running joke that duck is Dana’s favorite dish because she had so much duck that night.

2 (18m 25s):
It’s one of those things where, you know, when you fill up too much on a good thing and it just stuffs you so much that you’re like, oh my gosh, I can never do this again. So at one point, I think this is when we were flying from Beijing to Shiyan. They do feet. You know, this isn’t like the United States where they don’t feed you on the domestic flights in China, they do feed you on domestic flights.

3 (18m 43s):
Sometimes questionable food.

2 (18m 45s):
Yeah. So they brought out, well, I didn’t hear what they said. And so I asked Brittany, what are they serving? And she said, it’s either fish. Was it or duck? And I looked at her and I laughed because at this point we’re already laughing at me because of how much duck I ate. And I thought to myself, they would never serve duck on an airplane because where like the United States

4 (19m 7s):
Would never you’re wrong.

2 (19m 9s):
Yeah. So when the flight attendant came to me and I’m just brushing Brittany off thinking, okay, whatever, I’ll just find out when the flight attendant comes and she comes and she asks me, what do I want to eat? And I asked her, what do you have? And she says, we have fish, or we have duck. And I just, my jaw drops because I’m like, oh my goodness, Brittany was serious. They really do serve duck on airplanes.

4 (19m 28s):
What did you end up getting? I got the

2 (19m 29s):
Fish. I absolutely got the

4 (19m 31s):
Fish.

1 (19m 33s):
My favorite part about this trip or to Beijing, specifically in the city was the great wall. Because like, you know, every single vacation I got to do a little hiking. And so when we got to the great wall, our tour guide said to us, you can go to the right, which is easy. Or you can go to the left, which is hard. So we all booked it to the left and started climbing up the great wall.

3 (19m 55s):
We didn’t book it. Brittany was like, we’re doing the hard side.

2 (19m 59s):
It was me though. No, cause didn’t you guys want the easy side. And I was like, come on guys. We just got back from Elgin Picchu. We can do the hard side.

1 (20m 6s):
One thing to know about the great wall is the steps aren’t even. So you come across really large steps where you’re like huffing and puffing, trying to get up one step. And then you get to these tiny baby steps as well. So it’s hard to maintain a pace because every step is uneven. Yeah.

2 (20m 24s):
Hey, Mr. Historian, do you want to give us any facts about the great wall?

4 (20m 27s):
It’s thousands of miles long and hundreds of years old? No, but yeah, but no, I mean, it was originally built to keep, you know, the Mongols out from invading China. That’s really the main deterrent of why they actually had built the wall. But you know, obviously it’s thousands of miles long. You could see it in other places other than Beijing, but Beijing is one of the only major cities that it actually kind of runs through north of the city. So, you know, when we went there, it was actually really interesting to see because now they built the highway that goes under the great wall. Do any of you guys remember that another road went under the great wall?

4 (21m 8s):
And so when they had the pavilion area for us to get out, like Brittany said, it was either to the right, which was on a more flat side of the mountain where, you know, the road was running through or we can go to the left and we went to the left and it was definitely a, a very, very steep hike up that

1 (21m 26s):
I figured if we go to the left and we get to the top of that, then we can look out to the flat parts and just have a really nice view.

4 (21m 33s):
We had a really good view. I feel like if we went to the right, we would have been able to traverse more of the wall, but we went to the left. So we got a higher elevation to kind of overlook.

3 (21m 43s):
I have two things I want to say about the great wall. One is that people thought that, and you’ve seen pictures of the great wall where it’s covered in people and there’s people everywhere and you can’t walk. And that’s what I was scared that we were going to be going into. There was nobody on the great wall with us. We got pictures with nobody in them. The second thing I want to say is wear cute outfit because you’re going to take lots of pictures.

1 (22m 9s):
I know Kim, you specifically picked out your great wall outfit

3 (22m 12s):
And I love that picture to this day.

2 (22m 16s):
And I got to say, once we got off the great wall, when we get to the bus, they served us ice cream on the bus.

4 (22m 22s):
Oh yeah. I forgot about that. Cause it was a warm day. It wasn’t excessively hot, but it was a warm day. So yeah.

2 (22m 29s):
Well, regardless of if it’s warm or not, I mean, when you hike up the hard side of the wall, like that ice cream is just five star for,

4 (22m 39s):
And then we had lunch after that somewhere. Yes we did. Yes we did. Yes.

2 (22m 43s):
So I think that same day they took us to the Beijing zoo. Yeah.

3 (22m 46s):
That was the big day we went because we’re on a guided tour. They are jam packing our schedule, which is really nice. Cause we get to see a lot. We also went and saw the Olympic area where they had the Olympics,

4 (22m 58s):
The opening, the opening ceremonies and Beijing, some of the stadiums, they drove us bikes, kind of that,

3 (23m 4s):
Oh, real quick. And then we went to the zoo where they had pandas and I’ve seen pandas before, but these ones, there was tons of them and they were playing and jumping and like climbing on things and falling over and running. And they were the cutest little penis ever. And then they had like a big cage full of lemurs. They were like hundreds of lemurs in this cage and they were so cute.

1 (23m 26s):
So back to the Panda is I just want to point out in the zoo, there was a big poster and it was in Chinese. So I couldn’t read it. But basically it translated to pandas are very lazy creatures in general. And so the Panda population is declining quite significantly. So in to encourage the pandas to reproduce, they’ve actually made Panda porn to encourage the pandas, to have sex and reproduce it.

2 (23m 54s):
Is that, how did you get the translation?

4 (23m 56s):
I think they had a kind of an English, if I remember one part or we asked our tour guy and he told us what it was, but do you not remember the photo that I took? Well, yeah. So I took a photo because in the area where they were having that general information, the Panda exhibit, they actually have a photo of pandas mating, the Panda that’s on top. He could, he just has a big grin, big smile on his face. I took a photo about Be sure to check it out on Instagram, like Kim said, and we’ll see it up there, but it’s pretty funny, but I just want to touch on one thing as well. Kim said, you know, I’ve seen pandas cause here in the San Diego at the zoo, we have pandas here, but well, not anymore, China took them back, but even though these weren’t necessarily, while they were in captivity at the zoo, there was something genuinely exciting about seeing pandas in China, where they come from.

3 (24m 55s):
They’re so active. Yeah.

2 (24m 56s):
Didn’t you get a video of Panda just running back and forth doing whatever it was doing. It was,

4 (25m 2s):
Yeah, I did. I did. He was kind of in a corner then all of a sudden he just kind of jumped up and started like galloping, almost like a horse. That was yeah.

2 (25m 11s):
And then we saw lemurs as well. And I loved the lemurs because they’re all sitting around meditating,

3 (25m 19s):
Sitting on their butts, like for real and just like zoning out and they were so cute.

1 (25m 24s):
Little hands like perched in the air.

2 (25m 26s):
Yeah. Yeah. Those were so adorable. One thing about Beijing that really I wasn’t expecting was how they had flowers everywhere. The roads were lined with flowers and just rows. Yeah, exactly. So the highway lanes are separated by just garden at a garden

4 (25m 49s):
Like media and gardens. Yeah. Yeah. Well it’s one of the things our tour guide was telling us that they’re doing to combat the pollution is they’re trying to like plant trees and flowers all over the place. So all the roadways are really beautiful lined with flowers, trees really, really well-maintained in all honesty, way better than you see on the freeways here in the states. I mean, it was really pretty. Yeah.

3 (26m 11s):
Yeah. That was one thing that was a myth that we’d always heard is the pollution is so bad. You can’t see and everyone’s wearing masks and there were some people wearing masks, but I wasn’t affected by the pollution whatsoever.

4 (26m 24s):
I mean, we may have just gotten lucky. I remember when we landed back on our way home, I feel like I could see it a little bit. So, but during the time we were there, yes, I will agree with Kim that and pollution really wasn’t an issue for us at that time. The

2 (26m 37s):
Traffic was bad for sure. Yeah.

4 (26m 40s):
Traffic’s always bad in big cities.

1 (26m 42s):
A lot of people also said that China was a dirty place to go and I didn’t feel like it was dirty at all. It was very clean, very pretty. And it really helps seeing all of the beautiful flowers along the highways.

2 (26m 54s):
Yeah. From Beijing, we flew to Sean and I think that’s the flight where they served us and duck or fish. So, you know what I do remember though, about the flight from Beijing to Shaun was it was really, really turbulent. I remember that because I was sitting in the middle, Jamal was at the window. I was in the middle and then it was the husband of the friend that the couple that we met and I started to cry because it was shaking so bad and he looks at me, he’s like, are you okay? And I have tears streaming down my face and I’m like, I’m fine.

4 (27m 23s):
That was the flight where they had the duck because they stopped meal service at one point because the turbulence was so much, I remember,

2 (27m 33s):
You know, talking about turbulence. I remember when we were landing in Beijing, it was a little bit turbulent. And I feel like I’ve never experienced such turbulent flights like I did when we were over there. So I don’t know if it’s something about the air patterns or what, but there was a lot of turbulence.

4 (27m 46s):
Well, a lot of people may not have heard of the city she on in China, but what it’s really, really famous for is the Terracotta Soldiers that they have there.

3 (27m 57s):
I’ve never heard of it either, but I’m, I’m really into history and ancient artifacts and what’s left over from thousands and thousands of years ago. And this was like a paradise for that.

2 (28m 9s):
Yeah. Jamal, you want to tell us what the Terracotta museum even is?

4 (28m 12s):
Well, so up until like, I believe it was in the 20th century, early like 19 hundreds, a farmer was actually digging cause Shyanne is a big farming area or these was, you know, several decades ago. And as he was digging, I believe for a while, but nonetheless, he was on his farm digging on it. And he came across some clay soldiers, which I think is Terracotta, you know, the, of clay.

3 (28m 39s):
And he, when he found it in the ground, he thought it was a real person. And there’s some kind of bad Juju around if you dig up a human body. So he was freaking out.

4 (28m 52s):
I

3 (28m 52s):
Remember that one

4 (28m 52s):
And she remembers more of the story than I, but yeah, he had found it. And basically what it is now is it’s really just like still an excavation site and it is covered a big tourist attraction, but it is a line of soldiers that were made out of clay, you know, into statues. And what’s so impressive about it is it has horses, thousands of soldiers, each soldier looks different. There’s no repeat. They’re literally made to look like different people. And what it was is I think it is a burial site of one of the past emperors and basically it’s guarding his tomb. It’s the soldiers guarding the emperors to.

3 (29m 34s):
Yeah. And we only got to see, I think, three of the pits, but there were 200 of them that are still buried and we only, there’s only three that have been excavated

4 (29m 44s):
Three of the pets.

2 (29m 46s):
It was so crazy. Yeah. It was amazing.

1 (29m 49s):
And some of them have been broken into pieces, but people are working to put them back together so that they have more of a complete collection.

3 (29m 56s):
Yeah. And they say that some of them are broken because over the years, as the tomb was hidden, other coming in soldiers and people exploring that area would come in and just like barge down the door. So the soldiers got knocked over and got broken and a lot of the gold and treasures that were in there were all taken out. So that’s why it’s mostly just the soldiers and some, some of the copper and stuff like that,

4 (30m 23s):
Because I believe it was like left in the open, but just over time and over the centuries, all the dirt and mud has filled it up so that everything is

3 (30m 30s):
Buried.

4 (30m 31s):
Yeah.

1 (30m 32s):
But what they do have is really impressive. I believe in one of the pits was even like a chariot, like the horse carriage. That was really impressive to see really

3 (30m 40s):
Cool.

2 (30m 41s):
I know you mentioned it was for the emperor and death. I think it was, he commissioned someone to design his entire army in Terracotta so they can protect him even in death.

3 (30m 53s):
And I believe it took like 30 years.

2 (30m 55s):
It’s crazy. It was amazing before

3 (30m 57s):
He died.

2 (30m 59s):
You know what I remember though? I don’t think that they had air in there. And so it was super hot, Really hot.

4 (31m 6s):
Yeah. One of the really cool things about Shyanne, really the its claim to fame really is the Terracotta Soldiers. But one thing that was really, really impressive and fun that our tour company gate one did, is they actually took us to an outdoor park. And I know I had a good time there. What did you ladies think of the park? And tell us a little bit about what was going on there.

2 (31m 31s):
The park was the most, this is probably my most favorite thing that we did in China. So, and again, this is one of the benefits of going with the guided tour because they’re taking you to these off the path spots. And so it was early in the morning and this is where the retirement village of the city goes and it’s just, they have dances, they have songs that they’re singing. And so we were able to dance with the locals and there’s just no way to describe it. It was just so

3 (32m 2s):
It was definitely one of my favorite things too. And we’d never would have found it on our own or even known about it. We did Tai Chi, remember that with the sword

1 (32m 12s):
Was like the first thing we did with the time

3 (32m 13s):
Sheet. And then we got to do little exercises and Jojo, I think we were doing Jojo

1 (32m 18s):
And hacky sack

3 (32m 19s):
Hacky sack. So we did those dances and then they moved us over to the song. And so the, the Chinese people believe that every morning you need to exercise a little bit like light exercise, not like a hit class, like we do here in America. And they also believe that you need to sing or talk to get the, from when you were sleeping out of your body and that’s how it wakes you up. So they do these songs, they had like a whole orchestra out there.

2 (32m 46s):
They even sing jingle bells

3 (32m 49s):
Group. They brought us to the front of the orchestra area and some sunglass jingle bells.

2 (32m 55s):
Yeah. And then when we were dancing, they, they were in dragon outfits.

3 (32m 59s):
Oh, that was really cool too. Yeah.

2 (33m 1s):
So we were, it’s not a conga line, but something similar to a conga line where we’re just like dancing behind one another,

4 (33m 10s):
It was almost like being in a parade, but not a parade all just confined to that area

3 (33m 14s):
In the

4 (33m 15s):
Park. Yeah. It’s kind of like the daily routine and exercise. So I thought it was definitely one of the more cultural highlights of the trip and something really unique that I think Zana said, you know, if you weren’t on a guided tour, that’s something that you would never see or never think to experience to go there and, or notified it. Yeah.

1 (33m 32s):
There was something there for everyone and the retired community goes there a lot, which is really nice to have a sense of culture and community in that area.

2 (33m 40s):
Yeah. I know. I wish my parents could do something like that now that they’re retired, you know, it keeps them healthy. It keeps them social. Cause I think that’s the biggest thing when you’re retired. Right.

3 (33m 50s):
I go there also to say, if they have single grandkids, they,

4 (33m 54s):
Yes. I was about to say that too. I remember them saying that that’s one of the top draws of the park is they go to gospel to see who they can set up the grandchildren with.

3 (34m 3s):
And one other thing, the retirement age in China is like 50. They retire really young. So there, they may be retired, but they’re not like elderly in a Walker. Like can’t move their youthful

1 (34m 18s):
And the age. Well, because they’re Asian. I can say that because I’m Asian.

4 (34m 23s):
That is very true.

3 (34m 26s):
And they were really, really nice and oh, and as we were leaving, they clapped us goodbye. They gave us a standing ovation as we left. Yeah. They were just so nice.

4 (34m 36s):
One of the other things too, that we did in Shyanne, which we really all enjoyed,

3 (34m 42s):
I say this about everything, but this was like one of my favorite things we did,

4 (34m 47s):
But with a park or the dumpling dinners, I’m about to say, yeah, the dumpling dinners was in enjoyed this one more than the Peking duck dinner. Right.

3 (34m 55s):
It wasn’t that expensive, but this was one of those.

4 (34m 59s):
Yeah.

3 (34m 60s):
And it was one of the add-ons that we did with the guided tour. Thank God. Because it was amazing

1 (35m 5s):
To kind of explain the ad-ons before we get more into it is basically when you pick your tour, you pick obviously where you’re going and it tells you what is included in the itinerary. And then on a few different days, you have the option to add on another tour or a dinner or experience. And so it’s something you can preplan in advance and typically the reasonably priced and worth the experience.

4 (35m 31s):
Right? So every city that you’re in there is always a tour every day. But the extensions are usually the evening activities, which include like a dinner or a show or something like that. So you can opt to, once you’re done with the day and the tour, do things on your own or be a part of like a group activity as well. So it gives a lot of flexibility within the tour. That way.

3 (35m 53s):
The other one that we added on was in Shanghai, I believe. And that was the circus

2 (35m 60s):
Yet the Acrobat show. That was an amazing,

3 (36m 2s):
That was really cool.

4 (36m 4s):
Exactly. About show and the, the night river cruise, just as well. But we’ll

3 (36m 8s):
Do the night river cruise. What are you

4 (36m 10s):
Talking?

3 (36m 10s):
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Okay. That’s right. Whoops. I don’t know where I was. Okay. So back to the dumpling dinner. So they’re just not any dumplings. What was acts 17 different kinds of dumplings. All different looks, tastes, shapes feels smells

2 (36m 29s):
Like one came out looking like a Swan. Another one comes out looking like a Walnut.

4 (36m 33s):
It can look like a cabbage. Does anyone remember the one that looked like a cabin? I thought it was purple. And then it had like

3 (36m 39s):
The little purple

1 (36m 42s):
And then they had in the back, they had like a whole display of dumplings that they would make look like little scene. So there was like one that was like all fish. And there was another one that was like a

3 (36m 50s):
Farm. There was someone there making them on display too.

2 (36m 53s):
Super impressive. Yeah.

3 (36m 54s):
The little duck shaped one was my favorite. And we like had the sauce in a plate and we were like, oh, the ducks swimming. And it was,

4 (37m 2s):
But I mean, obviously, you know, in China you can find dumplings anywhere, but this is where they had, you know, the tour extension number one. But in Sheehan, they’re particularly famous for their dumplings more so than anywhere else. That’s why it was in the city of . But the dumpling dinner, definitely a highlight good food.

3 (37m 23s):
Yeah. Do not miss it.

4 (37m 25s):
Do not miss the dumpling dinner

1 (37m 26s):
In this city. We had our, this is an example of where we had one of the personal tour guides in addition to our tour guide for the entire trip as well. So she was, she specialized in this area cause she was from that area.

4 (37m 39s):
She was from Sean. Yeah. And I believe she was a history major. So she knew a lot more about the Terracotta Soldiers just as well. And so they were definitely able to give a more personalized story and experience of the city than just the normal tour guide. So that’s one of the ways that the tour also enhances it. It’s more personalized that way just as well.

2 (38m 1s):
Our local tour guide there in Cheyenne, she was so cute because she constantly referred to herself in third person. And every time she did, like, it’s just, it’s so cute. Yeah.

3 (38m 10s):
And she said Panda panders

1 (38m 14s):
Idea ID or

4 (38m 16s):
Yeah, we definitely can’t criticize because her English is 10 million times better than our

2 (38m 21s):
Mandarin.

4 (38m 22s):
No, I know. I know. I know. No, it was, I definitely did like the way

3 (38m 26s):
You said it. I smiled

2 (38m 29s):
Too. Yeah.

4 (38m 30s):
And then, so any final thoughts on Sean ladies before we get to

3 (38m 34s):
Shanghai this trip along

2 (38m 36s):
Real quickly though, when we were in Sheehan, I just have to say that Brittany and Kim have the same dress and they totally twinned that day. And it was just really cute because we were walking around, she, and this is the day that we didn’t have a night dinner or anything planned and just people’s heads turned because two little cute girls walking in the same dress through the city.

3 (38m 59s):
Okay. Let’s go to Shanghai,

1 (39m 1s):
Shanghai,

2 (39m 2s):
Shanghai.

1 (39m 3s):
So the first thing I want to talk about is the river broke crews that we did at night and it was on the river in Shanghai. We actually didn’t add this onto our itinerary in advance. And once we realized what it was going to be, and then how recommended it was, we decided to ask our tour guide, can we add this on last minute? And luckily he was able to accommodate us and we were able to get on the night river cruise.

3 (39m 29s):
I think Shanghai was the most like metropolis city that we were in on this trip. So the skyline is beautiful. They have just such modern, interesting, colorful architecture. It looks beautiful at night. And that’s what this river cruise was. You’re going along the river and you see the city skyline in the background and it goes along the whole time. So you see different angles of it in different parts of it just gorgeous.

2 (39m 54s):
What I thought was really interesting just about the city in general was the traffic and the license plates. Do you guys remember that?

1 (40m 0s):
That was anywhere?

2 (40m 1s):
Was it cause in Shanghai there was. So there were so many drivers in Shanghai that it costs like what 12,000,

4 (40m 8s):
50,000 China they’re charged for their license plate.

2 (40m 11s):
Oh yeah. Well, that’s super interesting.

3 (40m 13s):
Anything our tour guide told us about the license plates.

2 (40m 16s):
Yeah. Because there’s so many cars, you have to pay X amount of dollars for your license play. And then, but in Shanghai, I remember him saying there are certain freeways that you can’t drive on unless you have a high license,

4 (40m 29s):
Hi license plate. It was how it was numbered. So like if your license plate started with like an even number, odd number that dictated, if you can drive on the highway that day specifically

2 (40m 42s):
Reduce

3 (40m 42s):
The traffic.

2 (40m 43s):
Yeah.

1 (40m 43s):
And license plates, you can pass them on to future generations. Like when you’re done driving with that car, you just moved that license plate to another car and you kind

3 (40m 52s):
Of down to your child. Yeah,

4 (40m 53s):
Yeah. Really interesting system. But I just want to go back real quick. The bond is actually the name of a waterfront promenade area in Shanghai, along the river. The river’s not the Bund river.

3 (41m 7s):
What’s the river

4 (41m 7s):
Called? I can’t pronounce it. I believe it’s called the long poo river. If I’m not mistaken. I think that’s what, yeah. I think that’s what it was.

3 (41m 16s):
One of our other highlights from Shanghai was the Chinese Acrobat night. Another one of the tours that we added on it was I wasn’t expecting it to be a circus show, but it was much like a circus show with acrobats, like seven high flying through the air on trapeze and that big circle cage thing that all those motorcycles were in. Oh, that

1 (41m 39s):
Was crazy.

3 (41m 39s):
Got like seven motorcycles in this giant circular cage.

1 (41m 43s):
So first he would start out with one motorcyclist going and he would get inside the cage and just spin around, around. And then a second one would enter and then they were kind of crossing directions. And so they ended up adding about seven in the cage total. And it was just so amazing to watch them all be synchronized and not crash. I would be afraid of crash.

4 (42m 4s):
I mean, it was a small little ball steel cage that they were driving in with their motorcycles. It is impressive. But beyond that, you know, like Kim was saying, they were doing some sort of trap bees, but a lot of them were doing balancing acts where it was two partners and one would hold the other person up with just like one hand. And it was really elegant and really interesting to see the Chinese Acrobat showed that also included dinner. Let’s not forget about the dinner that night that they had.

2 (42m 32s):
Yeah. Speaking of balancing what, there was one girl who was riding her bike and then five people jumped on and rode the bike with her while she was balancing. Just amazing, amazing

4 (42m 42s):
Feats.

3 (42m 42s):
Another great night in China.

2 (42m 44s):
Yeah.

4 (42m 45s):
One of the other things that we did just as well in there and you know, in each of the cities, we didn’t really touch on them too much in the other ones, but they, they take us to someplace kind of unique what they did. They took us in Shanghai to a place where it is basically, I don’t want to call it a silk factory, but it was almost that art pavilion where they would literally make pictures out of silk. And they looked like they were like beautifully painted. I was almost going to buy one

3 (43m 16s):
Really expensive. I

4 (43m 17s):
Know I almost bought one. And it was because they were expensive that I opted not to, but they have everything, you know, honestly they look like paintings, but it’s all silk handwoven and sewn photos of, you know, just anything of Chinese like architecture. They even had van Gogh, replica. And that’s what I wanted to buy was the Vincent van Gogh’s starry night, but really, really interesting to see cause in each city, you know, they’d take you to someplace kind of, you know, more unique and abstract outside of the normal tourist things. And that’s something that they were really famous for in Shang HAI

1 (43m 51s):
Also in Shanghai and in China in general, China is known for like knockoff items. And so our tour guide took us to a bizarre,

3 (43m 60s):
The Shanghai Bazaar,

1 (44m 1s):
The Shanghai Bazaar,

4 (44m 2s):
That was an experience. It was fun.

1 (44m 5s):
It’s where you get to go negotiate for all of the knockoffs, which was a fun expense.

3 (44m 9s):
Oh. So negotiating tips never, ever, ever accept the first price that they give.

4 (44m 14s):
You don’t even accept their fifth,

3 (44m 18s):
Whatever price they give you at least knock it in half and say, this is my price. You’ll use a calculator cause they don’t speak English very well. So you’ll communicate numbers that way and just keep going down or stick to your price. Walk away. You have to, they will chase you down. And if that person really won’t accept your price, go a little bit farther outside of the main, everything sells the same shit. So go a little bit farther out and you will get it for the price that you want.

1 (44m 43s):
Didn’t someone chase you down.

3 (44m 45s):
Oh, I had a lady grabbed my arm and tried to pull me back, like take me with her. And I lost you guys at that point. I was by myself and I was like, no lady, like, let me go. I don’t go to your back room with

4 (44m 57s):
You walked away from her.

3 (44m 60s):
She showed me a cardboard thing of like watches and purses. And I was trying to get a knockoff purse and I was like, oh, I’m interested. But I wasn’t trying to go in the back room with this lady by myself. And it was, and she was having my arm really strong too. I was like, let go, lady.

1 (45m 15s):
I did end up getting a knockoff, Michael Kors purse.

3 (45m 18s):
I did as well. We were, we were in that store and they have it in the back section, not in the front section. Cause I guess it’s also illegal in China. I’m assuming. And I, we like kind of peeked back there and then went back there and negotiated for a while. And Britney and I both got Michael Kors purses. I wish I would’ve gotten more.

4 (45m 36s):
Yeah. If they don’t have kind of what you’re looking for in that area, they’ll call somebody and be like, oh well, and then they’ll seriously bring it around for you guys. But yeah, you got the purse. We also got the Brittany and I at least got the tea set, which we love and actively use. But I will say that we are

3 (45m 54s):
Going to have that tea party,

4 (45m 55s):
But we’re going to have it soon. I’ve extended the offer so many times late in The evening. But anyway, one thing I wanted to say to touch back on, on what Kim was saying is obviously clearly don’t accept the first offer. I said, don’t accept the fifth, but not that we paid a lot for Brittany’s knockoff. Cause it’s really good. One. We paid like $30,

2 (46m 18s):
Which by the way, they had to make a call and we waited for someone to bring it. So Brittany can see the purse.

4 (46m 23s):
Absolutely. I still feel we overpaid. You know what I mean? So, well, I mean, I feel like

3 (46m 30s):
We 200 normally

4 (46m 32s):
True, but what I mean by that is if we were harder, we could have probably maybe gotten it for 25 20 is what I mean. So really like, if you love to haggle, like this is the place to do. And like don’t be afraid to really give a rock bottom price.

2 (46m 47s):
You have to start at rock bottom. Cause if you think about it, if they have something for $10 and you want to get it for five and you given at fi and you tell them that you want it for five, you’ve already shot yourself in the foot because now she’s going to say eight, then you’re going to say seven and you’re not going to get it for what you want. But if you start with two

3 (47m 4s):
And then you can, no matter what price you tell them, they will go. Oh no, but they are just bluffing.

4 (47m 12s):
Yeah. The lack of like they’re offended by the low ball offer. That’s a fun experience. That’s for sure.

2 (47m 20s):
Yeah.

1 (47m 20s):
And like Jamal mentioned earlier, Shanghai is the city that we got a free day to do whatever we wanted on.

3 (47m 26s):
I had the option to do like a river excursion, which seemed really cool, but we had something better that we needed to do.

4 (47m 34s):
Oh, we went to Shanghai, Disneyland. We are going to have a separate episode on that. There’s

3 (47m 40s):
So much to talk about

4 (47m 41s):
On that particular topic. Absolutely. But again, touching back on why, one of the reasons why we went on the trip was specifically for this free day so that we could go to Shanghai,

3 (47m 53s):
Really a magical experience that you cannot miss in Shanghai,

2 (47m 57s):
Except for the M D

3 (47m 59s):
Food churros.

2 (48m 0s):
Oh, they didn’t have C4. We didn’t try those. So what was it, what did we do for lunch that

4 (48m 4s):
Day? It was the high tea,

2 (48m 5s):
High tea. I’ve never had high tea before in my life. And everyone was like, oh my goodness, you’re going to love high tea. And I don’t think that this Disney really nailed it

3 (48m 14s):
And the best one ever. But it was great still. Yeah. Because of where we were.

2 (48m 19s):
And you really liked the tea that was

3 (48m 20s):
Served by, oh, they had the best T

4 (48m 22s):
It was delicious. I would agree. But like, like we said, Disneyland on a whole nother episode. So stay tuned listeners for that one. But any final thoughts ladies on the trip, any of the cities that we didn’t touch on before we get to questions?

2 (48m 37s):
Oh, you guys, we didn’t talk about the forbidden city.

4 (48m 40s):
Oh, and Beijing. The one you guys forgot your passports.

3 (48m 46s):
The night before our tour guide told us, make sure to bring your passports, the place we’re going tomorrow sometimes requires passports. Everybody brought their passport except for Zena. And I,

2 (48m 57s):
Ken and I were always each other’s plus ones. Right? You got a book with someone. So Kim and I are in the same room and obviously Jamal and Brittany married, they’re there with each other. And you know, that morning, Jamal and Brittany did not remind us to grab our passport or

3 (49m 10s):
We, your mom

2 (49m 10s):
And dad, you know, sometimes

3 (49m 13s):
On vacations, whenever Jamal pays for something, I always say thanks to,

2 (49m 17s):
Yeah. I mean, obviously we pay him back, right. Jamal’s just kind of the bank of Jamal and giving us alone up.

3 (49m 24s):
And they’re always like knock on our door before they go down to see if we’re ready. Yeah.

2 (49m 28s):
Yeah. So they take good care of us. And so we completely forgot to get her passport because when we were, this is in Beijing and this is the best breakfast buffet at the hotel

3 (49m 43s):
It was so

2 (49m 43s):
Good. We stayed at three hotels. This one in Beijing had the best breakfast buffet. So we were always down there. Shout out to the

3 (49m 49s):
Breakfast.

2 (49m 50s):
Buffet

3 (49m 51s):
Always love you.

2 (49m 52s):
Seriously.

4 (49m 54s):
I always loved the gay one breakfast buffets. That’s for sure.

2 (49m 57s):
Yeah. So you know, every single morning and we’re down there, we’re having our breakfast and Jamal and Brittany didn’t say anything. So by the time we get onto the,

4 (50m 4s):
I didn’t say anything because you had a reminder the night before we went to bed.

2 (50m 7s):
Okay. So they did remind us, but we forgot by the morning. So we get exactly we get on the bus and there’s probably what like 40, 45 people in the group. So the tour guide asks, does everyone have their passport? And everyone goes like, yay. And then Kim and I, you just see our faces drop. And luckily we’re in the front and we’re like, oh, we forgot ours. And I just

3 (50m 28s):
Right there, we just run back.

2 (50m 30s):
Exactly. But the way that he looked at us,

4 (50m 32s):
Like,

2 (50m 34s):
Yeah, like really like shame on you. He was not happy

1 (50m 38s):
The first day that we’re going out as a group in the city. And so he’s telling us like, Hey, if everyone is one minute late, then that puts us behind like 40 minutes late. Because so like, let’s be respectful.

2 (50m 51s):
He gave us lots of lectures prior to so Kim and I get off the bus and we go running. And when,

3 (50m 58s):
I mean, before we really run into the hotel, though, we look back at the bus and we see Jamal’s face shaking his head scowling at

4 (51m 7s):
The

2 (51m 7s):
Biggest scoff ever

4 (51m 9s):
Disappointed.

1 (51m 10s):
It was like the dad disappointment look

2 (51m 15s):
Very disappointed. Like his face, his scoff, it was, it was a priceless. So we get back on the bus and Brittany tells us that when you were off, we got a lecture. What was it? What did he lecture? You guys about

4 (51m 28s):
Timeliness and courtesy to other patrons on the tour.

2 (51m 32s):
And so Kim made the comment that clearly he gave it to the wrong group of the lecture, to the wrong group of people.

1 (51m 38s):
Yeah. And like for many gate, one tours you’re going on with multiple people and depending on where you’re going will dictate the size of the group. So for example, on this trip in particular, there was 39 of us.

2 (51m 49s):
Yeah. But for the record, Kim and I didn’t make that mistake again. We learned

1 (51m 53s):
Probably cause we reminded you the entire time.

4 (51m 56s):
We didn’t want to be embarrassed. We were embarrassed because of you guys as well, just because we were associated with you. But yeah, Zaina makes a good point. We didn’t touch on the forbidden city, which was the historic Imperial Palace grounds, you know, from the former dynasties that China used to have, it was, I mean, we would literally get there and walk through like one area and then I thought, okay, we’re coming to the end. I mean, it was, I felt like five miles long just in like one direction, but it was really interesting to see the traditional, like ancient Chinese architecture being in the palace grounds of the old emperors.

4 (52m 36s):
It’s just really a unique historical experience to have been there.

2 (52m 40s):
Like wasn’t there, what, Jamal, I have went with you to try to get a picture of something. And there was too many people.

4 (52m 47s):
It was hard. Yeah. Just,

2 (52m 49s):
This was probably the most crowded of any of the places that we went to and all of China,

3 (52m 55s):
But still worth seeing.

2 (52m 56s):
Of course. Yeah.

1 (52m 58s):
So moving into our next segment, we were talking about favorite questions of the week.

3 (53m 3s):
Well, thank you guys so much for sending in your questions. We have a couple of good ones about China and about traveling in general, as just a reminder, you guys can always send us questions on Instagram or Twitter at Travel Squad Podcast. And we’ll answer you right away or we’ll put it in a whole new episode.

1 (53m 20s):
So one of the questions we got was why did we pick China? But we did answer that mostly mean we picked it because of the cost. And we talked

3 (53m 28s):
About cost. How much did we actually pay for it?

2 (53m 30s):
Wasn’t it like less than 800?

3 (53m 32s):
No.

1 (53m 32s):
Oh,

3 (53m 33s):
It was way

1 (53m 33s):
Too like 1300.

4 (53m 35s):
It was like $1,300. It was eight trip. It was 800. If you chose not to get the flights included. But with flights included, it was around $1,300,

3 (53m 45s):
Such a good deal. For

4 (53m 46s):
10 days, flights included transportation meals tours.

1 (53m 51s):
We don’t forget that. We didn’t just get our round trip flight from lax to Beijing and back. We also got the flight from Beijing to she on she under to Shanghai. So included every single flight. We went on every single hotel. We didn’t have to do any booking. It paid for our transportation. It paid for entrance to any of the places that required an entrance fee. It paid for all of our breakfast, some of our lunches. And then if we did the optional ad-ons, sometimes dinner was included in those as well.

3 (54m 20s):
The two things that were not included in the trip though, were tips. So please tip your guides. If you’re going to do a guided tour, they definitely deserve it and tip your bus drivers because they absolutely deserve it too. They have an air conditioned bus waiting for you after a day of walking around. It’s amazing. And then the other thing that was not included was you do need to purchase a visa, which I think was about 150 bucks.

4 (54m 46s):
It is for a 10 year visa

3 (54m 48s):
Ten-year visa. We went through an agency that we just sent. We submitted our application, our paperwork, and they ran it to the consulate for us and brought it back to us. So if you’re going to get a visa and there’s not a consulate near you go through an agency.

1 (55m 1s):
And I really recommend that because the only time you could pick it up was during business hours. So if you work a normal nine to five, Monday through Friday, you would have to take a day off to go deliver it. And then another day off to pick it up.

2 (55m 13s):
Yeah. Cause it’s not same day. It takes like two days.

4 (55m 16s):
Well that’s again, if we’re talking, we live in major cities. If anyone’s inland, there is no Chinese consulate. So they’re going to have to mail it anyway. But anyone who lives coastal close to one, definitely do the mail and option versus, you know, taking them, dropping it off for them.

2 (55m 30s):
Yeah. And then the other question we got is is the food good

3 (55m 34s):
Food is such a big part of traveling. It’s why we go to a lot of the places we go to. And just part of experiencing another destination was the food good?

4 (55m 44s):
That was amazing.

2 (55m 46s):
Delicious

3 (55m 46s):
Thousand percent. I want to eat that food right now. I am dreaming about chicken and rice and noodles.

4 (55m 51s):
I still think of that sweet and sour pork every day, no exaggeration. It’s the best sweet and sour pork I’ve ever had in my life.

1 (55m 59s):
I really liked that the style was the lazy Susan. Oh,

3 (56m 2s):
I loved that

1 (56m 3s):
On the, on the, in the middle of the table. So they brought out a ton of different dishes and they would put them all on the lazy Susan and you just spin it around. And each person would, you know, try a little bit of everything was the best way to try a variety of different foods.

3 (56m 17s):
You tried a lot of their beer as well, and I’m not as impressed. And the reason is not because of tastes necessarily, but because of the percentage of alcohol, all of their beers, like 3% and I, and we were shocked. And so one day we tried to order Budweiser because we’re like, oh, it’s an American brand. It’s going to be like four or 5%. Nope. They reduce the alcohol in the Budweiser to match the Chinese standards. So just know that beer is like soda. They’re

4 (56m 45s):
Almost like a soft drink.

2 (56m 46s):
Yeah. And they don’t have diet Coke or diet anything. They only have regular, I don’t drink diet Coke anymore. But when we were there, I was heavy on the diet Coke. And there’s none of that.

3 (56m 58s):
The hot tea was bombed though. Yeah.

4 (56m 59s):
It’s always good for Jasmine hot tea, but you know, on the food as well. I think we mentioned this earlier, you know, a lot of people said like, it’s not as good as you expect it here. I did not find that to be the case at all. I thought it was above and beyond and better. And that’s one of the other reasons why I think the tour was so great. They actually take you to local restaurants. It’s not like when you go somewhere, sometimes you ask for recommendations. Maybe someone will tell you what they think you may like this was localized cuisine. Absolutely delicious.

1 (57m 34s):
I thought the food was definitely better than what it is here in the states. I do not eat Chinese food here in the United States. And I went crazy for the food and in China.

3 (57m 43s):
Cool too, because of the tour, we were able to try things that we would not order on our own on the menu. So there were these like little shredded, like potato noodle things at one point that we never would have known what they were, but they were really good.

2 (57m 57s):
Yeah. And so they want to impress you gate one does, right. They want you to come back and use them. So they’re giving you an over abundance of food. So you never have to worry like, oh my goodness, is it going to be enough? You are going to have stuff. So yeah, like so much. So although they’re bringing out food, there are a few opportunities where they give you the option of choosing plate a or plate B, and you’re going to eat it by yourself. There’s no lazy Susan for that. And so when we keep referencing Jamal sweet and sour pork, that was the day where you had option a or option B. I don’t even know what option a was. I got option a and I know that Jamal got sweet and sour pork. And I deeply regretted that decision because the sweet and sour pork that they brought out to Jamal was phenomenal.

4 (58m 45s):
One of our other listeners had the question of when you enter a country and don’t know the language, what do you do?

3 (58m 51s):
This is so prevalent to China because there’s no way you can communicate with someone that doesn’t speak English there. So what we did, we actually got a Chinese language learning app and we were practicing our Chinese member when we were in the airport, coming back from Cuba and they were practicing Chinese, but bring an app with you as well. And that’s really gonna help you to say different words or that day that we were trying to buy beer from liquor store guy. He was using his translation app with that. Yeah.

4 (59m 26s):
Yes. I remember that. I remember that. So, I mean, we didn’t have to encounter this issue a lot because of the tour, but just in general, a translation app is so key and it’s really respectful when you go to another place, another culture where they have another language to at least make the attempt. That is what is important. So the translation app helps. And even when you’re still at home before your trip look up key phrases, just go to Google and say key phrases in Chinese. It’ll teach you the hellos goodbyes, please. Thank you a little bit. Like that goes a long way. Definitely. And making it more smooth and for you being more respectful while you’re there,

3 (1h 0m 7s):
Those are the ones you should always know. No matter where you are, the please, thank you. Excuse me. Hello.

2 (1h 0m 13s):
Everyone loves someone who tries. So if you show them that you’re making an effort to learn their language, to speak in their language, they are so excited anywhere you go, right.

3 (1h 0m 24s):
Sidney, how the people smiled so big at us,

2 (1h 0m 28s):
Or how do you say thank you, Jamal.

4 (1h 0m 29s):
Shit, shit. I think I’m saying it with the correct pronunciation. I don’t know. Yeah.

1 (1h 0m 33s):
They’re so much more willing to help you and like want to try and be engaging in the conversation. If you just put in a little bit of effort yourself,

3 (1h 0m 41s):
Even if you don’t say it, right, it goes a long way.

1 (1h 0m 44s):
Another question we got or how were the bathrooms in China?

3 (1h 0m 47s):
Ah, this was a big one. And we, we knew going in that we were going to encounter some of these and I was scared and I still,

4 (1h 0m 58s):
We manage.

1 (1h 0m 58s):
So most of the bathrooms in China are bring your own toilet paper bathrooms, and you have to squat over the whole

3 (1h 1m 6s):
They’re Squatty potties.

1 (1h 1m 8s):
And if there are Western toilets, people still get on top of the

3 (1h 1m 14s):
Footprints on the toilet and they

1 (1h 1m 16s):
Squat over the hole on the Western.

4 (1h 1m 18s):
They have signs that basically say, do not stand on the toilet. Obviously they’re made out in pictures and you can depict obviously what it is, but they’re trying to tell people not to stand on the toilet and do the

3 (1h 1m 30s):
Squats. Any of them are Squatty potties though,

2 (1h 1m 33s):
But you know,

4 (1h 1m 33s):
I’m not in the hotels. I just want to throw out, not in the hotels. This is when you’re out. This is when you’re out in public

3 (1h 1m 39s):
Disneyland though.

2 (1h 1m 40s):
Yeah. But you know, okay. So Disneyland,

4 (1h 1m 43s):
They also had Western toilets at Disneyland. Also.

3 (1h 1m 45s):
It’s weird. I saw people waiting in line for the Squatty potties. I like this. Even when the,

2 (1h 1m 51s):
When we were at Disneyland, I chose the Squatty ones because the Western ones are going to be dirty anyways. And so I’m going to be squatting over it. So I felt like having a hole was easier to just, you know,

3 (1h 2m 2s):
Not me. I struggled the whole time.

2 (1h 2m 3s):
Oh, I love the burn and the thighs man. What a great opportunity

1 (1h 2m 8s):
From the Inca trail. I had my squad. I had my squad

3 (1h 2m 13s):
Wow. From the Inca trail. And then the, just the pain continued in China.

1 (1h 2m 18s):
So I rolled up some toilet paper and I made like a whole bunch of little rules. And I put them in a plastic bag to put it in my purse to carry around. Because during the day when you’re out all day long and you’re not in restaurant, even in the restaurant, some of them had Squatty potties. I just wanted to bring my own toilet paper just in case. And then also some of the places we went to the toilet paper, if they provided it was outside of the stall. So like right. When you walked into the bathroom, there was like a gigantic role

3 (1h 2m 49s):
To get what you need

4 (1h 2m 51s):
To meet your need. I know,

2 (1h 2m 52s):
Right?

6 (1h 2m 56s):
Yeah. Like Brittany,

2 (1h 2m 58s):
Actually I asked, cause there is one day that I didn’t bring toilet paper with me because I thought, oh, you know what? Brittany’s going to have toilet paper if I need it. I’ll just ask Brittany.

4 (1h 3m 7s):
Yeah. They ate into the trips and it still wasn’t bringing toilet paper.

2 (1h 3m 10s):
I look at Brittany and I’m like, Hey Britt, can I have some TP? And she gives me the dirtiest look, you know that you need to bring your own toilet paper. I can’t believe like she’s toilet paper shaming me.

1 (1h 3m 23s):
Well, I don’t want to run out on for my own self.

2 (1h 3m 26s):
So then I was like, no, no, nevermind. It’s okay. I don’t need any toilet paper or whatever. And so Brittany’s like, oh, are you kidding me? Just take some toilet paper. So thanks Brett for that.

1 (1h 3m 35s):
You’re welcome.

3 (1h 3m 37s):
All right. Our very last question. And this is probably the most important one for China is do you need a VPN? Yes. What’s the VPN virtual private network basically routes your phone through another destination. Ours are putting us here in San Diego, in America. The VPN would route us through Sweden. So we needed it for China because does their government,

4 (1h 4m 4s):
Internet censorship rules that they have. Okay.

2 (1h 4m 6s):
There’s no social media

1 (1h 4m 8s):
Access. Facebook, you

3 (1h 4m 10s):
Google.

1 (1h 4m 10s):
You can access

4 (1h 4m 11s):
Google. You can tell

3 (1h 4m 14s):
It. I will die without Google

4 (1h 4m 16s):
Or social media.

3 (1h 4m 18s):
So, okay. You’re on a 10 day trip. You’re doing all these amazing things. You want to share them with the world and you need social media for that. You also need maps, Google maps. So the get a VPN. I can’t remember what company we went through, but I can do some research and we’ll put it in the show notes. But I think it was only about 12 bucks for a 30 day VPN. It’s very, very easy to get very easy to set up on your phone and will save your life. And I’m very passionate about those

1 (1h 4m 47s):
And pro tip when you’re done with the trip, turn the VPN or

3 (1h 4m 51s):
Cancel your subscription

1 (1h 4m 53s):
Because Zaina did not turn her VPN off when we landed in lax. And so we were taking the shuttle back to our car and she is so upset that she can’t access the internet. And she says, what did you say saying,

2 (1h 5m 8s):
I’m going to write my phone carrier a strongly worded letter. I don’t understand what’s going on with my internet. And so Brittany’s like, can I see your phone? And I’m like, what are you going to do? I can’t fix, I can’t

7 (1h 5m 18s):
Fit having a freak out. Oh my God,

4 (1h 5m 21s):
I didn’t have a freak out that. Oh,

3 (1h 5m 23s):
Oh, okay. This I’m sorry to interrupt. But this is extremely important. Zayna had a freakout in China that I have to talk about.

2 (1h 5m 32s):
I don’t consider it a freak out.

3 (1h 5m 35s):
Totally freak out

4 (1h 5m 36s):
At the museum.

3 (1h 5m 37s):
No. Okay. So she had to,

1 (1h 5m 41s):
It’s a marsh thing. The

3 (1h 5m 42s):
First one, I think we were in Shanghai, right? Where they had this cool wooden tubs in the, in the locker room.

2 (1h 5m 53s):
So

3 (1h 5m 54s):
Hotel, we all get a key card. You have to put the key card in the hole for the lights to come on. So Brittany and I did a tour of the hotel and we have, they have a gym and a sauna and they have these really cool, like four foot tall wooden bathtubs. And we’re like, all right, this is awesome. We’re going to come in here and bathtub then take pictures. So her and I put our robes on and we, I pull the key out of the cart and I go, I think Zane is in the shower. Zayna meanwhile comes out of the shower to the darkness.

2 (1h 6m 26s):
The darkness is turned on me in the shower.

3 (1h 6m 28s):
And I guess she’s like frantically searching for us. Like runs down to the gym. The guy doesn’t speak English. She’s like, did you see?

7 (1h 6m 37s):
And he’s like, what are you talking about? Crazy lady

2 (1h 6m 40s):
Was pretty excited.

3 (1h 6m 42s):
I think she knocked on your door. She couldn’t use the elevator cause she didn’t have the keys.

4 (1h 6m 46s):
Wait, wait, wait. So let me get this straight. You took the key card out of the wall that powers the electricity to the room. Hosea was in that. Okay. Okay. I just want to know

3 (1h 6m 56s):
Centuries and we were going back up. We forgot something.

1 (1h 7m 0s):
I don’t remember. I don’t

3 (1h 7m 1s):
Remember what it was, but we forgot something. So we’re heading back up and that’s where we ran into Zane. I was like, Ooh,

7 (1h 7m 5s):
Oh my God, it’s dark in the room.

3 (1h 7m 11s):
Are you talking

2 (1h 7m 13s):
Freak out with

1 (1h 7m 14s):
Definitely a freaking

2 (1h 7m 16s):
Exceeding. It was excitement from the chaos that the dark

1 (1h 7m 26s):
And they not also had one other freak out on the trip. And it was when we were at a museum and when we were on tour, because there’s so many people and because we’re all walking at different pieces, our tour guide wears a headset and we each have a little device called a whisper that plugs into his channel. And then you wear the headphones and he kept telling us like, when we would need the whispers and that day, Zena did not pack her whisper. So everyone was asking Zina like, where’s your whisper? Why didn’t you bring your whisper? Why don’t you have it?

2 (1h 8m 3s):
You know what? That was the day that we flew into Shianne. And so I had it in like a backpack or something, so I didn’t have it with me. And so then we didn’t even go to the hotel once we landed, it was just like onto the next. So I didn’t have it on me. I was fine. I just figured like, okay, well I’m not going to hear what everyone else is hearing whatever. But then everyone else was getting like, oh my gosh. See, you know, where’s your whisper, where’s your whisper. And so then, you know, I got like frustrated because I’m like, I’m not even complaining about the whisper. Oh, you know what? It was, our tour guide felt bad for me. So he gave me his whisper and I said, no, no, I’m fine. It’s okay. You know, it’s my fault. He’s all. No, no, take the whisper. So I take the whisper. And when I took the whisper, Jamal gave me another scoff.

2 (1h 8m 43s):
Like he did when I forgot my passport. And when he gave me that scoff, it set me off because I was like, everyone is on my case about the whisper and I’m fine without it. So then I gave it back to our tour guide and then I went and I cried and I found it, internet connection. And then I sent my best friend a message that Brittany’s trying to ruin my life. And he texts. Yeah. And then he like sends me back. Like, I don’t know what’s going on, but Zena, I really don’t think Brittany is trying to ruin your life. And I said, no, really? She is. And then like, I cried,

4 (1h 9m 19s):
You want to know how this situation could have been avoided. If you just remembered your whisper,

3 (1h 9m 24s):
You know what though? It’s actually good that you didn’t. Cause I didn’t love that museum. So you don’t need your whisper.

2 (1h 9m 31s):
Brittany’s really kind of boring. Not trying to ruin my life guys. She was just looking out,

4 (1h 9m 37s):
But moral of the story, VPN getting back on that VPN. Yeah. You’re definitely going to need it to access stuff that they have their internet since their ship rules for in China definitely comes in very useful. You’re going to need it.

3 (1h 9m 54s):
All right guys. Well, that’s all we have for you on this episode. Thank you so much for listening. I really hope that you enjoyed hearing about our trip to China,

5 (1h 10m 3s):
China,

3 (1h 10m 3s):
China, and I hope that this inspires you to get out there and see it for yourself. It’s a beautiful country,

4 (1h 10m 10s):
Please. Everyone subscribed to our podcast. Believer review. Tell us what you like and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

2 (1h 10m 19s):
And if you aren’t already be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter at Travel Squad Podcast.

1 (1h 10m 24s):
All right guys, next week, unpack your bags and stay tuned for our next episode. We’re doing something a little bit different. We are sharing with you how to travel often. All

3 (1h 10m 35s):
Right guys. See you next week.

1 (1h 10m 37s):
Bye

keep the adventures going

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