This summer (June 2005) Kelly and I took a 19-day vacation to China. We used Brendan Tours for this trip since we had such a great time with them last year in the Galapagos Islands. Our tour started out in Shanghai, then Wuhan and Yichang with a 4 day cruise on the Yangtze river through the three gorges and the dam project. Later, we visited Chongquing, Guilin, Yangshuo and the Li river. In Xian, we saw the famous Terra Cotta Warriors. In Bejing, we visited several temples, the Forbidden palace, Tiananmen square and the Great Wall.China Tour Map:
The map below shows the route we covered. Blue dotted lines are in-country flights. The red dotted line shows the four day cruise on the Yangtze river. There were also several smaller routes to lesser cities not shown in this scale.
The Chinese language is one of the most difficult foreign languages for an American to grasp. The sounds and structure are so different, that it's just about impossible to come away with anything even after visiting for 3 weeks. Also, there are many different dialects throughout the country. Some words and phrases differ only by an inflection between Mandarin and Cantonese, yet the locals can't seem to figure out what the other is trying to say, even when used in context.
English has been taught in the grade schools for a number of years now, so most people under the age of 25 or so can speak or understand enough English to converse with you. You may still have some trouble with older people, or those out in the country.
Nonetheless, you can pretty much get by with knowing just a few simple words or phrases. The following translations will take care of most of your needs:
|zao shang hao||zowl shang how||Good morning|
|yu shi||you shee||Bathroom|
|xie xie||she-a she-a||Thank you|
|duo da niu||do da knee-o||How much for the little girl?|