International Trip to China: Novice Travelers vs. Veteran Travelers

Pages: 4 (1795 words) Published: May 20, 2013
Traveling internationally is always eye-opening. No matter how much you read ahead of time, you'll be confronted with culture and custom that you are unprepared for. The farther removed the culture is from your own, the more you can expect to be surprised. Novice travelers will struggle with the basics... everything from getting a cab to finding a public bathroom can offer a challenge. Veteran travelers will be more secure with the small stuff and that may offer them a firm-enough foundation to give them the confidence to try the more challenging things. That is where we were on our recent adoption trip to China: Veteran third-time travelers who were confident that we could do anything and blend right in. Our trip to the real Chinese restaurant taught us otherwise. It was our second week in China. We were there with our two previously adopted Chinese children, ages ten and eleven, and we'd just added a new family member. She was a new daughter, age twelve, and she spoke not a word of English. Things had been going very well, and our new daughter was really fitting in seamlessly. This being our third trip, we felt pretty cocky. We snickered good-naturedly as first-time travelers timidly peeked outside the doors of the hotel onto the Chinese thoroughfare. They might make a run for the McDonald’s now and again, or go all the way up the block to KFC, but actually heading out into the big city, sans guide, was not on their bucket list for the time being. That was not for us. We decided that we'd all head out to an authentic local restaurant, the sort frequented by the Chinese rather than by westerners; the type with plastic curtains rather than doors; a restaurant with no western influences beyond the ubiquitous presence of Coca-Cola products.Three hungry children herded between us, my wife and I set out to find just the right place. We headed out the less-frequently-used rear entrance of Guangzhou's China Hotel, which spilled out onto the broad Panfu Avenue, a...
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