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Where We Are: Shanghai, China

One thing we try to do in every country is learn how to say thank you in the local language. It’s a small gesture, and we definitely wish we could speak more fluently in every language (we REALLY do), but we’ve found that a simple thank you generally gets us pretty far in the eyes of the locals.

When we were in Hungary, the word for thank you was “Köszi”. We’ve both speak a decent amount of German and managed to hit the umlaut (ö) pretty well. Apparently most English speakers can’t do that, so we got a lot of compliments on our pronunciation.

Trying to say thank you in Chinese is the exact opposite of that. Our English-trained mouths just can’t make the sounds required to speak Mandarin and it’s borderline comical and pathetic. We got smiles for our efforts in Korea, but in China, we’re pretty sure they just here us muttering syllables and don’t make the connection at all that it’s supposed to be Xièxiè (“thank you”).

Welcome to China!

Getting into to China is a chore. It’s the only country we planned to come to that required a Visa in advance (and a hefty fee). Applying for a visa requires flight confirmations in and out of the country, as well as hotel accommodations, which means you have to pay for all of those things before you even know China will allow you in. Fortunately China let us in. Before we left the US, we got our passports stamped with a 10-year visa to China (like, it’s a pain to get in the first time, but after that, they’re like, “you’re good, come whenever!”).

While securing the Visa was a bit tricky, entering the country physically actually went pretty smoothly. There was no line at customs and our pre-arranged Visa allowed us to breeze through customs. We had a bit of a SNAFU in the taxi on our way in (more to come on that), but we eventually arrived at our first destination: Shanghai Disneyland.

That’s actually as far as we’ve gotten in Shanghai so far, which I’m 100% sure is not an accurate depiction of the city itself. I haven’t even been into the actual park yet (we’ve been here for about 12 hours). So be sure to check out the city stats below, and I’ll update you shortly on  everything else soon. Just wanted to check in on our current location.

What you need to know:

  • Population: 24 million (like what?!?! That’s INSANE!!!)
  • Altitude: 4 meters
  • Exchange Rate: 6.52 China Yuan to $1 USD
  • Primary Language: Chinese (Mandarin)  and some English
  • Walking Tour: No, sadly. Doesn’t seem to be a thing in Asia.
  • Time Zone: China Time Zone, UTC +8 (14 hours ahead of US Central Time)
  • Taxi: Yes and it’s crazy regulated
  • Uber: No
  • Public Transit: Bus & Train
  • Emergency Number: 119
  • Running: We are going to scope out the running trails when we get to the city. Shanghai Disneyland has some great trails, though.
  • American Football: Doubtful. We have not seen or heard of any.
  • Starbucks: Yes, many.
  • Local Starbucks Specialty: Their local holiday drinks are new and fun! They had a white chocolate pine nut latte with green whipped cream and a Panettone (the Italian holiday cake/bread) latte, which were both delicious. Possibly more local options, but the store we went to didn’t have a posted menu!
  • McDonald’s Veggie Burger: Nope!
  • Coffee Price:  39 China Yuan (~6 USD) for a holiday latte
  • Beer Price: 50  China Yuan for a local bottled beer (~$8 USD)