Everything is bigger in China. Texas, GTFO.
A big part of the difficulty here (and anywhere you don't speak the language) is getting over embarrassment. You're going to have a million awkward interactions where someone's talking at you and you don't know what they're saying, or you need to ask just one simple thing and you don't have the word, and then you just have to both kinda sheepishly smile and walk away.
Finding good Chinglish is just too easy. If I had room in my bag, I'd have bought at least three t-shirts by now. On day 1 I took a picture of a "Fire Extubgyusber" -- which now is not even in the top 10 silliest signs I've seen.
Lijiang is an old town turned into deluxe shopping, a Carmel by the sea of China. It's extraordinarily cute. There are 10 shops repeated over and over again. You can buy, over and over again, a jade bracelet, a Pu-erh tea disk, a silver bracelet, a flower cake, general convenience store stuff, clothes, travel services, or a hand drum. Not sure why all the hand drums. Still, somehow it's pretty and not tacky. I think the stone streets and pretty old houses have something to do with it.
Frickin' Great Firewall. I was right when I said that of our 3 VPNs, at least one would work. Hang on, we're getting geeky. I have my CMU VPN, my Private Internet access.com VPN, and Tati has a NordVPN. CMU doesn't work - of course not! It only VPNs traffic to a few select IP ranges (I think that is what's going on). PIA works (but is slow, so it goes). Nord doesn't work - not sure if that's because of Nord, or because Tati didn't finish setting it up before we left, or because Facebook has its IT tentacles somewhere into Tati's phone, and they (wisely) lock some things down if you say you're going to China. Not sure what all they've locked down, but the following things don't work:
- Facebook VPN (obv)
- Nord VPN (like I said)
- Bluetooth connecting to my phone so she can share my VPN for a minute
- Connecting to my portable WiFi Hotspot.
- Seriously, why the hell does that not work.
- Anyway, we're sort of at a loss; that was kinda all the backups I had planned for her phone. Welp.