The adventures of an American Born Chinese in China.
My friend Nancy Hang is a young jetsetter and trendsetter. She’s already filled up four passports and she’s only in her early 20’s! She meticulously plans for her yearly trip abroad, selecting one foreign destination per year and giving herself plenty of time to research, plan and purchase the lowest airfares available online. This year, she thought she’d try China. In spite of being Chinese, Nancy had never visited the country her parents were born in until this year. Adding excitement to her trip: Nancy does not speak Mandarin.
I caught up with Nancy a day after she returned from her very first trip to China.
Florin: So this was your first time in China. How come you waited this long?
Nancy: I wanted to experience the culture and see what it’s all about and the time just felt right. Every year I select my “domestic and international destinations of the year,” Last year I got a hot deal to New Zealand & Australia. This year I went to China and next year I’m thinking of going to South America or Africa.
Florin: So you flew to China on Cathay Pacific, how did you decide on the airline and what did you think of their service?
Nancy: I knew that my trip would end in Hong Kong so I went with Cathay as they fly nonstop from San Francisco to Hong Kong and besides, Cathay serves the best cup noodles!
Florin: Tell me about their Cup a Noodle.
Nancy: They are so delicious, maybe it’s all the MSG! And these are not your ordinary store brand ones, these are very special Cathay Pacific brand of cup noodles!
Florin: How was Cathay in Coach Class?
Nancy: Great, we checked in early (good tip!) and they hooked us up and put us in bulkhead seats (the first ones on the coach class cabin with no seats in front, only assigned upon check in at the airport), there’s extra legroom there and I’m tall so it was perfect!
Florin: So you flew from San Francisco to Hong Kong, but your final destination was Beijing.
Nancy: Cathay doesn’t fly to Beijing directly, so we stopped over in Hong Kong and we took a low cost carrier flight on Dragon Air from Hong Kong to Beijing. I used vayama’s new Hong Kong based website to find the cheapest Hong Kong to Beijing airfare, it was like having a Hong Kong bucketshop in my living room.
Florin: So what were your impressions of Beijing?
Nancy: Beijing is very historical, with I liked. However, there are no such things as lines; it’s every man for himself!
Florin: You were in culture shock. But it must have been a culture shock both ways as the locals must have thought that you were a native and must have tried to speak to you in Mandarin.
Nancy: Yes, half of the time they would try to speak to me in Mandarin. I’m taller than most people over there so some knew right away that I was a tourist.
Florin: How was The Forbidden City?
Nancy: Very historical, my two travelling companions and I brought these panda hats at the market and wore it during the guided tour of the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. I named my panda hat “Chairman Mao” and Cynthia named hers, “Dragon Lady”.