We had a brief visit to Helsinki, and also caught the ferry across to Tallinn for a few days. It was an amazingly beautiful city, even despite the rainy days.
In most other places we’ve travelled, you can read a sign or a menu and take a stab at saying it - the local will usually laugh but get the gist of what you’re trying to say.
But in China, it’s impossible for us to even attempt to say a word written in Chinese, which makes for an interesting time ordering in local restaurants!
The problem is that unless you get your order 100% correct, the Chinese waiters are perplexed. Even though we’re saying a word which must sound a tiny bit like “beer” in Chinese, and we’re miming drinking beer and pointing at the next guy who’s drinking a beer, we often get a soup or chopsticks instead…..
There seems to be a huge cultural gap between our way of thinking and the Chinese way of thinking. Things we take for granted simply have no meaning here. For example, showing someone a map, pointing at the ground, then pointing at the map and making “where are we?” gestures elicits blank stares.
We’ve seen some amazing sights so far, including a beautiful 2-day hike up Mt Huangshan - the scenery was absolutely stunning, and the path through the mountains was an engineering feat.
We’ve been pretty adventurous in terms of eating street food, but stopped short at ordering a live bunny, snake, eel or turtle from the side of the road. I mean, it’s nice to have fresh food and all but poor Floppsy….