"The man who goes alone can start today;
But he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready"

-Henry David Thoreau

Conversations via Calculator in Guangzhou, China with Teni

Dear NT Diary,

Teni (yes we can call her that ‘cause we are friends now) got us cracking telling us about her trip to China. Communicating via calculator…hahaha…we died.

Okay let her tell you all about it herself…

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Let me start off by saying I am a major foodie (I love trying new food), shopaholic (I can’t help it) and a bit of an adventurer.

Oh by the way I’m Teniola but my friends and family call me Teni. My father and I own a shipping company called Beltokcargo. We ship goods via Air cargo and sea cargo from U.S.A to Nigeria, Nigeria to the U.S.A to individuals and companies (@Beltokcargo on instagram)

Back to travel…

I travel at least twice a year. It helps that I have both green and blue passports and with all the visa wahala I use my blue passport to travel most of the time.

So far I’ve been to 12 countries but I’ll be telling you about my trip to China.

My sister was getting married so we took a trip to China to go fabric and wedding shopping. The trip was 19 hours total from New York. From JFK airport to Beijing was 13 hours, 2 hour layover in Beijing and then from Beijing to Guangzhou was another 4 hours.

There were no visa hassles but if you are going to apply for visa you need an invitation letter. A company or someone who is a citizen has to send a letter of invitation with your reasons for wanting to visit. My mom has business partners in China so getting a letter was not a problem. Also it was not my first visit to china so that also helped.

My sister, mom and I arrived Guangzhou and the plan was to go wedding shopping. Guangzhou is one of the big shopping districts in China. A lot of things that we order online come from this city. Whatever you can imagine is sold in Guangzhou’s endless stores. Since English is not their first language you communicate with the store owners via Calculator. Yes Calculator!! We basically had to negotiate by typing what we wanted to pay into a calculator and the store owner would type how much they wanted to charge us into a calculator. And your negotiating game must be STRONG. This calculator conversation was the biggest cultural adjustment for me. That and having to take off our shoes before entering the bridal stores we visited.

For anything leather, we went to the Leather Market; Fashion: Railway station; Watches: The Watch Market; and for Nigerian traditional fabric (aso ebi) you’d find different sellers all over the place.

I stayed at the Ocean Hotel, 412 Huanshi Dong Lu Guangzhou, and for food, in true foodie fashion, I ate a lot at the night market although there’s always a McDonald’s close by.

The most unforgettable experience on this trip was the time my sister and I could not find a taxi after a long day of shopping. We had no choice but to take a bike taxi back to the hotel. Hahaha

What I love most about China is the food. Food!! The food is so fresh and authentic. Unlike the Chinese food we eat in the US or Nigeria, the one in China is always made fresh. The people are very hardworking, friendly and very inviting. We made new friends along the way. 

So here’s a few recommendations for anyone looking to visit:

  • Always know where you are going. Have the name of the place in Chinese. 90% of the cab drivers can’t speak or read in English. 
  • Try the street foods. AMAZING!
  • Have your calculator with u all the times. You can bargain EVERYTHING.
  • Don’t spend too much money on a hotel

So that’s it about my trip to China but a bucket list worthy trip I have to mention and that I absolutely loved was my trip to Rome earlier this year. Seeing the Colosseum was just amazing. History right before my eyes.  We also saw St. Peter’s Basilica, which was so beautiful. Side bar…I also loved the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

On the top of my list of places to visit are Mallorca in Spain, Florence in Italy, Monaco and St. Tropez (French Riviera) and Bali (but I am going in a few weeks, and I’m really excited)

The people you meet along the way, the culture and the food are what I love most about travelleing so if you’re ever trying to decide between getting me a new phone or plane ticket…plane ticket for sure!! It’s the window to a new world.

Okay I have to run. I’m off to Dubai and Bali in a few weeks and hopefully I’ll be back to tell you all the juicy details of my trip. You can sneak a peek before I’m back here on my instagram (@tentenlooks) and snapchat (tenten2829)

Happy Holidays :)

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