Say hello to my Little Friend…

This is my new favorite companion for traveling in Shenyang.  Seriously, this little thing is awesome.  I’d rather leave Joe behind than this handy little book.   It has just about any place you may want to go in Shenyang including hotels, housing, shopping, restaurants.

Each page is a different location.  First, with the name in English followed by the Chinese characters.  The address is at the bottom of the page, and some pages have a description of the place as well.  With this little book, we just hop in a cab, point at the page where we want to go, and hold on tight.  We’ve had no issues getting anywhere so far, knock on wood.  I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. I read quite a few bad experiences with dealing with taxis in China on other blogs.  Most drivers do not speak any English and even though we’ve been studying Mandarin for a couple months, they don’t understand anything we say.  Apparently, our pronunciation is atrocious and in Chinese, pronunciation is what it’s all about.  Even when we try to read pinyin (chinese words spelled out with letters) from our dictionary, the letters and consonants are so different, nothing comes across.  We’ve figured out that pointing is the way to go.

Oh, and guess what?  There’s an app for that.

I downloaded an app for my iPod Touch just for that.  It’s called “Me No Speak: China”  and has all kinds of categories with pictures and phrases for pointing.  Plus, if you tap on it, it will speak the phrase in Chinese. That way if you are feeling brave, you can try to talk to the person by repeating the phrase three or four times before you eventually have to point because, of course, they couldn’t understand any of what you were trying to say.  Then they just smile and try not to laugh at you butchering their language.

We haven’t found anywhere that we’ve wanted to go that wasn’t in this book.

Except for the art supply store…  Apparently, most people don’t know where that is.  I know, I was really surprised too.  They don’t have Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  (gasp!)  We had to ask 6 different people before we found one of the hotel staff who knew where to send us.  It is a cute little hole in the wall that seemed to have anything I would need, and the prices were pretty comparable to back home.  Now that I’ve found it, I plan to add it to The Book right away.

I predict that it and the foot massage place will be the first two pages worn out in my book.