Pre-take-off de-briefing. So far my research into traveling to China has revealed:

  • Bring your own toilet paper. Public restrooms don’t provide same.
  • No shorts.
  • Boil water. Twice. (I procured a travel water filter that claims to eliminate 99.9% of all bad stuff.)

Other than that – I have no idea what I’m getting into. When I travel I like to have very few pre-conceptions and just go with an open mind. Open minds get all the new information without filters. No filters is a difficult concept. When you live in a world and don’t pay attention to your pre-conceptions, you don’t know you have preconceptions so you can’t set them aside to receive input without judgement, Here’s an example.

In the US, restaurants are all about turnover and getting as many people in and out of the restaurant as possible in a given evening. Ergo, you get the check plunked down on the table about four seconds after the dessert order is placed (or not). The waitron always says, there’s no hurry, but you know they are done with you and now would be a good time to leave. Ask for more coffee and you get the grimace.

When US folks go to restaurants in foreign countries, the story is a little different. They believe folks go to restaurants to enjoy each other’s company, and dinner might be an extended even of two, maybe even three hours. For them, it is an insult to bring the check before the party decides the evening has come to a close and asks for it. Ergo, US folks sit at the table after the dessert order and fume and get all worked up because the waiter(ess) hasn’t brought the check. The filter came with them from the US culture.