Sharing a USA Experience Through A Chinese Person’s Eyes

Posted by Michael Michelini on Mar 02 2014

I’m still recovering from jet lag and just pure exhaustion from the 33 day USA roadtrip – back in China now for a bit over a week. And my wife Wangxia (Wendy) spent each day making a daily dairy (in Chinese) and has finally compiled and released it.

She sent it to me this Sunday afternoon and I had to Google translate it. I am truly amazed to see her reactions and bullet points below, and since I have to translate it to fully digest it – of course I feel its worth sharing here on my own blog!

The original post can be found on her QQ zone: http://user.qzone.qq.com/4784728/share/1393682061

I used Google translate to get it started, but then “human” translated to get rid of the Chinglish:

Roadtrip Around USA 33 days traveling by car

To visit the United States of America, I believe that is a dream for most people! After college I became interested in American culture, and having graduated from school 12 years ago, I still remember reading the book Hillary autobiography. I had a dream that when I went to the United States, they will have witnessed their first woman President , and the world would not be the same ! Can the current U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton become the next U.S. president ? Of course, I did not expect to marry an American, and be able to travel around the United States – the thought had never even crossed my mind! All the heavens, sometimes really like a dream come true, and there might be more dreams to come true, chances are that you too have a dream, that is everything!

So this trip around U.S. , thanks to all step carefully arranged by Mike and his friend Attila – both a personal and business trip for me, this trip is such a rare experience . But the most grateful is the baby growing in my belly, with a brave hope to grow up, just like mom and dad, to love adventure, to love challenges , to love to travel, doing something you enjoy – it is like a stubborn growth!

Everything went according to plan safe and smooth by the end of the trip seemed to be crazy! Road Trip through America travel by car , an entire 10,000 km , which lasted 33 days ( Jan 16 to Feb 19 ) , a van, three small partner ( my husband and his friend Attila , this little RV) , from west to east coast , from north to south, crossing more than 20 states, cities and attractions , the impressive places such as San Francisco, Seattle , South Dakota, New York, Washington DC, Florida , Grand Canyon , Las Vegas etc. , the way we are so lucky , good weather accompanied, really so grateful ! :)

A lot of my friends asked me how it felt to go to the United States? I can only say that this trip to travel around the United States, from the geographical and cultural , have a preliminary understanding , the United States , is about 9,629,000 square kilometers of land area, 50 states, only one of our population a fraction of the more than 300 million , before watching the gap between China and the U.S. reported that 100 years , we want to go into the year of 2080 for China to be considered a developed country. I really appreciate the difference, but did not think the gap is so big, from the life of infrastructure, we are building the building, every family has a car, ease of travel in airports, and high-speed rail, I feel the biggest difference is the quality of people , policy and legal system , education, health care system, their money, attitude to work and life.

Some friends asked me if I would choose to live in the United States, and to immigrate which cities, I would choose – so below they are, in order of preference:

  1. San Francisco: San Francisco like the blue sky and temperatures , many large corporations and elite schools , good atmosphere , but also rich area, very high cost of living!
  2. Seattle : relatively cheap even moved some of the feel of the old town , there are some well-known large companies here are good for work and life .
  3. New York : New York is the fashion , whether it is work or business, opportunities are numerous, fast-paced , a bit like Hong Kong , but too many people , the city is too small , a little chaotic.
  4. Washington, DC: Government located place , always feeling a little heavy , but relatively speaking, decent jobs here some more, a vast area , housing is also more comfortable and spacious .
  5. Florida : retirement is more appropriate, as for the job here is absolutely inappropriate .
  6. Chicago : in the northern region , the general feeling cold, giving the impression that the city is an old town with a fashionable , people engage in arts and culture to live here.

Note: Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to go Los Angeles and San Diego , so I cannot comment.

Tips for Traveling in America by car:

essential items :
a visa credit card – basically all consumer , you can use visa card , unless the street to buy things that Americans rarely with cash consumption
a paper map of the United States ; ( because it is driving, navigation is essential , but there is no signal of individual sections , so the paper map is a must ;)

Mandatory Mobile App Software:
yelp- similar to Dian Ping app , to reach every local city to find accommodation and delicious restaurant place there is! )

Google maps- where to go on the trip along with google map , especially in the choice of the road , do not lose the basic run . )

Waze- similar to Figure it ‘s navigation software , the choice of the road can use google map, excursions and more convenient to use waze , the most important is not just navigation, real-time understanding of the situation along the police , the accident congestion , we will use waze share real-time information . )

Transportation Tips:

  1. traffic : In addition to inclement weather or traffic jam near New York and Washington will have road , other basic all the way through , and even no cars on the road . American highway construction is very broad and flat , and the design is very reasonable and not out of a serious accident basically . Able to drive in China , the United States basically a piece of cake .
  2. tolls : Basic negligible , the entire toll road Few , very few roads and road sections in the vicinity of New York and Washington, fees , also 3-5 dollars less .
  3. speed : Average speed 50-70 miles of road , almost China ‘s 80-130 step , try not speeding, police caught speeding fines That was quite high .
  4. No speed cameras : camera because the threat of the privacy of citizens , so there is no camera on American highways, downtown cities have some of them thanks to police enforcement !
  5. Police: Police will open the way police hidden in every corner of the ” lie alive “, so do not leave things to chance my heart , passing in front of them , be sure to slow down , do not get their attention . If the police stopped the driver to get off as soon as possible , to be humble and sincere attitude , and actively cooperate with their enforcement , otherwise you have to face high fines alone, and you need to go to the police station to complete the journey . Of course, the software you use waze will get to the part of the police ‘s whereabouts . Some remote road, the police will be very limited !
  6. traffic rules : Americans are driving rules, not arbitrarily change lanes and jump the queue , if the urgent need to open some early turn signal . As with China , the most heretical fast lane , if you drive slowly let the line. See the stop sign, be sure to confirm that there is no car parking to continue driving, while some cities are not red light , turn right , the specific labeling requirements according to open it ! Do not mess Parking must be parked in the parking position to allow the majority are self- parking , you can pay by credit card , you can use some cash , you need to immediately stop charging machine Pay After looking cars, Americans are very particular about the integrity of , if caught not paying , but also very serious personal credit problems. Driving in the United States must be more unruly , unlike the Chinese how on how you want to , on the one hand the police will arrest you, on the one hand you do not know that violent -tempered encounter on the road , car windows shot burst your head , private Americans have a lot of guns .
  7. driver’s license : reportedly holding a Chinese driver’s license , to the notary office or formal translation company can be, but also said there must be an international driver’s license before they can drive in the United States , because I do not need to drive, so that I did not figure out . Car seemingly without international driver’s license .
  8. fuel costs : oil prices are more than three dollars a gallon. Very cheap. Our car ‘s tank car is 2 times , each time to fill a tank of oil for about 70 dollars. Also, the fuel is self-service, add oil to the inside finish payment .
  9. Accommodation: Hotels can choose an ordinary motel6, like seven days , the price of 30-50 dollars, the price is slightly different in different places . Often there will be various hotels at the highway’s exit . Because each city we visited a friend’s house more accommodation would choose a hotel or guesthouse only hurry. Of course, the most direct way is to use yelp software , accessories cost-effective choice .
  10. meals: dinner is not to say , look at their own pockets choice. Fast food , it is recommended burger king / taco bell / wendy ‘s / denny’ s / subway / starbucks / dunkin donuts / in-n-out burger, are delicious inexpensive fast food , generally high-speed exit has seemingly Americans rarely eat McDonald’s and KFC and Pizza Hut, say delicious. Fast food , pay attention to the meal , clear the table and consciously put the rubbish into the bin. If you want to eat Chinese food, American cities have a Chinatown basically , you can go there to find Chinese food, or have a lot of Chinese food buffet buffet restaurant also, some relatively clean , but most American Chinese food, not so good authentic eat.
  11. Weather: Because we belong to winter travel around , so the whole trip north or in the majority of the snow , well then we’re lucky , Chicago snowstorm ( news reports schools are on holiday ) , just the next day we arrived in Chicago ; New York snowstorm ( New York City has its casualties ) , happened that day, we left early in the morning in New York . Along the way, also often encounter rain and fog days, but the United States good road conditions , generally unruly open , as long as the weather is not too extreme , do not worry too much , you can continue driving.

Reflections of USA vs China Living

  1. water : America’s water, you can drink in the open , which makes me very envious , beginning not dare to drink , drink a month back , had never diarrhea. They do not know how the construction of the water mains . Of course, money can buy mineral water to drink , the cheapest two dollars a vial.
  2. tipping : Basically a taxi , meals , services need to tip their waiter income mainly comes from the tip , under normal circumstances before tax of 10% -15 % can be.
  3. tax : buy anything and consumption taxes are extra for . China is secretly income tax , the United States is closing out the surface , so buy something , they have to count , then plus tax is the ultimate price. Taxes are not the same for each continent , specifically to see their consumer orders!
  4. Courtesy: another job is reflected in the quality of the citizens of these details , the Americans know or do not know whether it is , as long as the meet will say hello to each other a smile , you will consciously fight each other and say hello . Usually must “Excuse me excuse me!”, ” Please please!”, ” Thank you, thank u!”; ” Sorry sorry!”, These words hanging mouth , otherwise it will be considered rude , unfriendly !

Our Itinerary of the tour through the United States, cities and attractions

  1. California
    ( San Francisco san Francisco; Lake Tahoe lake tahoe; Palo Alto, palo alto, stanford , Stanford University )
  2. Oregon oregon
  3. Washington washington state ( Seattle seattle)
  4. Montana montana
  5. South Dakota south dakota (2 national parks , Mount rushmore national memorial; Badlands National Park)
  6. Illinois illinois ( Chicago chicago)
  7. Ohio ohio
  8. New York, new york ( Niagara Falls niagaracity falls; New York, new york)
  9. Connecticut connecticut ( Hartford hartford; New Haven new haven; Yale yale university )
  10. New Jersey, new jersey ( Atlantic City Atlantic City)
  11. Virginia virginia ( Washington washington DC)
  12. North Carolina north carolina
  13. South Carolina south carolina
  14. Georgia georgia
  15. Florida florida ( Port St. Lucie ST Lucie; Miami miami)
  16. Mississippi mississippi
  17. Louisiana louisiana ( New Orleans new or lean)
  18. Texas texas ( Dallas dallas)
  19. New Mexico new mexico
  20. Arizona arizona ( Grand Canyon National Park, grand canyon)
  21. Nevada nevada ( Las Vegas las Vegas; Red Rock Canyon National)
  • Australian Chinese in LA

    No Los Angeles and Hollywood??

  • Marshall

    Wow that’s really awesome to read Wendy’s thoughts on her US trip. Appreciate you posting that!

  • neutron

    Road Trip through America travel by car , an entire 100,000 km , which lasted 33 days

    Actually, I believe it’s 10,000 km :P

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, same here, awesome post. I giggled here and there because I was with her 90% of the time during the road trip and she was just so quiet most of the time. Er hem, I mean sleeping, or asking if we’re there yet or asking when’s the next pee stop, LOL ~ Great trip + loads of memories.

About Mike

American internet dude living in China (since '07) helping western companies leverage Chinese social media for business.

Passionate for working with more like-minded internet entrepreneurs. Love international business & connecting, and working on ways to give hard working people global opportunities. (Read More...)

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