Being a foreigner (or as they call us here: Lǎo Wài) is a strange thing here in South China. You won’t have any issues if you stay in your hotel room, but as soon as you venture out the adventure starts!
How do I know which store sells what? How do I know if I got a shampoo or a conditioner, a laundry detergent or a fabric softner? And most importantly how do I know what and how to order at the restaurant? (It greatly helps if you do not have any dietary restrictions and you are the “I eat everything” type.) A lot of signs don’t use pinyin so I feel like a child who can’t read. When they ask something at the store or restaurant you just hope it’s not something important. If they didn’t realize you don’t speak the language the simple phrase “Wǒ bù dǒng”* (I don’t understand) will help.