Talking but not being understood in Western China

It’s incredibly difficult to have a conversation with someone when they don’t understand you and vice versa! Sign language goes a long way, as do exaggerated facial expressions! Pictures on the wall in restaurants sort of help, we have an app called “Point it”, which gets us to trains and planes.

People want to talk to us. But sometimes, when we enter a shop or hotel, you can almost see mild panic on their faces! What do we do about these tourists?? The iPad translator app has been helpful, but only when online…otherwise we just take screen shots to show people later.

Maps have been another challenge, street signs are sometimes in English, but the spelling is often different, so we have to ask ourselves is this the same place?

We get mixed reactions from people, lots want to take a photo, ask where we come from ( I show them a map) or want to know how old we are! Some little kids just start bawling, or shrink behind their mums!

Well it’s been quite exhausting! But fun! A big smile goes a long way! Being polite and respectful is also highly recommended. We have had our passports checked, photocopied and photographed numerous times. Today when we arrived at the train station, we had to report to the police before we were allowed to leave the station!

PS We are in Hami, also called Kumul. There are fossilised dinosaur eggs, and look closely at the food…it’s a display made out of stones, the Chinese are so creative! 


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