So James is currently in Shanghai.
His company shipped him out there for three weeks to work at the Shanghai office and try to get some project back on track or something. I was desperately envious and wanted to go too, but alas, to push a visa through with that little notice, you have to have a major company and their wallet backing you. Next time!
So he’s in Shanghai, suffering extreme dislocation–he’s never been out of the country in his life, I don’t think he even went to Canada or Mexico. (Nothin’ like jumping in the deep end…) His biggest problem, of course, is that he doesn’t speak Mandarin, and the famed bilinguality of Shanghai is apparently something of a legend. No one on earth could learn Mandarin in three weeks, naturally, but I’m looking for suggestions for him–have you ever been dumped in a foreign country, and what little tips and tricks did you do to get by?
A few things already suggested–I suggested he concentrate on learning one word a day, starting with the yes/no, please/thank you, excuse me/I don’t understand kind of words, and he’s printed out the name and location of his hotel and office, in the Chinese characters, on dozens of slips of paper to hand to taxi drivers. But other little things like that I could pass along would be great!
China blocks my blog–probably all of LJ, I suspect–but I’ll e-mail him any highlights.