I spent about 24 hours at home. In that time, my parents equipped me with a suitcase, a cell phone that works in China, some Chinese money they had (b/c they travel there a lot), and countless words of warning.
- If you're going to give money to panhandlers, watch out, b/c once you give to one, a thousand more will swarm to you.
- Don't feel bad for the panhandlers, especially the children. Many of them were kidnapped from the countryside, had their limbs lopped off, and are basically panhandling hos for some panhandling pimp.
- Don't eat the seafood; it will kill you.
- Don't drink the water; it will kill you.
- Don't eat the chives; they will kill you.
- Don't eat the carrots; they are so ridden with pesticides and growth hormones that they continue to grow in their packaging; they will kill you.
- Don't pay the posted price for anything; they are marked up 1000%; haggle, haggle, haggle; it will kill you.
- Don't wear one of those money-belts; they will be cut off of you.
- If you need to change money, do it at a bank or they will give you counterfeit money.
- They have Starbucks in the big cities.
I don't know how much of this is true, but it's taking all my worldly sensibilities not to fall into the trap of my childhood where I believed everything they said because they were my parents. I was a stupid, stupid child.