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True Cultural Experience

Call a cab in New York and call a cab in China and let me know what you think. It is quite a feat to get a cab in the middle of Tian Jin–far more difficult than getting a cab in New York City. With some help from a girl from Florida State University, we finally got a few cabs for our first night out on the town. Only four people can ride in a cab so we all had to split up.


It is hard to even explain the traffic in Tian Jin. There are basically no road rules, so people just walk and drive. There is a lot, and I mean a lot, of honking and congestion at all times. I saw my life flash before my eyes five times as buses, bikes, and cars came at my side of the cab and then just glided by. I have no clue how wrecks do not happen constantly.


We were given the written way to tell the cab driver the place we wanted to go. I had to attempt to say the Chinese word since he could not read it. We were going to the karaoke bar, Helen’s, that UNA students who studied in China last year told us about. Florida State guys gave us the Chinese name.


We had no idea where we were going or if we would end up at the right place. Our cab driver dropped my car off literally on the side of the road. We had to scale a cement wall in the middle of a highway to avoid being ran over. When we spotted a KFC we ran to get directions from them assuming they had to know English. We then saw the rest of our group– we screamed and yelled and hugged like crazy Americans.


After being reunited and crossing the street, which was extremely frightening, we found Helen’s! We walked up the extremely sketchy steps with worried looks on our faces, but once we got inside, it was probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. American music and American food. That’s all we needed. We had one of the best nights of the trip, and I think we definitely got a cultural experience thanks to our cab driver.

Kaitlin Chappell

Ni hao! My name is Kaitlin Chappell. I am a junior (soon to be senior) at the University of North Alabama. I am majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in marketing. My dream is to be a news reporter and eventually an anchor on Good Morning America. I love to talk and I love to meet new people and hear their stories. I love love and laughing. Coffee shops are one of my obsessions. Traveling is another. I will be studying abroad in China for three weeks at Tian Jian University. I will be exploring several different areas of China, learning the language and customs, and meeting the people. I will blog and post pictures and videos to capture my trip. Join me on my adventures in the great land of China.

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