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12 Chinese Travel Tips for Visiting America

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China does a lot of business and trade with the United States, and so there are many websites devoted to helping business people navigate American peculiarities. Using Google to translate advice written in “simplified Han” for Chinese readers into English allows Americans a tiny, possibly imprecise peek into how the people of China view life in the United States. As always, we welcome comments and clarifications from Chinese-readings Flossers.

1. If an American Goes Silent, You’re in Trouble

Americans do not like silence. They will keep talking, so as not to abort the conversation, without a moment’s pause. If you do not make a sound for a long time, the Americans will try to get you to join in the conversation. They might ask if you are physically uncomfortable, or if you need help. However, if Americans do not agree with what you say, then there may be silence. Them not saying anything doesn’t necessarily mean that they agree with you, but that they think continuing the debate with you will not be polite. [Source]

2. They Don’t Realize How Weird it is to Just Call Them by Their First Name

Americans do not pay attention to "status," especially social status. Most Americans do not want their relationship with you to be affected by age or social standing. If you act especially respectful to them, they will be uncomfortable. Many Americans feel even "Mr.," "Mrs.," and "Miss" titles are too polite. Regardless of age, everyone likes to be called by their first names. However, if you feel bad using their first names, you can just smile at each other.

Since differences in social class are not taken seriously in the US, Americans have no hereditary family title. Instead, the Americans sometimes have occupational title. This title is different from the family title, because it is on its own, "earned" rather than handed down by the ancestors. Their career titles are most commonly that of a judge, senior government officials, military officers, doctors, professors and religious leaders.

3. They Deliberately Do Their Own Laundry

America is a "do-it-yourself" country. Americans in general, whether doctors, professors, businessmen, or lawyers, do their own cooking, laundry, shopping and other work. In fact, many Americans can afford to spend money to have cooks and drivers, but they do not do so. They prefer to enjoy a quiet family, and if the family has hired a helper, there is less sense of quiet.

When the American family eats, the food is either served from a central dish, or the host or hostess gives out food to the guests. Most families do not have a waiter, the cook is usually the wife, and the husband makes cocktails.

4. They Don’t Know Anything about China but Don’t Let It Bother You

You may encounter some Americans who know little about your country. If there is such a case, please tolerate them. Unfortunately, very few Americans are schooled on the culture and customs of other countries. America spans from one ocean to another, and all the other countries are far away. As a result, Americans are not too familiar with the cultures and different ways of working in other countries.

See Also: 11 French Travel Tips for Visiting America

5. Stop Everything, Listen up, and No Interrupting

Americans like eloquent, witty conversations. Although American society is filled with an atmosphere of informality, they expect a different attitude when listening to someone speak. The American generally wants the listener to stop everything at hand and listen to him.

Americans do not like to be interrupted when speaking; the best guests have the best ears. Americans also allow others to criticize the United States; a host often asks what the guests think of the United States, and he would be happy to exchange views. [Source]

6. Don’t Get Too Close. They Might Knock You Over With Their Constant Gestures

When two men talk, a distance of 1.2 m apart is appropriate, otherwise it will make the listener uneasy. When a group of people participate in the conversation, you usually have to know one of the people to join. But at a party or other informal social occasion, just say "I can attend?" Slightly introduce yourself, and you can participate in the conversation.

For conversations, a distance of more than 50 cm must be maintained. If you have to move closer, or must sit next to someone closely, get the consent of the other party.

Americans like to use gestures. To ask you to answer the phone, they will make a phone gesture. They will call the waiter with a check writing gesture. Also, Americans do not give each other business cards as a matter of course; only when the cards are needed to facilitate future contact.

7. Handshakes: You’ll probably need a cheat sheet

After a brief introduction, exchange a firm handshake, so Americans will think you are frank and sincere. In business cases, the U.S. woman will take the initiative to reach out to the man. Women generally do not shake hands with each other. If the Miss doesn’t offer a handshake, the men should nod or bow. And handshakes with a Miss are not too tight. Gloves before shaking hands should be taken off, and if it is too late to take them off, you should apologize. A farewell does not have handshakes. You wave your hand to say “goodbye!”

8. If Their Haircut is Ugly, Make Your Eyes Bright and Say, “Cute!”

Always smile when you meet acquaintances. Your tone when speaking should be sincere, you should have a generous attitude when someone greets you, and speak as concisely as possible. Multi-praise each other. Your eyes should get a little brighter when someone changes a hairstyle, or when you see other people's photos. There is a good time to praise. If the changes or photos are bad, find another way to appear pleasant, such as saying "Cute!"

See Also: 10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America

9. You May Not Fondle Furnishings

Guests cannot come early, it is rude. You may be late 5-10 minutes. If you are the host, you cannot wear pajamas at night to receive guests. You are not free to fondle furnishings or decorations and you cannot inquire about prices.

10. Shorts + High Heels = Call Girl

Americans dress casual and wear a variety of clothing in public places. Most of the time they like to wear T-shirts, jackets, jeans, sweatshirts, sneakers. They dress exquisitely clean. Men's pants do not expose their underpants, woman dresses cannot expose their petticoat. Women should wear stockings with a nice skirt. Not shorts with high heels, otherwise they will be mistaken for call girls. Painted eyebrows and thick lipstick is another sign. However, anyone can wear a vest or pajamas in public. [Source]

11. Show Humility to Ladies—They’re In Charge

In public, the Americans show particular respect for women. Everywhere is “Ladies First.” In social situations, men must show humility to ladies. Men must walk on the outside of the sidewalk, let the woman sit first, open the door for a woman, move out of the way on the stairs or in the elevator to let the woman advance, let women order first at a meal, and let the woman get up to leave first. And when you greet a woman, you must stand up.

12. You’re Doing a Good Job in Your Own Way

Americans' ancestors came from all over the world, so in the United States there are no officially "recognized" social customs. Therefore, when you travel to the United States and want to do something according to the customs of your own country, do not feel embarrassed or that something is wrong. While Americans are informal, if you want to dress formal in a social situation, people will think you are doing a good job in your own way. People will accept.

See Also: 4 Russian Travel Tips for Visiting America

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8 Tricks to Help Your Cat and Dog to Get Along
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When people aren’t debating whether cats or dogs are more intelligent, they’re equating them as mortal foes. That’s a stereotype that both cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell, and certified dog trainer Zoe Sandor want to break.

Typically, cats are aloof and easily startled, while dogs are gregarious and territorial. This doesn't mean, however, that they can't share the same space—they're just going to need your help. “If cats and dogs are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they’re going to be friends,” Galaxy tells Mental Floss. “Or at the very least, they’ll tolerate each other.”

The duo has teamed up in a new Animal Planet series, Cat Vs. Dog, which airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. The show chronicles their efforts to help pet owners establish long-lasting peace—if not perfect harmony—among cats and dogs. (Yes, it’s possible.) Gleaned from both TV and off-camera experiences, here are eight tips Galaxy and Sandor say will help improve household relations between Fido and Fluffy.

1. TAKE PERSONALITY—NOT BREED—INTO ACCOUNT.

Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of cats and dogs don't typically get along better than others. According to Galaxy and Sandor, it’s more important to take their personalities and energy levels into account. If a dog is aggressive and territorial, it won’t be a good fit in a household with a skittish cat. In contrast, an aging dog would hate sharing his space with a rambunctious kitten.

If two animals don’t end up being a personality match, have a backup plan, or consider setting up a household arrangement that keeps them separated for the long term. And if you’re adopting a pet, do your homework and ask its previous owners or shelter if it’s lived with other animals before, or gets along with them.

2. TRAIN YOUR DOG.

To set your dog up for success with cats, teach it to control its impulses, Sandor says. Does it leap across the kitchen when someone drops a cookie, or go on high alert when it sees a squeaky toy? If so, it probably won’t be great with cats right off the bat, since it will likely jump up whenever it spots a feline.

Hold off Fido's face time with Fluffy until the former is trained to stay put. And even then, keep a leash handy during the first several cat-dog meetings.

3. GIVE A CAT ITS OWN TERRITORY BEFORE IT MEETS A DOG.

Cats need a protected space—a “base camp” of sorts—that’s just theirs, Galaxy says. Make this refuge off-limits to the dog, but create safe spaces around the house, too. This way, the cat can confidently navigate shared territory without trouble from its canine sibling.

Since cats are natural climbers, Galaxy recommends taking advantage of your home’s vertical space. Buy tall cat trees, install shelves, or place a cat bed atop a bookcase. This allows your cat to observe the dog from a safe distance, or cross a room without touching the floor.

And while you’re at it, keep dogs away from the litter box. Cats should feel safe while doing their business, plus dogs sometimes (ew) like to snack on cat feces, a bad habit that can cause your pooch to contract intestinal parasites. These worms can cause a slew of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.

Baby gates work in a pinch, but since some dogs are escape artists, prepare for worst-case scenarios by keeping the litter box uncovered and in an open space. That way, the cat won’t be cornered and trapped mid-squat.

4. EXERCISE YOUR DOG'S BODY AND MIND.

“People exercise their dogs probably 20 percent of what they should really be doing,” Sandor says. “It’s really important that their energy is released somewhere else so that they have the ability to slow down their brains and really control themselves when they’re around kitties.”

Dogs also need lots of stimulation. Receiving it in a controlled manner makes them less likely to satisfy it by, say, chasing a cat. For this, Sandor recommends toys, herding-type activities, lure coursing, and high-intensity trick training.

“Instead of just taking a walk, stop and do a sit five times on every block,” she says. “And do direction changes three times on every block, or speed changes two times. It’s about unleashing their herding instincts and prey drive in an appropriate way.”

If you don’t have time for any of these activities, Zoe recommends hiring a dog walker, or enrolling in doggy daycare.

5. LET CATS AND DOGS FOLLOW THEIR NOSES.

In Galaxy's new book, Total Cat Mojo, he says it’s a smart idea to let cats and dogs sniff each other’s bedding and toys before a face-to-face introduction. This way, they can satisfy their curiosity and avoid potential turf battles.

6. PLAN THE FIRST CAT/DOG MEETING CAREFULLY.

Just like humans, cats and dogs have just one good chance to make a great first impression. Luckily, they both love food, which might ultimately help them love each other.

Schedule the first cat-dog meeting during mealtime, but keep the dog on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed door. They won’t see each other, but they will smell each other while chowing down on their respective foods. They’ll begin to associate this smell with food, thus “making it a good thing,” Galaxy says.

Do this every mealtime for several weeks, before slowly introducing visual simulation. Continue feeding the cat and dog separately, but on either side of a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it all together. By this point, “they’re eating side-by-side, pretty much ignoring each other,” Galaxy says. For safety’s sake, continue keeping the dog on a leash until you’re confident it’s safe to take it off (and even then, exercise caution).

7. KEEP THEIR FOOD AND TOYS SEPARATE.

After you've successfully ingratiated the cat and dog using feeding exercises, keep their food bowls separate. “A cat will walk up to the dog bowl—either while the dog’s eating, or in the vicinity—and try to eat out of it,” Galaxy says. “The dog just goes to town on them. You can’t assume that your dog isn’t food-protective or resource-protective.”

To prevent these disastrous mealtime encounters, schedule regular mealtimes for your pets (no free feeding!) and place the bowls in separate areas of the house, or the cat’s dish up on a table or another high spot.

Also, keep a close eye on the cat’s toys—competition over toys can also prompt fighting. “Dogs tend to get really into catnip,” Galaxy says. “My dog loves catnip a whole lot more than my cats do.”

8. CONSIDER RAISING A DOG AND CAT TOGETHER (IF YOU CAN).

Socializing these animals at a young age can be easier than introducing them as adults—pups are easily trainable “sponges” that soak up new information and situations, Sandor says. Plus, dogs are less confident and smaller at this stage in life, allowing the cat to “assume its rightful position at the top of the hierarchy,” she adds.

Remain watchful, though, to ensure everything goes smoothly—especially when the dog hits its rambunctious “teenage” stage before becoming a full-grown dog.

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Animals
10 Juicy Facts About Sea Apples

They're both gorgeous and grotesque. Sea apples, a type of marine invertebrate, have dazzling purple, yellow, and blue color schemes streaking across their bodies. But some of their habits are rather R-rated. Here’s what you should know about these weird little creatures.

1. THEY’RE SEA CUCUMBERS.

The world’s oceans are home to more than 1200 species of sea cucumber. Like sand dollars and starfish, sea cucumbers are echinoderms: brainless, spineless marine animals with skin-covered shells and a complex network of internal hydraulics that enables them to get around. Sea cucumbers can thrive in a range of oceanic habitats, from Arctic depths to tropical reefs. They're a fascinating group with colorful popular names, like the “burnt hot dog sea cucumber” (Holothuria edulis) and the sea pig (Scotoplanes globosa), a scavenger that’s been described as a “living vacuum cleaner.”

2. THEY'RE NATIVE TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN.

Sea apples have oval-shaped bodies and belong to the genus Pseudocolochirus and genus Paracacumaria. The animals are indigenous to the western Pacific, where they can be found shuffling across the ocean floor in shallow, coastal waters. Many different types are kept in captivity, but two species, Pseudocolochirus violaceus and Pseudocolochirus axiologus, have proven especially popular with aquarium hobbyists. Both species reside along the coastlines of Australia and Southeast Asia.

3. THEY EAT WITH MUCUS-COVERED TENTACLES.

Sea cucumbers, the ocean's sanitation crew, eat by swallowing plankton, algae, and sandy detritus at one end of their bodies and then expelling clean, fresh sand out their other end. Sea apples use a different technique. A ring of mucus-covered tentacles around a sea apple's mouth snares floating bits of food, popping each bit into its mouth one at a time. In the process, the tentacles are covered with a fresh coat of sticky mucus, and the whole cycle repeats.

4. THEY’RE ACTIVE AT NIGHT.

Sea apples' waving appendages can look delicious to predatory fish, so the echinoderms minimize the risk of attracting unwanted attention by doing most of their feeding at night. When those tentacles aren’t in use, they’re retracted into the body.

5. THE MOVE ON TUBULAR FEET.

The rows of yellow protuberances running along the sides of this specimen are its feet. They allow sea apples to latch onto rocks and other hard surfaces while feeding. And if one of these feet gets severed, it can grow back.

6. SOME FISH HANG OUT IN SEA APPLES' BUTTS.

Sea apples are poisonous, but a few marine freeloaders capitalize on this very quality. Some small fish have evolved to live inside the invertebrates' digestive tracts, mooching off the sea apples' meals and using their bodies for shelter. In a gross twist of evolution, fish gain entry through the back door, an orifice called the cloaca. In addition expelling waste, the cloaca absorbs fresh oxygen, meaning that sea apples/cucumbers essentially breathe through their anuses.

7. WHEN THREATENED, SEA APPLES CAN EXPAND.

Most full-grown adult sea apples are around 3 to 8 inches long, but they can make themselves look twice as big if they need to escape a threat. By pulling extra water into their bodies, some can grow to the size of a volleyball, according to Advanced Aquarist. After puffing up, they can float on the current and away from danger. Some aquarists might mistake the robust display as a sign of optimum health, but it's usually a reaction to stress.

8. THEY CAN EXPEL THEIR OWN GUTS.

Sea apples use their vibrant appearance to broadcast that they’re packing a dangerous toxin. But to really scare off predators, they puke up some of their own innards. When an attacker gets too close, sea apples can expel various organs through their orifices, and some simultaneously unleash a cloud of the poison holothurin. In an aquarium, the holothurin doesn’t disperse as widely as it would in the sea, and it's been known to wipe out entire fish tanks.

9. SEA APPLES LAY TOXIC EGGS.

These invertebrates reproduce sexually; females release eggs that are later fertilized by clouds of sperm emitted by the males. As many saltwater aquarium keepers know all too well, sea apple eggs are not suitable fish snacks—because they’re poisonous. Scientists have observed that, in Pseudocolochirus violaceus at least, the eggs develop into small, barrel-shaped larvae within two weeks of fertilization.

10. THEY'RE NOT EASILY CONFUSED WITH THIS TREE SPECIES.

Syzgium grande is a coastal tree native to Southeast Asia whose informal name is "sea apple." When fully grown, they can stand more than 140 feet tall. Once a year, it produces attractive clusters of fuzzy white flowers and round green fruits, perhaps prompting its comparison to an apple tree.

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