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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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10 Classic Books That Have Been Banned
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From The Bible to Harry Potter, some of the world's most popular books have been challenged for reasons ranging from violence to occult overtones. In honor of Banned Books Week, which runs from September 24 through September 30, 2017, here's a look at 10 classic book that have stirred up controversy.

1. THE CALL OF THE WILD

Jack London's 1903 Klondike Gold Rush-set adventure was banned in Yugoslavia and Italy for being "too radical" and was burned by the Nazis because of the author's well-known socialist leanings.

2. THE GRAPES OF WRATH

Though John Steinbeck's 1939 novel, about a family of tenant farmers who are forced to leave their Oklahoma for California home because of economic hardships, earned the author both the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, it also drew ire across America become some believed it promoted Communist values. Kern County, California—where much of the book took place—was particular incensed by Steinbeck's portrayal of the area and its working conditions, which they considered slanderous.

3. THE LORAX

The cover of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
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Whereas some readers look at Dr. Seuss's Lorax and see a fuzzy little character who "speaks for the trees," others saw the 1971 children's book as a danger piece of political commentary, with even the author reportedly referring to it as "propaganda."

4. ULYSSES

James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses may be one of the most important and influential works of the early 20th century, but it was also deemed obscene for both its language and sexual content—and not just in a few provincial places. In 1921, a group known as The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice successfully managed to keep the book out of the United States, and United States Post Office regularly burned copies of it. But in 1933, the book's publisher, Random House, took the case—United States v. One Book Called Ulysses—to court and ended up getting the ban overturned.

5. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

In 1929, Erich Maria Remarque—a German World War I veteran—wrote the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, which gives an accounting of the extreme mental and physical stress the German soldiers faced during their time in the war. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the book's realism didn't sit well with Nazi leaders, who feared the book would deter their propaganda efforts.

6. ANIMAL FARM

The cover of George Orwell's Animal Farm
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The original publication of George Orwell's 1945 allegorical novella was delayed in the U.K. because of its anti-Stalin themes. It was confiscated in Germany by Allied troops, banned in Yugoslavia in 1946, banned in Kenya in 1991, and banned in the United Arab Emirates in 2002.

7. AS I LAY DYING

Though many people consider William Faulkner's 1930 novel As I Lay Dying a classic piece of American literature, the Graves County School District in Mayfield, Kentucky disagreed. In 1986, the school district banned the book because it questioned the existence of God.

8. LOLITA

Sure, it's well known that Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is about a middle-aged literature professor who is obsessed with a 12-year-old girl who eventually becomes her stepdaughter. It's the kind of storyline that would raise eyebrows today, so imagine what the response was when the book was released in 1955. A number of countries—including France, England, Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa—banned the book for being obscene. Canada did the same in 1958, though it later lifted the ban on what is now considered a classic piece of literature—unreliable narrator and all.

9. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

Cover of The Catcher in the Rye

Reading J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is practically a rite of passage for teenagers in recent years, but back when it was published in 1951, it wasn't always easy for a kid to get his or her hands on it. According to TIME, "Within two weeks of its 1951 release, J.D. Salinger’s novel rocketed to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Ever since, the book—which explores three days in the life of a troubled 16-year-old boy—has been a 'favorite of censors since its publication,' according to the American Library Association."

10. THE GIVER

The newest book on this list, Lois Lowry's 1993 novel The Giverabout a dystopia masquerading as a utopiawas banned in several U.S. states, including California and Kentucky, for addressing issues such as euthanasia.

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10 Vintage Canes With Amazing Hidden Features
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Sometimes a vintage walking stick is more than a dapper statement piece. It can also be a men’s grooming kit, a croquet set, a microscope, or even a projector. Multipurpose canes were all the rage at the turn of the 19th century, and now some of the most unique examples of the trend are going up for auction.

The Gentleman Collector auction from Heritage Auctions will feature dozens of canes, many of which offer bonus features beyond what meets the eye. Check out these useful, sneaky, and oddly specific specialty canes, which hit the auction block on September 22.

1. THE COIN COLLECTOR’S CANE

Cane with a weight in the handle.

Can’t decide if you identify more as a rabologist (someone who collects canes) or a numismatist (someone who collects coins)? This artifact will appeal to both halves of your heart. Inside the ebonized wood handle of this late 19th-century cane is a space for weighing and storing coins. Just push a button to reveal the tiny brass scale.

Estimated price: $7000 - $10,000

2. THE MAGIC LANTERN CANE

Cane with hidden projector.

Who needs a bulky iPhone taking up space in your pocket when you can carry a miniature movie theater in your walking stick? The top of the "magic lantern" cane slides up and acts as a portable projector. Point it at the nearest wall to view the hand-painted illustrations housed within the shaft. A tiny torch brings the full-color slideshow to life.

Estimated price: $3000 - $5000

3. THE CIDER MAKER’S CANE

Cane that makes cider.

There's nothing like a long walk to work up a thirst for a glass of cider. With this walking stick in hand, you can get to work making one immediately. The interior wood rod of this device doubles as an apple press. Along the the tin shaft is a siphon and spout for collecting juice.

Estimated price: $1000 - $1500

4. THE ARCHITECT’S CANE

Cane with hidden architect's tools.

With a mahogany shaft and a leather-wrapped handle, this walking stick is a piece of art on its own. Architects can twist it open and use the supplies inside to draw up something equally exquisite. The handle has two secret compartments containing a compass, graphite, and drafting tools. Inside the lower part of the cane is a level, straightedge, letter opener, an elevation drawing, and a plumb-line (a pendulum with a rope-suspended weight).

Estimated price: $3000 - $5000

5. THE WELL-GROOMED GENTLEMAN’S CANE

Cane with hidden grooming kit.

The original owner of this grooming kit/walking stick combo was likely the envy of every fancy gentleman in town. Inside the cane’s segmented oak shaft are vials, brushes, a sponge, a button hook, and shaving supplies—everything necessary to look fresh and fine on the go.

Estimated price: $4000 - $6000

6. THE SPY CAMERA CANE

Chrome handle of a cane.

The hidden camera is the quintessential spy accessory. This circa 1980 cane, based on a patent from 1904, holds its camera and film winder inside the chrome handle. Snap it closed and the device transforms back into an inconspicuous, black walking stick.

Estimated price: $6000 -$8000

7. THE SPITTING CANE

Cane handle shaped like a face.

The handle on this item portrays a man’s face scrunched up into a nasty expression. What it does is even nastier: Push a button on the top and liquid comes shooting out the mouth. The trick cane could possibly be used for good, like refilling people’s drinks at parties. Or you could just fill it with water and spray anyone who invades your personal space.

Estimated price: $1500 - $2500

8. THE CROQUET PLAYER’S CANE

Cane with miniature croquet set.

You wouldn’t think that a mallet, a ball, and a full set of wickets would fit easily inside a cane, but a 19th-century inventor found a way to make it work. Of course, this croquet set is much smaller than one you'd find on a lawn. Luckily a desktop makes a fine alternative to a playing field.

Estimated price: $800 - $1200

9. THE MICROSCOPE CANE

Cane with hidden microscope.

A botanist going on a stroll through the woods would be fortunate to have this walking stick with them. Upon spotting an interesting specimen, they could pause their journey and use the cane as their miniature laboratory. The ebonized wood shaft contains a compartment with glass slides and vials, and the detailed silver handle holds an actual brass microscope.

Estimated price: $3000 - $5000

10. THE CROSSBOW CANE

Cane with wooden eagle handle.

If you’re still not convinced that canes can be hardcore, take this specimen from the late 1800s. The carved eagle-head handle is intimidating on its own, but pop it off and you have all the components necessary to put together a crossbow. Brandishing a dangerous weapon never looked so classy.

Estimated price: $1500 - $2500

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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