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According to the article, hydroquinone is not regulated in many African countries, meaning these dangerous creams run rampant. While in Asia, most women only apply these creams to their face, neck and hands, African women are applying them all over the body, causing serious medical problems. Hydroquinone in excess is toxic to the skin and can lead to a blotchy uneven complexion, permanent darkening of the skin and even brain, gastrointestinal and kidney problems. It can also thin the skin, making it much harder for people to recover from surgery, and may even lead to severe infections or death You Beauty.

Unfortunately, sweat and friction removes self tanner ballroomproblems. I worry how my white legs will look in shorts, or if I will look fatter in my bikini without a tan. Yes, I am under the firm impression that a tan makes me look thinner. I am also very versed in the art of self tanner. My Peruvian ballroom partner and I at our last competition.

After spraying myself with an entire bottle of self tanner over the course of five days, we now have the same complexion!

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Living in China, I get so many compliments on my fair skin, and many women ask what creams I use to make my skin so fair and even. If I get a tan this summer it will be from hiking outdoors or swimming in the ocean with SPF of course! The aim is to create a blog post showcasing photos of adventure in the great outdoors.

Below are the photos I chose to submit, sorted into the competition categories. I love social media. I can share my photos and my stories, which not only gives me a sense of purpose, but also the ability to connect with my old friends and acquaintances. Even though I link my blog posts to Facebook, I always find it awkward when people tell me they read my blog. I wanted to improve my Chinese, get more cultural life experience all while supporting myself.

Grad school is so boring. If you click through my photos it looks like all I do is travel to exotic locations, eat amazing food and drink cheap cocktails in cool expat bars. It looks like I have a million friends and even more adventures. If you look at my photos my life looks amazing.

If you read my blog, you may get a different perception. I write about my students trying to plagiarize their exams, my loneliness living in the middle of nowhere and my crazy travel misadventures. It sounds like my life is full of stories, but sometimes it takes a reminder from friends back home to remember that the things that happen in my life are even interesting. I have a few friends who spent all last year teaching in Georgia the country.

I meet people in hostels who are traveling the globe by themselves for an entire year. Most of the time, my life in China feels pretty boring. I watch full seasons of tv shows in a week. A weekend adventure most likely involves taking my e-bike 30 minutes to the grocery store and trying to make it back with all of my groceries intact. In America, if I managed to do my laundry, cook dinner and do some readings for class I felt like it was a successful day. They obviously have known this for a while now, but they never think to tell me until a few days before.

A 3 day weekend! In China, I feel like I should be traveling. I need to make the most of my time here!!! Why am I going? While it may seem like my life is so exciting to those back in America, remember that I am stalking your Facebook page with jealousy in return. I see photos of my friends at happy hour or celebrating holidays with their families and I feel so bored and lonely in comparison.

But I only see the fun stuff. Maybe she looks at my photos and is jealous of how cheap it is to travel in China and SE Asia. You only see what people want you to see. No one broadcasts their flaws all over social media. We all hate those people who complain about their lives on social media. But nobody sees that. Not unless I tell them. If I could throw everything in a backpack and travel the world for a year, I probably would.

The only problem? How the hell would I afford to go to Europe? I need a job to make money, but I have a fear of setting down, getting stuck in a career and never being able to leave. I can apply for jobs from anywhere. To fill people in on what my life is really like living and traveling in Asia. People see what you want them to see, so take a step back and think about how people see you. Tips about how we appreciate a firm handshake and eye contact, value personal space and apparently, have weird rules about when it is acceptable to eat with our hands. The time for class has been changed tomorrow because of the celebrating activity.

We should. After a tiring morning of teaching, I headed to the gate for the banquet. I sat at a table with all the young female English teachers who I normally hang out with: Lynn, Lora, Catherine and Vivian.

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Whenever Catherine is in the mix, they at least make an effort to speak in Mandarin since she is from Northern China, but they still speak so quickly it is impossible for me to keep up with their accent. Every week these teachers will sit next to me during lunch and then completely ignore me. The conversation switched to Chinese, as expected, and I sat there in my own thoughts sipping on my coffee. Eventually they started playing a game on their phones.

Through watching and asking questions I eventually discerned that every person received a text with a word. Everyone had the same word except one person, whose word was slightly different. In turn, each player would have to say a hint to their word in an attempt to figure out whose word was different.

After a solid half hour of watching the game, I realized that a lot of the words were really easy, like primary school vs. Henan province, so I asked if I could play. I know enough about things like Hunan vs. Henan to play the game, and I could even say the clues in Chinese. I was furious. I made it pretty obvious that I wanted to be included and I was basically laughed at. But instead, I was laughed at and excluded for almost an hour. More like lunch with a bunch of catty, insensitive teenagers. Of course. No bus. I grabbed my purse but hesitated in my seat for a second, waiting for them to feel bad and offer to include me.

I threw my purse over my shoulder and stormed out of the room. I was so angry I started crying in the elevator. How could they treat me like that? They know how hard it is for me to live here in the middle of nowhere. The entire cab ride home I just wanted to revel in my anger but unfortunately my cab driver had other plans. He told my I was beautiful probably 18 times, asked me if I had a boyfriend more than once, told me I looked Russian because Russians are beautiful, and then asked me if I wanted a Chinese boyfriend, and told me that if I married a Chinese guy I could live in China forever.

The more I thought about that moment at the banquet, the angrier I was. Senior year I was an exchange student orientation leader, and I became friends with a lot of the exchange students in the process. While it was a bit more of an effort to communicate, I never minded because I enjoyed hanging out with the international students and learning about their lives and world views.

The other exchange student orientation leaders and I also used to play a card game called Cards Against Humanity adult Apples to Apples with some of the exchange students. This way they got to hang out with us and play a really fun game, while learning about American pop culture at the same time. If I could play Cards Against Humanity with students from Italy, Argentina and Egypt, the Chinese teachers could definitely play a simple word game with me. Is my friendship too much of an effort for them? Has the novelty worn off?

I already feel like a social pariah as it is. I eat almost all of my meals by myself, I watch tv on my computer every night, I do all of my errands by myself.. I do everything by myself. I normally only hang out with people one night per weekend… if that.

Confessions of a Female Expat in China

One of the main silver linings of living in the middle of nowhere is that it forces you to make Chinese friends and practice Chinese. But whenever I hang out with the teachers at my school they either ignore me or only speak to me in English. How am I supposed to have Chinese friends when they all reject me as an annoyance?

Just when I thought I was making a home for myself, I feel more isolated than ever. Do I confront them or let it blow over? Do I pretend like it never happened, or proceed with caution? For now, I just plan on being awkwardly lonely and disappointed… at least I have House of Cards to keep me company. Hi everyone! Also, feel free to look at the other submissions. AYC is having its first annual photo essay and video competitions. The prizes are a trip to Hong Kong 1st , a trip to Yunnan 2nd or a kuai train ticket 3rd.

Otherwise, here is the video I may or may not have stayed up till 4am last night making:. I thought I was immune to culture shock. I studied abroad in China for seven months and I speak Chinese almost fluently. Many of them can help arrange tours and have special events such as dumpling parties or movie nights. Prices for hostels in China vary depending on where you are.

A colorful hostel in Lijiang. We hosted upwards of guests between our apartments in Beijing and Kunming and know of a few Chinese friends who also open their doors to Couch Surfers. Airbnb is catching on in China as well. Check out our hostel guides for Shanghai , Beijing , and Hong Kong if you need more information! The country is full of historic sites, amazing nature, bustling cities, and some of the most delicious food in the world.

While his famous remark may need to be adjusted for the modern PC era, you get the gist. There are plenty of options for visiting the wall from Beijing, but they are definitely not all great. Morning on the Wall after a campout. Whatever you do, stay far, far away from the Badaling section. That is unless you want to see what a Disneyland version of the Great Wall looks like. This restored part of the wall comes complete with a cable car and a neverending stream of tourists. Better yet, why not bring your tent and camp on the Great Wall? In my six years of living and traveling in China, nothing even comes close to that.

While the hordes of pushy tourists can diminish the experience a bit, all you have to do is venture off on one of the trails to escape them. Artists from all over the world flock here to craft massive sculptures out of the ice and snow. In typical Chinese fashion, the ice sculptures are packed with plenty of neon lights to make for quite the trippy experience.

Ice castles full of lasers in Harbin. These massive circular structures are basically an entire village. Fewer and fewer people are living in them today, as the rush to modernize has led many to move into bland high-rise buildings. The hike takes days depending on your speed, and it passes by some of the most stunning scenery China has to offer.

If you care for a toke, you can pick up a bag from the nice grannies along the trail. They even have bananas and Snickers for when you inevitably get the munchies. Views along the trail. Few countries can compete with China when it comes to train travel. The country is building high-speed rail lines at a rapid pace, adding more and more connections with each passing month.

Forget making the trek out to airports on the outskirts of the cities, and stick to the impressive rail network. China is home to three different Buddhist grottoes — Longmen, Yungang, and Mogao. Visit one of these sites to see the impressive Buddhist carvings in the caves. These are considered to be some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art, and they really are an incredible sight to behold.

The amazing Longmen Buddhist Grottoes. By visiting the Yungang Grottoes in Datong , you can also check out the awe-inspiring Hanging Monastery to make for an awesome short trip. Yes, this is one of the most touristy places in China. Yes, it can kind of be a pain in the ass getting there. None of that matters. Just imagine how much effort went into the construction of this massive tomb full of life-sized warriors and chariots, all of which was done to appease the first emperor of China as he neared the end of his life.

Get out there and explore Yangshuo. Tell her the Grateful Gypsies sent you. Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Backpack. Check out this post to read our full review! Get your copy here.

Lost on Planet China : When I first moved to China in , my mom bought me this book as a going away present. With its four tones and thousands upon thousands of characters, Chinese is definitely an intimidating language. How much is it? There are tons of articles on vocabulary and grammar as well as Chinese culture.

Generally speaking, China is a very safe country to travel in. My wife always likes to comment to people that she felt safer stumbling down the streets of Beijing alone and drunk at 3AM than she does going downtown in my hometown of Detroit for a concert. Fair point, Rachel. Of course, you have to exercise a bit of common sense when backpacking China just like any country. Despite what my wife says, bad shit definitely can and will happen in the middle of the night, especially in bar districts. One of the biggest safety concerns in China is drunk locals trying to pick a fight.

Sadly, this sometimes leads to confrontations. Plus, as a foreigner, you will immediately receive the blame and be the one who spends the night in a cold, miserable jail cell. Pickpocketing is an issue in crowds like these. Photo By Sasha Savinov. Just like many places around the world, pickpocketing is a huge concern in China. Be mindful of your things on public transportation and at crowded tourist sights.

I once had a guy pick my wallet, grab the cash, and drop it on the ground in the blink of an eye when stepping off a bamboo raft in Yangshuo. These people are pros, so you have to be vigilant at all times. For many travelers to China, the air pollution is a major concern. For more information and safety tips, check out Backpacker Safety for tips and tricks to stay safe whilst backpacking China.

Pick yourself up a backpacker security belt to keep your cash safe on the road. I strongly recommend travelling with a headlamp whilst in China or anywhere really — every backpacker should have a good headtorch! Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered. Check out our full review here for more convincing. When it comes to strong stuff, China is all about baijiu. This spirit that is distilled from sorghum tastes somewhat like rocket fuel, and it could probably power your car if you ran out of gas.

Some dude said you have to try the stuff times or so to finally acquire a taste for it. I never made it that far and I doubt you will, either.

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One thing about drinking in China is that things tend to escalate quickly think the news team battle in Anchorman. Drinking is somewhat a competitive sport in China, as men love to go glass for glass until one of them inevitably passes out. Drugs in China is definitely a grey area. When we lived in China, people back home were always so surprised to hear that we still puffed tough.

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You name it, they got it. Our 3rd eyes were opened once or twice in China. Get insurance! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Travelling without insurance would be fucking stupid. I highly recommend World Nomads. Definitely be sure to bring a good pair of hiking boots and some activewear for your adventures on the Great Wall and Tiger Leaping Gorge. This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside — you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

This is hands down the best way to hide your cash. AR bottle are tough, lightweight and maintain the temperature of your beverage — so you can enjoy a cold red bull, or a hot coffee, no matter where you are. Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if needs be.

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  • Even if you only end up using it once, a decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must. My friend Claire also put together this great female packing list for China post, check it out.

    Generally speaking, the spring and autumn months are the most pleasant. As far as crowds go, they are definitely bigger in the summer months. Backpacking China during the Spring Festival Chinese New Year should be avoided unless you can plan things out super far in advance. Dragon Dances before Chinese New Year.

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    In my humble opinion, the best time to go to China would be a few weeks before National Day or right after. The weather is pretty good across most of the country at this time, and you can just miss the crowds by going before or after the major holiday. You could even stick around during National Day and soak up the patriotic atmosphere in Beijing.

    You can do just about everything on WeChat — send voice messages, find a restaurant, share photos, hail a cab, play games. The list goes on and on. Everyone is on WeChat in China, so this will be the best way to keep up with your new local friends. This will help ensure you order Kung Pao chicken instead of chicken feet.

    This app is definitely for you. It is a great help while calculating expenses. This particular VPN allows for up to five connections which is handy for keeping all your devices connected without having to purchase multiple VPN packages. China has tons of international airports, meaning you have plenty of choices to start your trip.

    Your best bets for flying into China are definitely the bigger cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, or Shenzhen. There are direct flights from these cities to Europe, and North America. China has some futuristic-looking airports. The visa policy of China is quite complicated. Your best bet is to study the Wikipedia page carefully to see if you need a visa and what kind you should apply for. Be sure to have all the necessary paperwork, as they tend to be very picky and look for any reason to send you out the door to a print or copy shop. When applying for your Chinese visa, be sure to ask for the maximum amount of time and multiple entries.

    For example, Americans can now get tourist visas that are valid for ten years with multiple entries of up to 90 days each. Big cities like Beijing and Shanghai now offer hour visa-free visits, while several others give you 72 hours. A word of warning on domestic air travel — China is notorious for long and unexpected flight delays.

    I once sat on a plane for 3 hours waiting to take off for no apparent reason. There are now high-speed trains linking most of the major cities in the country. For checking train times and booking tickets, I highly recommend this website. Riding that Chinese train. The cheapest option is a hard seat not just a clever name — these are not at all comfortable. A step up from this is a soft seat. On longer journeys, you can also buy a sleeper ticket.

    Hard sleeper means six beds to a cabin, while soft sleeper means four. In my experience, hard sleeper is usually the way to go. Of course, you can always catch a bus to get from point A to point B in China. If you have patience, hitchhiking is definitely a viable option in China. Hitching a ride in Yunnan. I thought they were nuts, but they pulled it off! You could also catch a hour bus from Kunming all the way to Luang Prabang in Laos. As for sea crossings, you could board a ferry in Tianjin or Qingdao headed for South Korea.

    One of the great train journeys in the world can bring you from Beijing all the way to Moscow. There are tons of options for this trip, which you can plan online or with a travel agent in Beijing. Your budget for China will depend on a lot of things, namely how many places you go to and what level of comfort you need. Obviously, your budget will go up if you visit a ton of destinations and have to buy several plane and train tickets. Which type of ticket you choose will impact your budget as well, as soft sleeper train tickets are far more expensive than the dreaded hard seats.

    Street food is delicious and cheap in China. Street food is readily available and is both delicious and cheap. One of the biggest expenses on your China trip will definitely be entrance tickets. Thankfully, there are several free or cheap things to do in China as well. These are the best places to soak up the local culture and you can easily spend a few hours of your day without burning a hole in your wallet.

    The preferred terms are yuan or the slang kuai. People in China prefer using WeChat to pay for just about everything these days. Camp : Camping in China can be a great option in rural areas, or even on the Great Wall! Wild camping in China is definitely in a grey area. It can be legal and it can be illegal. They are purposely vague on this subject in order to give authorities the freedom to choose what to do. As long as you stay under the radar, you should be fine. They might be expats who are working there or locals.

    We hosted tons of Couch Surfers when we lived in China and always had a good time. Check out Couch Surfing to make some real friendships and see this country from the perspective of locals. Long term travel is awesome. Giving back is awesome too. Backpackers can spend long periods of time volunteering in an awesome place without spending any money. Meaningful life and travel experiences are rooted in stepping out of your comfort zone and into the world of a purposeful project. World Packers opens the doors for work opportunities in hostels, homestays, NGOs and eco-projects around the world.

    6 Lessons Learned from 3 Months in China

    Are you a native English speaker looking to earn cash whilst traveling the world? Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income—from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. Whether you are keen to teach English online or looking to take your teaching game a step further by finding a job teaching English in a foreign country, getting your TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction. Me with my students in Beijing. The internet in China sucks, plain and simple. I always used Astrill when I lived there and found it to be the most reliable.

    In the past few years, many companies have brought to market a plethora of VPN products and China is for sure a big market because of the reasons stated above. To find the right one for you and your needs, check this VPN list. When you can actually get on the websites you want to use, the internet is just fine. Internet bars are also huge in China, that is if you want to join chain-smoking teenagers playing RPG games. When it comes to must try experiences while backpacking China, nothing tops camping out on the Great Wall.

    At 4, m on the Zharu Valley trek. You can do the Tiger Leaping Gorge on your own but will need to sign up for a trip with a local guide for Zharu Valley. Yangshuo is one of the top backpacker towns in China and is full of must-try experiences. Get some wheels and explore the stunning countryside full of karst mountains, stopping to try some rock climbing or enjoy a bamboo rafting trip on the river.

    With a population of over 1. While everyone from China is considered Chinese, there are actually 56 different ethnic groups. Great places to experience ethnic minority cultures include Yunnan, Guangxi, Ningxia, Sichuan, and Xinjiang. Hanging out in a local park. No matter where you are in China, the best place to meet people is in the local park. People love gathering at parks to do things like practice tai chi, dance, fly a kite, play chess, or just drink tea and chat.

    A common sight in the big cities of China is a local girl with a lao wai foreigner dude. The place is practically a gold mine for single foreign men. I once had a buddy who would wait until about 2AM and go down into the clubs in the Wudaokou area in Beijing in his pajamas to pick up girls. He did pretty well, too. One thing I will say is that Chinese men get incredibly jealous and pissed off when they see foreign dudes picking up local girls. Cultural differences tend to get in the way, though, so many of these romances are short-term.

    Apparently, there are over 20, shops selling it. Hot Pot — This is one of the most fun dining experiences you can have. You order up a pot of spiced broth and it boils right there on your table. Then you can choose from a variety of meat, fish, and veggies to toss in the pot. Hot pot restaurants can be found all over China, but the best are in Sichuan and Chongqing.

    A mouth-numbing hot pot. A big plate of dumplings never disappoints! A plate of kung pao chicken with some rice is always a good choice for lunch. That crispy duck will be one of the best things you eat on your trip for sure. Beijing roast duck is a culinary experience. You can find dim sum restaurants in most Chinese cities, but nothing beats having it in Guangdong or Hong Kong. Come hungry so you can try everything. Street Food — There is so much delicious street food in China. Pull up a plastic stool and join the locals! When it comes to Chinese holidays, nothing comes close to the Spring Festival.

    If your trip to China coincides with Spring Festival, be aware that transportation will be hard to come by, and that most businesses will be closed for a day or two. China has many other traditional festivals throughout the year.