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OK guys to get this clear:

1. we were speaking about the availability of translaters in this area which is vast as I mentioned. It just takes one phone call and I can have dozens at my place within minutes. (As the fees are always generous compared to a teachers salary in China. I have never said the translaters are standing at every corner in every city waiting for folks like you to guide you around and tranlate everything!

2. TB you are refering to the general level or capability to speak english. And yes that is poor! Not only in Guangdong or Guangzhou but even in Shanghai or Beijing. Consider it good luck if you cath a cap from the airport in Shanghai to the city and the driver can understand you! But luckily the standard is improving as the government is pushing ahead with their english education program. Btw the chinese want to prove the world by 2008 that they are worldclass and an open society and therefore kids have to learn at least 2 foreign languages. They can choose out of 5 languages that the party has selected as important. Amongs those arabic and russian! Just to show how the chinese not only give the west all the importance but wants to show its respect to its big nei9ghbors and middle eastern investors,

I still cannot really speak chinese - I learned some but to follow a fast conversation amongst chinese is still impossible for me especially with the many different dialects spoken here- thus I always carry a list with the most important words in chinese letters with me.
This list includes significant places like mall, hotel, restaurant even down to the chinese dishes I love the most (I dont eat meat so its sometimes difficult to explain a waiter as in china vegetarian is equal to monks food which is -sorry- but tasteless steamed veggies with rice!)

You just have to prepare yourself and it wont be a problem getting around anywhere!

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