A good friend of mine once told my son, “Basketball will allow you to see the world!” That statement is so true. Nikki's son and Barissa son’s have been blessed to play in Asia this year, an opportunity of a lifetime! Here, you will find a few of our traveling abroad tips and experiences while visiting the beautiful countries of China and Mongolia.
China requires visitors to have an entry visa. It’s best to submit your application at least two months prior to your trip. Americans must submit an application, a $130 fee, passport, and flight itinerary to the nearest embassy or consulate general.
Bring copies of your passport and leave a copy of your passport at home. Make an electronic copy to store in your email in case it gets lost or stolen.
The language barrier is the number one hurdle to overcome when traveling to China, so it can be helpful to learn a few phrases or have an interpreter. China has two main languages - Mandarin and Cantonese.
In large cities, China experiences heavy traffic and pollution, and many people wear surgical masks to protect their lungs. Prepare for the toilets. Many are squat toilets without any paper. We suggest bringing paper and hand sanitizer.
Bring medications such as Advil, Tylenol, and so forth. Everything is different abroad, including medication.
Check the weather before you travel. The weather can be quite unpredictable. In the summer, it can be hot with temperatures of over 100ºF. In the winter, it can get as cold as 4ºF. Hope for nice weather but be prepared for cold or rain.
The Asian culture loves the game of basketball. Barissa’s son's high school team experienced ten days in China, both in Beijing and Jiaotong City. Nikki’s son played in Mongolia with Team USA and spent eight days there. Basketball is a universal language. It’s understood everywhere in the world despite the language barrier.
When Yao Ming became a well-known NBA player, it added to China's fascination for the game. As Barissa and her family drove around the cities, they would pass hundreds of outdoor black-top courts full of young kids playing day and night! They even had the privilege of watching a mom train her young son. We saw her seriousness and passion as she taught her son offensive drills and displayed her competitiveness. It was quite impressive to see their love of the game.
While in Mongolia, Nikki and her family were extremely impressed with the food! Not only was it delicious, but it was very inexpensive. Each US dollar was equivalent to $2,659.91, so a little went a long way. The people were quite fashionable and very friendly, often asking for a selfie. The country of Mongolia was lively and busy with pedestrians and traffic that you would see in a big city like New York or Chicago. Team USA won the gold medal, and the locals were elated, often following the team back to the hotel to get photos and autographs.
Our sons' hard work and dedication, on and off the court, have given them and CourtsideMoms an experience of a lifetime, and we are forever grateful. They have gained international fans all over the world!