China doesn’t do NATO phonetic alphabet

I’m going to Shangai next month for the “Doing Business In” class in my MBA course. It’s going to be my first full immersion in Asia and I’m very happy. I’ll be spending some more days of vacation after the classes at Shangai’s Tongji Business School.

The Chinese consulate wants the confirmation of the hotel booking on official paper of the hotel (the printed email is not enough), so this morning I had to call China. Spelling my name on the phone was my first cultural experience. With “westerners” I end up using the NATO phonetic alphabet, with 100% success rate so far. Unfortunately the lady on the phone, who spoke very good English, didn’t know NATO phonetics (doh! why was this a surprise?) and the Fs were quite difficult for her to grasp. It’s going to be a very fun trip.