Heze is a city in Shandong. It is an off the beaten track destination, where foreigners are an extreme rarity. Many people in Heze have never seen a foreigner. The local dialect is more widely spoken than standard Mandarin. Native Chinese speakers typically have no trouble with the dialect, as it is similar to the Beijing dialect, but it can prove challenging for non-native Chinese speakers. English is spoken by only very few people, usually the young, who have learned some English at school.
Heze has a long distance bus station and a train station. Heze is an important rail junction. Rail lines from Heze travel north, south, east and west. Coal trains from provinces further west transit Heze daily, with empty trains returning for further loads.
It is possible to get around the city by bus, but they shut down on major holidays such as during the Chinese New Year. Cab rides are very inexpensive - about 10 yuan will get you most places in town. If you are going to one of the surrounding villages, cab rides are often around 150 yuan. It is also possible to get around much of the city by walking. There is also a bicycle hire service, with bicycle share stations at various points around the inner city.
Dumplings are one of the specialties of northeast China, and are common in Heze. Heze also has a surprising number of Sichuan restaurants.