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Big City Comparison
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rlivings



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 7
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:30 am    Post subject: Big City Comparison Reply with quote

hello all,

I am currently an english teacher in taiwan and I'm looking to make a change over to china. I'm in a really small city here and haven't had the best time. I come from LA originally so I should have known that I would have preferred big city life. I'll have a year of experience under my belt now, and I'll be picking up a Celta prior to nabbing a job. Not really worried about getting one, I'm also not so picky about the type of job - university/ language school/ kindergarden.

My real question is when it comes down to the big cities: shanghai, tianjin, beijing, guangzhou, shenzeng, and xi'an respectively what is everyone's take? What are the pro's and cons; what do you enjoy about each city and what can't you stand.

I appreciate the help

Cheers
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MisterButtkins



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1215

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xi'An isn't in the same league as the other cities you posted. It is less than half the size of the others.
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1334

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MisterButtkins wrote:
Xi'An isn't in the same league as the other cities you posted. It is less than half the size of the others.


Still blooming massive though! Well, for a country bumpkin like me.

OP: Having been to Beijing, I can safely say I'd never work there. The pollution was terrible. Xi'an also has a reputation for being quite polluted (when I went it wasn't so bad). Of course, going on holiday for a week or two is totally different to living there.

Perhaps you should check out expat forums for the specific cities.
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 680
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: Big City Comparison Reply with quote

rlivings wrote:
hello all, I am currently an english teacher in taiwan and I'm looking to make a change over to china.


As something of an aside, be careful not to make that statement when you get here. As far as most mainlanders are concerned, 'YOU ARE ALREADY IN CHINA!' I once made the mistake of talking about 'China and Taiwan' in a class of adult students. Some of them went nuts, and all of them agreed that Taiwan is, was and always will be a part of China. Save yourself the grief and don't get drawn into the discussion. Now I just tell people I really don't care, seems to work.
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rlivings



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 7
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks doogsville, I'm well aware of the ongoing dispute. Definitely not going to make that distinction on the mainland.

And besides Hong Kong I'm expecting a certain level of pollution; I'm from LA, it's not my biggest concern.

So, any more recommendations?
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 567
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The pollution in LA is NOTHING compared to the pollution on the mainland. You can literally go months and months and never see the sun.

To your question, I am in Guangzhou atm. Was in a couple of other cities before. Guangzhou (pollution aside) seems ok I guess. Can get western things pretty easy. Lot's of western type bars...etc. Greatest thing is 2 hour fast train ride to Hong Kong. Far enough from the reach of Beijing. Cantonese food is ok I guess. Honestly had a better time in Chengdu but Chengdu is a second tier city. But, 11,000,000 people as second tier city is big enough.
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1490
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, it would help if you let us know what you like about a big city. High-brow culture such as museums, operas, orchestras, etc? An indy music scene? Proximity to tourist destinations? Book stores? Western food options? Nightclubs? Traffic jams? A good public transportation system? (Not likely being from LA.) Do you like the beach? The mountains? etc.

The mainland has MANY cities that are large in the population sense as well as geographically occupying a lot of space.
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rlivings



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 7
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm looking for a city that won't run out of things for me to do, a city that doesn't close down at 10pm. I'm mostly into it for for the high-brow culture: museums and the like, an underground public transport system thats efficient (a must have due to the LA experience), and some good decent nightlife with a music scene. I would like to hear music besides top 40.. I would like to see some foreigners every now and again just to chat. Currently I'm in a location with none besides my 3 fellow teachers.

Environmentally I'm fine with w/e mountains or the beach, temperature doesn't bother me. I can eat anything and don't really care about western food all that much.

Hope this helps.
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MisterButtkins



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1215

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO Beijing fits your criteria the best.
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twilothunder



Joined: 09 Dec 2011
Posts: 442

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Add Nanjing to your list as well, probably.

Also has lots of history and has been the capital twice (although now a second-tier city and only a provincial capital).

Direct flights to Germany, 1.5 hours from Shanghai and 4 hours from Beijing on the new Gaotie line, has a subway, very Westernised for a 'lesser' Chinese city, much nicer weather and people than Xian and less pollution (it seems). Lots of universities. Cost of living not so high as SH or BJ. Good local cuisine (Huaiyang cuisine is one of the famous four traditions).
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Trevor Wadlow



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 91
Location: china

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:58 am    Post subject: Big City Comparison Reply with quote

The boy is from LA. I can understand his misgivings. I am from London, I have been in China for five years.

Nanjing is good but Shanghai is what he really needs.

Trust me.
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twilothunder



Joined: 09 Dec 2011
Posts: 442

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be more inclined to agree with Mr Buttkins than you, Trevor.

Having lived in both, Beijing has more to offer than Shanghai.

Trust me.
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 567
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would pick Shanghai over Beijing any day. Further from the seat of government, just all around cleaner, not as cold in the winter.
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rlivings wrote:
I'm looking for a city that won't run out of things for me to do, a city that doesn't close down at 10pm. I'm mostly into it for for the high-brow culture: museums and the like, an underground public transport system thats efficient (a must have due to the LA experience), and some good decent nightlife with a music scene. I would like to hear music besides top 40. I would like to see some foreigners every now and again just to chat. Currently I'm in a location with none besides my 3 fellow teachers.


Shanghai?

I'd be inclined to fall into the Trevor Wadlow camp.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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rlivings



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 7
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, thanks for all the posts everyone.

I think that both Beijing and Shanghai would be more than livable, but what I'm really interested in is the why; what makes it or breaks it for you? What are the big differences that make you so polarized toward one or the other? I will have an easier time making a decision if I have a better idea of the vibe of each location.

I would also appreciate hearing about some of the other larger cities. Chances are I'm going to end up in Shanghai or Beijing, but they aren't the only ones out there.

Cheers
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