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Chengdu, Chongqing, or other?

 
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Nkengaola



Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Wanzhou, Chongqing

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:54 am    Post subject: Chengdu, Chongqing, or other? Reply with quote

I am currently working as an English teacher for a language school in Wanzhou, Chongqing province. I'm thinking about moving on to a larger city for my next contract, but I don't want a city as large as Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou. Chengdu and Chongqing have both been recommended to me, but I'd also like to hear about other cities.

What I have (if it matters):
    -American passport
    -Bachelors degree in English from an Ivy League university (might impress the locals)
    -Some teaching experience in the US, and will have one year of TEFL experience by June 2013
    -NO teaching license
    -Online TEFL certificate (for various reasons, I don't plan to get a CELTA or equivalent anytime in the near future)
    -41 years old
    -Black American (African-American if you prefer)


What I'm looking for:
    -A city with more than 20 foreign teachers (I think Wanzhou has 10, seven of whom I work with)
    -Some Western-style food besides McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut - I love Chinese food, but I like to eat at Western restaurants occasionally
    -Other international cuisines would be awesome, especially Thai, Indian, and Mexican (may be a long shot)
    -A live music scene
    -A few museums


Having four distinct seasons is great. Hot, humid summers are fine, but no winters that get below freezing regularly.

Any suggestions?
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rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1178

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chongqing has a population of over 28 million people.
Probably more crowded and polluted than Shanghai.
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kunming, but the pay is traditionally very low.
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:35 am    Post subject: Re: Chengdu, Chongqing, or other? Reply with quote

Nkengaola wrote:
What I'm looking for:
    -A city with more than 20 foreign teachers (I think Wanzhou has 10, seven of whom I work with)
    -Some Western-style food besides McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut - I love Chinese food, but I like to eat at Western restaurants occasionally
    -Other international cuisines would be awesome, especially Thai, Indian, and Mexican (may be a long shot)
    -A live music scene
    -A few museums


Having four distinct seasons is great. Hot, humid summers are fine, but no winters that get below freezing regularly.

Any suggestions?


Chengdu definitely fits that bill.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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Von Dut



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 108
Location: Limbo

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chengdu has a Mexican restaurant!! Tex-Mex actually.
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Von Dut wrote:
Chengdu has a Mexican restaurant!! Tex-Mex actually.


Peter's Tex-Mex...it's not too shabby.

Grandma's Kitchen also has adequate Mexican cuisine and the Lazy Pug has a Thursday night Mexican food theme which can be decent as well.

There's actually a fair bit of Indian, Thai, Japanese, and Korean food in the 'du as well. All of it is decent.

I would say that www.gochengdoo.com could be a starting point for checking out what's on hand in the 'du.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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Nkengaola



Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Wanzhou, Chongqing

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, everyone! I will look at Chengdu more closely.

Any other cities I should consider?
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1507
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might also try looking into some of the cities near Shanghai, such as Suzhou. There are many small to large cities in Zhejiang and Jiangsu with foreign populations and some or all of your requirements. Plus they are close to Shanghai, so you could pop over for a culture fix every now and again. Same thing with the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong. You don't have to live in Guangzhou or Shenzhen but in a nearby city. Easy to get around if you want to make a trip to the big town. Or go down to Hong Kong or Macau for a day or a weekend. Xiamen is popular with foreigners but I still haven't been.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Chengdu, Chongqing, or other? Reply with quote

Nkengaola wrote:


What I'm looking for:
    -A city with more than 20 foreign teachers (I think Wanzhou has 10, seven of whom I work with)
    -Some Western-style food besides McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut - I love Chinese food, but I like to eat at Western restaurants occasionally
    -Other international cuisines would be awesome, especially Thai, Indian, and Mexican (may be a long shot)
    -A live music scene
    -A few museums


Having four distinct seasons is great. Hot, humid summers are fine, but no winters that get below freezing regularly.

Any suggestions?


Ill go with my usual suggestion of Yangshuo. Hardly a city ... more of a small town, but hits the spot with your wish list pretty much.

Always more than 20 foreign teachers, probably another 20 people in town who arent teaching, and other randoms travelling through if ex-pat crowds are your thing.

Western food is readily available ... Plenty of decent burger and pizza joints as well as KFC/McDonalds. Cheap too (28 RMB for a home-made cheese burger with fries and a 600ml beer). Id say there are about 5 places with Mexican dishes, and two awesome and authentic Indian restaurants that are also cheap.

Music scene is live music in bars. Always a few musicians in town, some have long term residencies at some of the bars. If you like hip-hop there is a Chinese hip-hop bar where the guys have rap battles. Thats in Chinese of course but they arent adverse to letting foreigners on the mike either.

Not much in way of museums though, but tons of touristy things to do instead.

Winters are also quite short, never below zero ... although 10 weeks of 6c feels damn cold anyway.

As already mentioned for Kunming ... expect low salaries. I always feel compensated by the general ease of living though.
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 576
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always go with Chengdu just on a culinary standpoint. You can travel all around and most of the Chinese food is kind of the same. In my experience the food in Chengdu is just better. More spices used, more creative. There are plenty of western restaurants if that's what you want but it would be a shame to miss out on the awesome food. My job took me away this past year and I have made 2 trips back in the last two months just to eat.

Sorry Fat Chris with all respect, but Peter's Tex-Mex is terrible and way over priced. I guess if you REALLY need a Tex-Mex hit it will do in a pinch but it is by no means a good replacement for real Tex-Mex.

I do like the burger place "The Spot" by Panam. Solid Burgers.

Sorry to turn this into a food post. But, given the choice of cities I would want to live in in China and having traveled extensively, Chengdu wins hands down.
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loads of chinese cities look the same and have the same feel, but food is one area where they are usually quite different. Chengdu has awesome food and that puts it head and shoulders above most other places if you ask me.
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banner41 wrote:
Sorry Fat Chris with all respect, but Peter's Tex-Mex is terrible and way over priced. I guess if you REALLY need a Tex-Mex hit it will do in a pinch but it is by no means a good replacement for real Tex-Mex.


No need to apologize, Banner41. I don't disagree with you. Peter's Tex-Mex is not too shabby, it's all right...but it's just that...all right. Certainly nothing to write home about. I guess because it's supposedly THE Tex-Mex place in Chengdu, it's supposed to be all that.

Good thing I come from Ohio and not from Texas.

Thanks for the tip about The Spot. I pass by that place all the time. Will duck in there one day for a burger. Can sit outside.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
Chengdu has awesome food and that puts it head and shoulders above most other places if you ask me.


My Chengdu-native colleague has switched me on to the "fly restaurant" (苍蝇馆子) scene here in Our Chengdu. As she explained the concept to me for the first time, I then taught her the phrase "hole in the wall", which I guess is the rough equivalent.

There's a ranking of these "fly restaurants" and some of them have a solid reputation among the locals. I went to one this afternoon for lunch. Great stuff. I felt quite contented and at ease with the world while I was having my lunch and thought, "I should stick around Chengdu for a while".

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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Nkengaola



Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Wanzhou, Chongqing

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, food. I love food. That might be the best reason to pick Chengdu! Although that will probably negate any savings I was hoping to amass.

I mostly ate at Asian-style restaurants while living in the US - never thought I'd seriously miss a good hamburger.
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