Monday, 28 June 2010

Miscellaneous topics 2

Forum: Questions and Answers

Summarisation of interesting smaller sized posts in another forum.

Topic: Can Foreigners apply for credit card in Shanghai.

The gist of it is yes, if you have been there for several years and have collateral or something. But having to deposit 100000RMB for the life of the card, kind of defeats the purpose.
Topic: Shanghai tipping etiquette.
Varying opinions on whether or not to tip. Whether it is an insult. Whether people do or do not get offended.
Topic: Shanghai Customs query
A query about what exactly you have to declare when entering the country. Seems pretty relaxed, as long as there are no animal-based products.
Topic: Online shopping in China.
A guy tries out a range of online shopping sites, and reports the results. One of which is a scam, another has dodgy sellers, and two others are good.
Topic: The Chinese work ethic.
It is hard to tell if this 35 page thread has any useful information given that most of it is rambling.
Topic: Shanghai Bookstores
One or two pointers for locations of bookstores, although whether the stores are still around is another story. Other pointers to Book Depository.
Topic: Respratory Illness and Acne: Is the air the cause?
Discussion about the effect of living in Shanghai on the health. Acne, constant colds and so forth.
Topic: Wills Gym in Jing An
Discussion about a gym very close to where I will be staying, and how much it costs.
Topic: best coffee shop to do work
Mainly recommends Costa (quipped as Costa-lot) again. Or some expensive and smokey domestic chain called UBC.
Topic: Amazon
A few tips for ordering from Amazon overseas, or Amazon China (which has no english version).
Topic: Finding shoes as a US 13
More advice on how to find larger shoes, or ship them in. Mixed opinion on the quality of shoes made in the market.
Topic: Need tax help before I'm carted off to Jail
Links to a tax calculator, and has lots of ideas, but not enough authoritative sounding information.
Topic: China Fatigue
Disdain for how things are done in China. Customs shenanigans. Property speculation. Government approaches to spending.
Topic: The laowai side-eye.
Foreigner etiquette when passing other foreigners in Shanghai.
More discussion about how reliable it is, fast its shipping is and the cash on delivery approach.
Topic: What's with all the lying???
Something about how people promise to get things done, but don't do it. Then lie to cover it up. Apparently this is saving face.
Topic: Healthcare Insurance
Discussion of different healthcare providers, costs and quotes.
Topic: Bumping into Chinese people on Sidepath.
Another etiquette thread. To do with Chinese people rarely not changing path to avoid head on walking collisions. Moves onto car/pedestrian magnetism.
Topic: Where to run?
Discussion of suitable places to run.
Topic: Delivery for McDonalds and KFC
When I was in university, living in a student residence, we used to speculate that we could make some decent money doing a delivery service for fast food other than pizza. In Shanghai, apparently they can live the dream.

For KFC, a poster mentions that 50 RMB is the minimum order (~10$NZ, which would barely feed one person in NZ). And another mentions for McD's that despite a nearby branch, his order was delivered from miles away. A later poster recommends demanding the order now, to prevent long delivery times.
Topic: Are you registered with your local consulate general?
You can do this online for New Zealanders. But it was a good reminder.
Topic: Fake rmb note.
A good thread that brings up all the same information spread out elsewhere. Learn what notes should look like. Learn what notes should feel like. Buy a blue light doo-dad to shine on the notes and see the serial number. The reason Chinese people take so long at ATMs, is because they are checking to see if the bank gave them fakes. Advice for handling if you get a fake out of the ATM. A link is given to this blog, where pictures of the notes are illustrated with the important features.
Dredging through these forums has been educational with regard to what people know, look for in goods and services and more importantly things I need to look into more. Like fa piao, counterfeit money and more.

Miscellaneous topics 1

Forum: Lifestyle Recommendations.

I am just going through the remaining topics posted within this forum, which are generally limited in size, noting anything which might be useful.

Topic: Used English Bookstore?

One post points out a shop in Fuzhou Lu.
Topic: buying mens shoes.
Locations like Decathlon to buy shoes for people with larger shoes.
Topic: ORGANIC food
Shops like Carrefour and City sell organic food, although there are concerns that it looks dubious. Mention is made that non-organic Australian meat is sold at Elders. Mention is made that a small shop sells Italian goods. Someone brings it back on topic noting that Organic Farm do online ordering and home delivery. Someone else adds Helekang and Tongchu which also do online ordering and home delivery.
Topic: Another homemade yogurt question.
I find homemade yogurt to be cheaper, and tastier, having made it in New Zealand for the past half year. Even using the better quality and more expensive milk, which makes a hugely noticeable difference in the produced yogurt, it is still easily better than either buying yogurt or using the packet method (Eziyo) of making yogurt at home.

Someone mentions that Eziyo can be found at cityshop.
It is suggested that you really need to speak Mandarin to use this site. The payment method seems to be a form of escrow. Steps outlining what you need, and what you need to do, to use the sight. Some tips for using the site, without being able to read Mandarin.
Topic: Shop Taobao in English.
Detailed instructions for how to shop Taobo in English.
Topic: Custom Made Shoes.
Differing reports on satisfaction with custom made shoes.
Topic: Using a credit card
Can you use your US credit card? "They have signs posted that they only accept cards with the UNION PAY logo."
Topic: Mailing a parcel from UK to Shanghai.
Concerns about parcels going missing, or held in customs. Tips and speculation about ensuring delivery, and the causes of delays.
Topic: Any place to ski near Shanghai?
Someone replies noting they went skiing yesterday, with details about the distance, slopes and travel cost.
Topic: Cafes with Good Coffee and Internet
A common reply is Costa.

Tips for living well in Shanghai

I've written up the highlights of another forum thread, this time related to tips for living well in Shanghai. As before, the thread covers a period of around five years, so some may be less relevant than they were when posted (assuming they were relevant then).

Forums: Shanghai Expat.
Sub-forum: Lifestyle Recommendations.
Topic: Tips for living well in Shanghai.

Priority Requirements

- Getting a temporary residence slip from the nearest PSB within 48 hours. [1]


- The maglev to the airport is cheaper if you can produce a ticket for travel on that day. [1]


- Approaches to bartering. [1]
- Determining the fair price for something before leaving home. [1]


- Goods are not weighed at the counter, but rather by assistants at scales. [1]
- Places you can buy foreigner food. [1]


- People performing a service in your home should be informed not to smoke. [1]
- If getting internet installed, speed check it before the technician leaves, making sure he fixes it. [1]


- You can get your visa/passport delivered to your home for a small fee. [1]
- Buying pre-paid SIMs from tobacco stands. [1]
- The last week of the month (after payday) is not the best time to go to the bank. [1]
- Carry cash and small notes as not everyone can give change. [1]
- The best public restrooms are McDonalds and KFC and you do not need to be a customer. [1]
- Have a english / mandarin speaker on speed dial, so you can call them to translate in an emergency. [1]
- Pay bills at selected convenience stores. [1]
- Get some decent maps. [1]
- Get familiar with different forms of transport so you have more options. [1]


- Declining the tissues you do not want, but have to pay for. [1]

Avoiding being ripped off

- Always ask for a receipt after you finish a taxi ride. [1] [2]
- Beware the maroon taxis. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
- Spotting counterfeit money.  Where to buy ultraviolet pens that help. [1] [2] [3]
- Spotting a fake fa piao. [1] [2]


- Cycling and unsafe taxi drivers. [1]

Being prepared

- Carry toilet paper as toilets may lack it. [1] [2] [3]
- Carry antibacterial cleaning gels as toilets may lack soap. [1] [2]


- Pushing and shoving in crowded spaces is normal. [1] [2] [3]
- Bowls of liquid might not be for drinking, but for washing hands. [1]
- Smiling and staying calm in all circumstances to help save face and resolve a situation. [1] [2]
- Always arrive on time, better to be early than late. [1]
- Friendly general phrases which help. [1] [2]
- Don't criticise how China works. [1]

Getting help

- A phone number that converts between english and chinese. [1]