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7. Services Available

THE U.S. EMBASSY AND CONSULATES

You should register with your local consulate after you arrive in China and each time you change your address. They will keep an emergency locator card on file in case relatives need to reach you quickly. The card is also useful if you lose your passport, develop a serious illness, or have other problems. If you live in a city where there is a consulate, you can also expect to be invited to functions hosted by the consulate—dances, movies, Friday afternoon happy hours, Christmas parties, and the annual Fourth of July gathering. Bring your passport with you to register and whenever you visit, because entry is granted only to U.S. citizens. In fact, many people advise carrying your passport with you at all times. You will need it for routine banking, for currency exchange, and internal travel. Anyone wandering off the beaten track will find it particularly useful to have proof of U.S. citizenship.

The staffs of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang can help in case of medical or financial emergency, difficulties with the police, or the death of a friend or relative in China. You should contact them for advice and assistance. They can get plane tickets out of the country fast. In a medical emergency, they can arrange for a plane or helicopter to take you to Hong Kong or Japan. The telephone number of the Cultural Affairs Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing is 532-1161.

For more information on consular services, consult Tips for Travelers to the People's Republic of China, available for $1.00 from:

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC 7. Services Available THE U.S. EMBASSY AND CONSULATES You should register with your local consulate after you arrive in China and each time you change your address. They will keep an emergency locator card on file in case relatives need to reach you quickly. The card is also useful if you lose your passport, develop a serious illness, or have other problems. If you live in a city where there is a consulate, you can also expect to be invited to functions hosted by the consulate—dances, movies, Friday afternoon happy hours, Christmas parties, and the annual Fourth of July gathering. Bring your passport with you to register and whenever you visit, because entry is granted only to U.S. citizens. In fact, many people advise carrying your passport with you at all times. You will need it for routine banking, for currency exchange, and internal travel. Anyone wandering off the beaten track will find it particularly useful to have proof of U.S. citizenship. The staffs of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang can help in case of medical or financial emergency, difficulties with the police, or the death of a friend or relative in China. You should contact them for advice and assistance. They can get plane tickets out of the country fast. In a medical emergency, they can arrange for a plane or helicopter to take you to Hong Kong or Japan. The telephone number of the Cultural Affairs Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing is 532-1161. For more information on consular services, consult Tips for Travelers to the People's Republic of China, available for $1.00 from: The Superintendent of Documents U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, D.C. 20402

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is housed in three compounds near Ritan Park. The ambassador's residence and the offices of the press and cultural section (the U.S. Information Service office in Beijing) are located at 17 Guanghua Lu. The Bruce Building, located at 2 Xiushui Dong Jie, is a few blocks away and houses the consular section (where U.S. citizens register) and the administrative section. The main compound houses the embassy's executive offices and the offices of the political, science and technology, and economic sections as well as the Foreign Commercial Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service. The following list of U.S. Embassy and consulate addresses and personnel was current as of February 1994. Area codes are provided for your reference but do not need to be dialed if you are calling from within the same city. When calling within China, the city area code is preceded by a ''0." U.S. Embassy/Beijing Xiushui Bei Jie #3   Beijing 100600, PRC   Telephone: 1-532-3831   FAX: 1-532-3178   Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy Deputy Chief of Mission Scott Hallford Political Counselor Neil Silver Economic Counselor Christopher Szymanski Commercial Counselor Melvin Searls Agricultural Attache William Brant Science/Technology Attache Marco DiCapua U.S. Information Service (USIS)   Telephone: 1-532-1161   FAX: 1-532-2039   Public Affairs Officer Frank Scotton Deputy Public Affairs Officer Larry Daks Cultural Affairs Officer Eugene Nojek Information Officer Lorraine Toly Education Officer Elizabeth Kauffman U.S. Consulate General/Chengdu No. 4 Ling Shi Lu   Renmin Nan Lu, Section 4   Chengdu 610041   Sichuan Province, PRC   Telephone: 28-558-3992   FAX: 28-558-3520   Consul General Donald Camp Branch Public Affairs Officer (USIS) Frank Neville

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC U.S. Consulate General/Guangzhou (Canton) White Swan Hotel   Guangzhou 510133   Guangdong Province, PRC   Telephone: 20-888-8911   FAX: 20-886-2341   Consul General Eugene Martin Branch Public Affairs Officer (USIS) Phillip Wright U.S. Consulate General/Shanghai 1469 Huaihai Zhong Lu   Shanghai 200031, PRC   Telephone: 21-433-6880   FAX: 21-433-4122   Consul General Jerome Ogden Branch Public Affairs Officer (USIS) M. Lynne Martin U.S. Consulate General/Shenyang No. 52, 14 Wei Lu   Heping District   Shenyang 110003   Liaoning, PRC   Telephone: 24-282-0068   FAX: 24-282-0074   Consul General Gerald Pascua Branch Public Affairs Officer (USIS) Valerie Crites POSTAL SERVICES Every university campus and most hotels and neighborhood shopping areas have post offices or counters that provide basic postal services; in many cases, this includes international registered mail. Some of the smaller counters sell only cards, letters, and stamps. International parcel post and other special services are usually offered in specified post offices-in Beijing, at the Friendship Hotel and the International Post Office, located in Jianguomenwai, near the diplomatic quarter. In February 1994, airmail rates from China to the United States were Y2 for a letter and Y1.60 for a postcard. Internal airmail costs Y0.30 or Y0.40 if more than 10g. Internal surface rates are still inexpensive at Y0.20 outside the city and Y0.10 within any urban area. Sea-mail shipment of printed matter is Y26.10 for a 2-kilogram package and Y11 for each additional kilogram. A supply of book mailers can be useful for easy shipment of small parcels. Sea-mail rates for other materials aver-

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC age about Y20.90 per kilogram. Packages must be opened and inspected at the post office, which also provides customs forms. Some post offices sell the paper and string for sealing the package. Many Chinese customers prefer to sew cloth bags or build wooden crates for their fragile parcels. Film can be mailed out in special containers sold in the major post offices. Books can be mailed from any postal counter. Express mail is now available from Chinese post offices in major cities for about the same cost as similar services in the United States; it takes from four days to one week to reach most U.S. destinations. Air freight is handled through the Friendship Stores and the airlines. DHL Worldwide Express has service from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Delivery to the United States takes three to four working days. Larger packages can be shipped through special arrangement. Mail delivery in larger cities is usually quite reliable. Letters from the United States to Beijing take about seven to twelve days and from Beijing to major U.S. cities, from four to seven days. You should add a few days for mail that must reach smaller cities on either side. Mail in China sometimes shows evidence of tampering, but rarely goes permanently astray. Since mail at work units is often put into boxes for one or more persons or just laid out on a table or in a hallway, mail is lost usually between this point and the intended recipient. One solution is to make a point of meeting the person who distributes the mail and get to know him personally. For important documents, registered mail is safest. The post office will send a notice for the addressee to pick up the package at the post office, and identification is required. If you move within China, mail will not be forwarded. Notify your correspondents of your new address. In the meantime, you or a friend must return to your original address to pick up mail. Mail delivery from the United States can be expedited by asking relatives and friends to stamp letters and packages clearly as airmail and address them to you in the People's Republic of China. If you are literate in Chinese, or have a friend who is, write out the address in characters on a label that can be left at home and photocopied for multiple use. If not, use Pinyin10 romanization for the name of your city. Not all postal clerks are familiar with Pinyin, however, and delivery can be slowed while the mail is referred to someone who is. As noted earlier, Chinese postal regulations prohibit mailing large amounts of 10   Pinyin, the system of romanization now used in China, has replaced the WadeGiles romanization system used prior to 1979. The Pinyin system more accurately reflects standard Mandarin names and pronunciations. Thus, Peking is now correctly rendered as Beijing, Canton is referred to by its Mandarin pronunciation—Guangzhou—and so forth. Maps and atlases published after 1979 should list the Pinyin romanizations of Chinese cities and provinces.

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC used clothing into the country for other than personal use, and medicines of any kind may not be mailed to China except with special permission in emergency situations. Americans who are not members of the diplomatic community may not ordinarily use the diplomatic pouch. CURRENCY AND BANKING The Chinese currency (renminbi or RMB) is based on a decimal system. The basic unit is the yuan (or Chinese dollar), referred to colloquially as the kuai. The yuan is subdivided into 10 jiao (more commonly called mao, the Chinese dime) and 100 fen (penny). The largest paper RMB amount is the 100-yuan note (Y100). There are also notes in amounts of Y50, Y10, Y5, Y2, Y1, and 1, 2, and 5 jiao and fen. Coins come in denominations of Y1 and smaller. The official rate of exchange in February 1994 was Y8.7 to US$ 1.00. It is now legal to take up to Y6,000 of RMB in and out of the country, and RMB can be legally bought and sold in Hong Kong, at the Po Sang Bank on Queen's Road Central. Prior to January 1, 1994, the Chinese government also issued a special scrip called foreign exchange certificates (FEC) in exchange for foreign currency. FEC can still be used as currency, at a value and in a manner equivalent to RMB, but it is no longer issued by the bank. The bills are gradually being withdrawn from circulation. No transactions now require FEC payment. When foreign currency or traveler's checks are exchanged at a bank, only RMB is given in return. As of February 1994, FEC can still be converted back into foreign currencies at the Bank of China, at the rate valid on December 31, 1993 (approximately Y5.8 = US$1.00). Exchange memos documenting previous exchange transactions from foreign currencies into FEC may be required for this transaction. This reconversion privilege is subject to revision at any time, so readers are encouraged to check with the Chinese Embassy, the nearest consulate, or the Bank of China about current practice. U.S. dollars remain in high demand. Some universities and research institutes have asked that tuition or affiliation fees be paid in dollars. Prices at joint venture hotels are often quoted in dollars. Ask your host unit to direct you to the nearest Bank of China branch with full services for foreigners. In Beijing, most Americans frequent either the office on Dengshikou Xijie just north of Wangfujing Dajie or the bank on the ground floor of the CITIC building in the Jianguomenwai area. You can open a bank account (a savings account that pays a low rate of interest) easily, in U.S. dollars or RMB, and withdrawals can be made at any time. If your account is opened as a U.S. dollar account, you can withdraw funds in either U.S. dollars or RMB; but if it is opened using RMB, you can make withdrawals only in

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC RMB. All transactions are recorded in a passbook that must be surrendered when you leave the country. Bank drafts drawn on the Bank of China and issued in foreign currency may be sent out of the country, and no problems in cashing them have been reported in the United States. Wire transfers carry a minimal fee and usually go smoothly. As noted earlier, it is important that your U.S. bank have correspondent relations with the Bank of China. Banking can be time-consuming, especially if you live far from a branch that handles foreign exchange. Some people choose to keep traveler's checks on hand since they can be converted at the exchange counter of any hotel or store that serves foreigners. In some hotels these counters are open only a few hours each day. Even in hotels where the counters are staffed seven days a week, some close for two hours at lunchtime. The counters at joint-venture hotels, however, are usually open from early morning until late in the evening. ELECTRONIC MAIL, FAX, AND TELEX FACILITIES For information on bringing your own fax machine to China, see Chapter 2. While telex facilities are widely available at major hotels, the telex is now rarely used except in the most remote locations. Faxes have become more common for business communication. Most large work units in urban areas have a fax machine or access to one. Be aware, however, that while business communications will be free of charge to the recipient, some Chinese may be charged for both sending and receiving of personal faxes. Because the charges are usually too expensive for ordinary Chinese, faxes are not typically used as a means of communicating with friends. Charges to send faxes from joint-venture hotels can be $10 to $12 for two pages. At one university, the cost was Y66 per page to send to the United States. You will receive an incoming fax more quickly if it includes your name and address in Chinese. In general, it is wise to check with the office housing the fax if you are expecting to receive one. However, be warned that many offices turn off their fax machines outside working hours, which is when most faxes are sent from North America. Electronic mail (e-mail) is being introduced into some universities and research institutes, and businesses with their own telephone lines may be able to communicate by e-mail. At this writing, the two primary e-mail services available for use in China are AT&T E-mail and CHINAPAC, China's national packet switching data network, which is supported by the Chinese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. (The telephone number for the CHINAPAC office in Beijing is 1-601-0861 or 601-1376.) CompuServe connections are possible from Beijing

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC but require a long-distance connection. Electronic mail is so new and rare that, at present, individual U.S. scholars, students, and teachers cannot rely on the system for communicating with the United States. This situation is likely to change soon, however, and if you are accustomed to communication by e-mail, you will want to keep up with the latest developments in China. THE TELEPHONE While major efforts are under way to modernize the Chinese communications system, most individuals still do not have private telephones, and many have no phones at all. In some cases, people can be reached by a phone housed in a local residence committee office. The person answering the phone will then have to fetch the person being called. Some people, however, have phones in their apartments that go through a central switchboard in their work unit. Incoming calls go through the switchboard and are connected through an extension number. Outgoing calls are made either by going back through the central switchboard or by dialing "9" or "0." Some teachers living in apartments and most researchers in hotels have phones in their rooms that are hooked up to a central switchboard. Most student dormitories, however, only have one phone per floor. Incoming calls are received by a worker in the dormitory office who then announces the call by loudspeaker. Since these workers do not know English, callers must know your Chinese name. Placing a call from a dormitory can take time. Demand for the phone can be high, and many institutions have only one outside line. Local calls within any city in China are generally free, although public pay phones are coming into use in larger cities like Beijing. The cost is a few fen per call. Connections on both local and long-distance calls within China continue to be poor, but telephone lines are constantly being improved. Long-distance calls within China placed through an operator can take considerable time to connect—from ten minutes to a couple of hours—particularly during peak business hours, because the phone lines are often overloaded. Some cities now have domestic direct dial (DDD) calls, which go through immediately and are quite clear. International calls, transmitted by satellite, are always clear, and major hotels and office buildings now have international direct dial (IDD). IDD service is now being introduced to many buildings housing foreign teachers and students. Collect calls or calls from the United States to China are much cheaper than calls from China to the United States. Major U.S. telephone companies now have money-saving plans for frequent callers from China and other parts of Asia. For a small monthly service charge,

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC phone calls to and from the United States are considerably cheaper than the standard rate. International calls to the United States are possible from phones without IDD hook-ups by dialing 10811, which will connect you with an AT&T English-speaking operator. English-speaking operators for other international calling companies, such as MCI and Sprint, can be accessed by dialing 10812, 10813, etc. While these calls can take some time to place, the introduction of IDD lines has greatly reduced the demand on these lines, and most calls will go through in 10 to 30 minutes, particularly if they are made in off-business hours. After your conversation is completed, the operator will call back to verify the time. The bill is usually paid at a service desk. If you are staying in a Chinese hotel, let friends and family know your room number if you are expecting them to call. Foreigners are typically identified by room number rather than by name. Joint-venture hotels, however, do keep a central registry with the names and room numbers of their guests. All of China operates on one time zone: 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern standard time and 16 hours ahead of Pacific standard time (even though, geographically, the country covers the equivalent of several time zones). As of this writing, China is not using daylight savings time. Telephone books can be purchased in China, but they contain only business numbers. Especially recommended are two directories that contain addresses and telephone numbers of various work units, including foreign firms. The first, The China Phone Book and Business Directory, can be ordered from: The China Phone Book Company G.P.O. Box 11581 Hong Kong Telephone: 852-508-4448 The second, China Telephone Directory, is published annually by the Beijing Telecommunications Equipment Plant (telephone: 1-513-7878). Many bookstores in China also sell telephone directories. Since private. telephones are not publicly listed, be sure to give your phone number to Chinese friends and colleagues and ask for theirs (if they have a phone) as well. Most business cards also contain a number where the person can be reached. MEDICAL CARE If the host unit will be responsible for your medical care, you will be issued a medical insurance card specifying which hospitals will provide

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC treatment. If home remedies do not work and you are ill with a common complaint, such as a bad cold or stomach upset, your work unit's medical clinic may be able to prescribe medication. Health care staff there will be trained in basic medicine, although most will not speak English. There is a tendency to over-medicate, however, by prescribing a combination of large doses of antibiotics and traditional Chinese medicine. Injections with large needles are common. Chinese medicine is effective for a wide range of illnesses and is especially useful for the colds and diarrhea that often trouble foreigners. If you are seriously ill or if you feel a diagnosis is needed, you have several options. If you are covered by the SOS Assistance Plan, you may want first to call the SOS doctor or your own doctor in the United States. Either of them may be able to make a preliminary diagnosis and suggest what medication you might need and what further medical help you should get. You could also go immediately to one of the hospitals in your city that offers outpatient care to foreigners. In Beijing, the Peking Union Medical College is generally considered the best, but the Sino-Japanese Hospital and the Friendship Hospital are also good. There is also the International Medical Center, in the Beijing Lufthansa Center, Rm. S106, No. 50 Liangmaqiao Road. If you prefer Chinese medicine, the hospital associated with the Chinese Academy of Traditional Medicine is good, particularly for people with back problems seeking a good therapeutic massage. The Worker's Hospital in Nanjing and the Huadong Hospital, the Huashan Hospital, and the Number One People's Hospital in Shanghai have a special wing for foreigners and usually have at least one English-speaking physician on duty. The Wuhan University Hospital is also good. Speak with other foreigners in your city to find out which hospitals serve foreigners. If you or one of your family members or friends have a medical emergency, a taxi is ordinarily the quickest way to get to the hospital. Ambulances are in short supply and do not ordinarily have medical equipment. If you are diabetic, or if you have asthma or severe allergies, let your close neighbors and friends know, since they are likely to be available and can help if you have an attack. Wear a medical identification bracelet if you are allergic to any medications or if you have Rh-negative blood. Chinese do not have Rh-negative blood and thus do not stock it in their blood banks. Therefore, it is extremely important that anyone with Rh-negative blood register at the U.S. Embassy so that blood can be located quickly from the foreign community in case of emergency. The embassy launches periodic blood drives and encourages all Americans to participate. Medical service at the U.S. Embassy is confined to the staff except in extraordinary, life-threatening situations. The Japanese, Australian, French, and British embassies usually have a physician on staff who

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC will see other foreign nationals, and they sometimes stock medications not available in Chinese facilities. You can call the general information number at these embassies to obtain telephone numbers of their staff physicians. If you will be relying on your own medical insurance, the cost of a recent hospitalization in the Peking Union Medical College is instructive. In 1992, a two-week hospital stay, including all tests and doctors' fees, was US$3,000. Emergency treatment, including medications, may be as little as Y100. URBAN TRANSPORTATION There are many means of transportation to get around—bus, minibus, taxi, bicycle, and by foot. Buses are slow and often crowded, particularly at rush hour, but they are cheap and monthly bus passes cut the price still further. Ask your work unit to help you apply for a bus pass. Most universities are located in the suburbs. A bus ride into the city can be long, although buses typically run frequently. In Beijing, the bus from Peking University to the center of the city takes at least one hour. In Shanghai, the ride from Fudan University to downtown can take up to an hour and a half. In some cities, the buses stop running early in the evening. Check your bus route for the times of operation. Some cities now have minibuses that are usually less crowded. Ask people in your work unit about the routes. Minibuses (or mianbaoche —"bread trucks," because they are shaped like a loaf of bread) can also be rented by the day or half-day for group outings. Most cities now have an ample supply of taxis. Every hotel will have a line of waiting cabs, and in most places they can also be hailed in the street. Some campuses also have a taxi stand. If not, call the nearest taxi company and wait for the car to arrive. The cost of taxis ranges from Y1 to Y2 per kilometer, depending on the model of the car. Taxis in some cities charge a set fee for initial flagfall; in Shanghai this can range from Y10 to Y15. Be certain to check the mileage costs before engaging a car. Most taxis are metered, and all should have a sticker or information card that cites fares per kilometer. Beware of unregistered taxis and broken meters. Beijing now has yellow minivan taxis (miandi) that cost about one-fourth the price of regular taxis and can be hailed on the street. If you need a taxi to visit places where return cars are not available, you can ask the driver to wait. Waiting costs are calculated at five-minute intervals—five minutes equals one kilometer. You can also hire a taxi by the day or half-day. Rates vary depending on the city, company, and the make of the car. In Beijing, for example, daily rates start at Y200 with a distance limit of one hundred kilometers.

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC Most foreigners in China purchase bicycles. They are often the quickest and most efficient means of going short distances and are fun to use on an all-day outing. Most cities have bicycle lanes, but riding a bicycle still takes getting used to. Traffic in China's cities is heavy and can be chaotic, and accidents are on the rise. Women should be careful riding alone at night as some have been harassed. Bicycle repair shops are plentiful but usually open only during daylight hours. The best way to see any Chinese city is still on foot; and much of the fun of living in China is getting to know the place where you live. Taking a bus or taxi, or riding your bicycle into the heart of the city, and then setting out by foot will give you a taste of the local flavor. Buy a map of the city and set out to explore its various parts. RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT There is no reason to be bored in China. For sports enthusiasts, most university campuses have basketball and volleyball courts, track and soccer fields, and horizontal and parallel bars. Some have tennis courts and swimming pools. On most campuses, foreigners are welcome to participate in team sports, which is a good way to make new Chinese friends. Every city has at least one park, where people go early in the morning for different forms of exercise—taijiquan, ballroom and disco dancing, as well as qigong, Beijing opera, chess, and the daily "exercising" of pet birds. Foreigners are usually welcome as spectators or participants, and early morning visits to the local park are a good way to get to know city residents. Many parks are also large enough for a morning or afternoon run. Many activities have been organized especially for the foreign fitness buff. In Beijing, the International Club downtown and the Friendship Hotel in the university section of the suburbs each have a 50-meter pool and tennis courts. Most of the joint-venture hotels have exercise rooms and swimming pools. The International Club and Friendship Hotel pools offer monthly and daily passes. The Friendship Hotel requires a minimal physical examination for a monthly pass, given at the hotel's own clinic. No physical exam is necessary for a day pass, which is Y20. Most joint-venture hotels also have monthly memberships for their health club facilities. Most dormitories have communal television lounges, and almost all hotels have color televisions in each room. Many now have satellite dishes, so CNN, BBC, and many Hong Kong-based programs are also available. Universities often show movies, and every city has many movie theaters. Joint-venture hotels, such as the Great Wall Sheraton in Beijing, also sometimes show foreign movies. Some theater and opera

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC tickets can be ordered by phone, but you must stand in line early in the day to buy tickets for popular performances. Tickets for performances at popular concert halls are often difficult to obtain, but some work units are willing to help foreign guests obtain tickets for special shows. Students are often given tickets for a variety of events by their foreign affairs officials who also arrange for group transportation to the event. Many new forms of entertainment are now being introduced into China. Coffee shops and evening beer halls have become popular, along with the night food markets. Discotheques and karaoke bars are packed. Eating out is a favorite form of entertainment, and you will want to explore local restaurants. New, privately run restaurants are springing up all over China, and you should consult with both Western and Chinese friends about which are the best in your area. Every city also has a few old and famous restaurants that you will want to visit a few times during your stay. In Beijing, the Sichuan Restaurant, located in a ''four-cornered courtyard" complex that once belonged to the Qing general Yuan Shikai, is still a charming spot to eat hot and spicy Sichuan food, and the restaurant in Ritan Park, long famous for its dumplings and now refurbished with outdoor tables in warmer weather, is still popular for anyone visiting the Jianguomenwai area. Excellent Chinese food is found in some of the joint-venture hotels. The two Chinese restaurants in the Palace Hotel—one Sichuanese and the other Cantonese—are among the best in the city, as is the Jinglun's Tao Li Cantonese Restaurant. All joint-venture hotels also have Western food, and many have lunch or evening buffets, complete with salad bars. McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Pizza Hut also have restaurants in Beijing. Other large cities have similarly good restaurants well worth exploring. Check your guidebook and talk to friends about which are best. The names of Beijing restaurants are given here only because most people pass through Beijing for a few days during their time in China. Finally, almost every city has a few spots that are fascinating to explore but off the usual tourist routes. In Beijing, walks around the walls of the Forbidden City and a climb up Coal Hill, or walks through the tiny alleyways of Dashalan behind Qianmen, are always interesting. Taking a picnic lunch for a day to explore the unrestored Ming tombs will be a memorable experience. The huge Summer Palace complex has many areas where few tourists venture and which are best explored very late in the afternoon when most of the tourists have left. INTERNAL TRAVEL The possibilities for travel in China today are so rich and varied that only general guidelines can be suggested, especially since guidebooks,

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC newspapers, and magazines provide such a wealth of travel lore and advice. Hundreds of cities and towns are open to foreign travelers now and can be visited without special travel permits. Areas that are still not open can be visited only with a travel permit issued by the Public Security Bureau (gonganju). Foreign affairs officials should be asked to help secure these permits. Travelers willing to explore on their own can consult the guidebooks noted on page 40. Inexpensive casual travel is no longer limited to students. Many hardy travelers with no Chinese-language expertise are striking out through China on their own. One such traveler reports, "It was exhilarating to plan my own itinerary, to leave the beaten path and stir up a town with my presence, to eat and travel and suffer with the average Chinese. But it was also aggravating to cope with the lines and the language barrier while buying food or train tickets, and there were times when I was exhausted by 'hard class' trains and spitting passengers and lying hotel staff who insisted that there was no room at the inn." A strong sense of adventure is essential for this type of travel, but almost all who have struck out on their own discover that the warmth and hospitality they received along the way far outweighed the frustrations. For many, travel Chinese-style remains one of the most memorable parts of their stay. The first step in arranging travel is to purchase train tickets at the local train station or airline tickets at one of the airline offices. As soon as you know when you will leave, it is a good idea to make hotel reservations, especially during busy tourist times (May through October) in popular tourist sites. Remember, too, that Chinese people are traveling more these days; trains will be packed during national holidays and plane reservations will be more difficult to secure. While the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has been decentralized and there are now many regionally based airlines, most domestic airline tickets can still be purchased at a central office. Prices have gone up in recent years, but domestic air travel in China remains inexpensive by international travel standards. Air cargo, air freight, and excess baggage costs are also going up. Round-trip air tickets can be purchased, but only for unbroken routing which returns to the city of origin. Otherwise, you must purchase separate tickets for your next destination at each stop. If you need help, consult the local China Travel Service (luxingshe) counter at your hotel and be prepared to wait a day or two for your reservation. In nearly all cases, only one-way train tickets can be bought. If you buy tickets at the train station, you can sometimes avoid the tourist surcharge, but if you do not speak Chinese, the process can be confusing. Few service personnel speak English, and the demand for tickets is

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC high. Timing must be carefully orchestrated, since train tickets can be purchased only a few days before departure. Train accommodations are of two types: soft and hard class. Within each, you can choose seats or sleeping berths. For long or overnight journeys, soft-class sleeping compartments have four berths with comfortable padded mattresses, a small table, doilies, pillows, a thermos of hot water, an overhead fan, and an overhead luggage compartment. Your traveling companions are likely to be Chinese officials on business, Chinese entrepreneurs, or other visiting foreigners. Many people from Taiwan are now visiting China and traveling by train. Hard-class compartments have wooden benches for seats and thinly padded berths for sleepers. The berths are not enclosed and are stacked three high. Prices for berths depend on the level, with the lowest berth being the most expensive. Hard-class tickets do not guarantee a seat, and many a traveler has sat out a long journey in the dining car-or stood for lack of a seat. Some foreigners enjoy the lively atmosphere of the hard-class sections, where they are often the main amusement for their fellow travelers; others prefer a more sedate ride. Train food varies in quality. About two hours before mealtime, a service person will ask each foreign traveler about their dinner plans and will offer two or more grades (biaozhun) of food starting at about Y20 for four or five dishes. Experienced travelers say that there is no discernible difference in the amount or quality of the food in different grades and suggest taking the lowest biaozhun. If you are on a route with less palatable food, you can still eat reasonably well by mixing a vegetable dish together with rice for improvised "fried rice." Or you can skip the arranged fare altogether and order a noodle dish for half the price or even the cheaper boxes of hot rice and vegetables that Chinese passengers often favor. Another option is to purchase food from platform vendors at scheduled train stops. Most passengers carry a wide assortment of food (from watermelons to peanuts) to be consumed along the way. Tea bags can be purchased on the train. Often there will be no English-speaking personnel, which can be a problem for foreigners when ordering dinner. If you do not speak Chinese, you might want to take a supply of nonperishable foods. Plan to carry your luggage with you on the train and make certain that your bags are locked. A number of travelers have reported items missing from outside pockets of luggage upon arrival at their destination. On some train routes (especially hard berth sections) security personnel may quietly ask foreigners not to associate closely with certain people they believe are undesirable; some foreigners have been set up by con men (and women) on trains. Teachers and research scholars (or anyone of senior status) are expected to travel as tourists and pay tourist prices. Some U.S. researchers

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CHINA BOUND: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC who speak Chinese and can negotiate on their own have traveled hard class and dispensed with guides. Some hosts are willing to help arrange trips within China, particularly for researchers with no Chinese. Many charge relatively high service fees for such assistance and encourage the traveler to stay in more expensive hotels. While some foreign affairs offices are also willing to help teachers, many report that the waiban officials are now so busy that they cannot afford the time. Your students can sometimes be called on to assist you if you are making arrangements yourself. Host units often sponsor special tours for their foreign students that usually include visits to five or more cities in three weeks. Because students often stay in dormitories, these tours are considerably cheaper than ordinary tourist rates. What they lack in spontaneity and comfort is compensated for in lower costs and opportunities to see sites not always accessible to tourists. In some universities and colleges, researchers and teachers and their families have also been invited to go along on these trips. Whatever the style or itinerary, try to travel at every opportunity. There is no better way to learn about China and to meet the laobaixing ("old hundred names"), meaning ordinary Chinese people.