Thurston, Anne F., Turner-Gottschang, Karen, Reed, Linda A.. "7. Services Available." China Bound, Revised: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1994.
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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.
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.