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
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