8 Phrases You’ll Need Your First Day in China

GoGlobal brushes 8 phrases

Life in China can be overwhelming without knowing any Mandarin. However, it’s an obstacle that is easy and exciting to overcome.

Learning Mandarin requires patience and practice, but in the end it’s worth it- if only to avoid the headaches and frustration that result from completing tasks that should be simple.

We’ve compiled a list of the words you need to hit the ground running, or at the very least get to where you need to go.

Nǐ Hǎo

“Hello.”

Wǒ Jiào…

“My name is…” This is a great first step to making a Chinese friend.

Zhè ge (This) / Nà ge (That)

These are useful words if you want to seem like you know more Chinese than you do. You can accompany these words by pointing at things.

Xiè Xie

“Thank you.” Chinese people don’t say thank you as often as Westerners, I’ve found. But it’s nice to say it anyway!

Duìbuqǐ (also Bùhaǒyìsi)

These both approximate “sorry,” but the first is more formal than the second. Bùhaǒyìsi also means “excuse me,” so you’ll hear this a lot of public transit. If you are stopping a Chinese person to ask directions or help you translate, use Bùhaǒyìsi.

Tīng bu dǒng

“I don’t understand.” This comes in useful if people are bothering you to take a picture with them, just say this repeatedly and run in the opposite direction.

Wǒ bù shuō hànyǔ

“I don’t speak Chinese.” Your beginner pronunciation will probably give you away, if they haven’t already figured it out.

Zàijiàn

This means goodbye, literally “see you again.” However this is quite formal; many of your interactions with Chinese people will usually end with “bye bye.”

The key to learning Chinese is to actually use it- these words are pretty basic and you’ll probably use them every day. As you expand your vocab, repetition will be the key to remembering those words.

A note on pronunciation- Chinese people are expecting you, as a foreigner, to be terrible at speaking Chinese. All you have to do is keep repeating the word you are trying to say, but slightly differently each time. Eventually they will nod at you and repeat the word the way it should be pronounced. That is what you listen for- it’s a mini Chinese lesson every time you speak to somebody.


For more information about teaching and living in China, please check out our website, or email us at teach@goglobaljobs.com.

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5 Steps to a Work Visa in China

GoGlobal Visas

August is almost here, and hundreds of teachers are currently making their final preparations for their journeys to China.

However, before coming to China, you need a visa. If you will be working in China, you will need a legal work (Z) visa.

The criterion for work visas varies drastically from province to province. Visa requirements can also change from month to month- over the last three months, we have noticed that local foreign expert bureaus are much more strict when it comes to documents they require.

Below is an overview of the visa process for most schools in China. Please note that this process is for schools that are allowed to hire foreigners and can provide a legal Z visa. If a school wants you to come to China on a tourist visa, that is illegal.

  1. When you are hired by a school, you return a signed contract and other documents (usually these will include copies of your diplomas, certificates, passport, letters of recommendation, and a health check.)
  2. The school will send those documents and application to their local Foreign Expert Bureau (FEB) to apply for permission to hire you. This process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
  3. Once the local FEB finishes processing your application, they give the school two documents (your work permit and invitation letter) that are sent to you in your home country.
  4. You use these two documents to apply for a work visa (which is called a Z visa) at your local consulate. If there is no consulate nearby, you can use a mail service like this one. The visa goes in your passport, so you need to bring your passport and leave it with the consulate during this time.
  5. The consulate should take no more than 5 days to process your visa. Once you get your passport back, you are good to get on a plane and come to China!

If you are unsure about the visa process or have further questions, please check out the website for your local consulate or the Chinese embassy.

Here are the websites for the Chinese consulates and embassy in the U.S.:

New York
San Francisco
Chicago
Houston
Los Angeles
Chinese Embassy

We hope you have found this article helpful; for more information about teaching in China, please visit our website or reach out to us at teach@goglobaljobs.com. 

2 Must-See Spots in Yunnan

云南3This past June I travelled around Yunnan for eight days. Yunnan Province is in the south-west of China, next to Tibet. It can get pretty hot in in the summer (the highest temperature is around 30 degrees) but it’s still a great escape from the crowded cities, if you can manage it.

Dali

Dali is home for people of Bai ethnicity, which is the one of 56 minority groups in China. Bai women have a reputation for being diligent and working outside the home, while Bai men are responsible for domestic work.

Click here for more information on China’s ethnic minorities, and here for further reading on the Bai ethnicity. 

Erhai Lake is a famous spot in Dali. When you get there, you can rent a little boat and the sculler will take you to visit around the lake. Local delicacies include spicy rice noodles and a snack called Baba cake, which is made of milled rice powder.

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From Weixin.com-traditional Bai ethnicity costume

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Baba cake

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Artwork of Bai ethnicity

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From Yunnan.com-Yunnan rice noodles

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Fishermen are catching fish by cooperting with cormorants

Lijiang

Lijiang is the home of the Naxi ethnicity. In the Nanjing tradition, girls with darker skin are considered more beautiful. This is a contrast to the beauty traditions of than Han ethnicity, where fair skin is considered more attractive.

Click here for further reading on the Naxi ethnicity.

Yulong Snow Mountain and the old town of Lijiang are two spots visitors shouldn’t miss. The old town is fun to go to in the evening, and there are many stores with local decorations to buy as souvenirs.

The highest elevation that people can reach on Yulong Snow Mountain is 4680 meters. You may feel uncomfortable as you climb higher because of the lack of oxygen. The mountaintop offers great views, and Blue moon lake is a great place for taking wedding pictures. The locals believe that if you make a wish with your hands in the lake, then your wish will come true. However, you can only do this three times!

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The old town of Lijiang

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The Naxi handwriting

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The Dai ethnicity food

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Blue Moon Lake

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From China.com-traditional Naxi ethnicity costume

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From Nipic.com-Lugu lake

Other useful websites:

Xishuangbanna in Yunnan-Wellknownplaces.com

Lijiang old town-Chinadaily.com

Lugu Lake-TravelChinaGuide

8 Mammals You Didn’t Know Were Native to China

China is a such a large country filled with so many unique animals. This post is meant to highlight some of the most interesting (and cute!) animals found in China.

Pygmy slow lorises are a species of nocturnal strepsirrhine primates found in the Yunnan Province of China. It is nocturnal and arboreal, crawling along branches using slow movements in search of prey. The teeth in its lower jaw form a comb-like structure called a toothcomb that is used for scraping resin from tree bark.

Macaques are the most commonly found monkeys in China and can be found throughout the country. They have oversized cheeks to store food and live in large troops. Stump-tailed macaques have long, thick, dark brown fur covering their bodies, but their face and short tail, are hairless.

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Sables are a species of marten which inhabit forest environments found in the Manchuria Region in Northeast China and the Altai region of northern Xinjiang Province. They live in burrows, near riverbanks in the thickest parts of woods, commonly made more secure by being dug among tree roots. They are good climbers of cliffs and trees, which helps them hunt their prey.

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animaladay.blogspot.com

Dugongs are medium-sized marine mammals, related to manatees in the Western Hemisphere, found along the coast of the Guangxi Zhuang Region in China. They are the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal, as all species of manatee use fresh water to some degree, and generally live long lives, sometimes into their 70s.

Gibbons are the only apes native to China other than humans and can be found in the Yunnan Province of China. They are the fastest and most agile tree-dwellers, using their long arms to swing from branches. Gibbons can be recognized by their loud calls, with mating pairs often singing together as a duet.

Takins, the largest goat antelope and a relative of the musk ox, live in highlands from the eastern foothills of the Himalayas to the Qinling and shares habitat with the giant panda in Sichuan and Shaanxi. In the summer, herds of up to 300 individuals gather high on the mountain slopes and groups often appear to occur in largest numbers when favorable feeding sites, salt licks, or hot springs are located.

Siberian ibexes, the largest and heaviest goats, are found in the Tian Shan range of Xinjiang. Their habitat consists of a mixture of high altitude tundra, alpine meadows, and regions of semidesert. Siberian ibexes seek out lower slopes during the winter in search of food and have also been known to seek out tree lines on hot days.

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Bactrian camels, found in the dry deserts of Northern China, have two humps and can go a month or longer without drinking water. A thirsty Bactrian camel can drink 135 liters (30 gallons) in only 13 minutes! They can with withstand extremely hot and cold weather and have broad hooves that do not sink in desert.

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For more information about traveling and teaching in China, please visit our website or reach out to us at teach@goglobaljobs.com

4 Places I want to Visit Next Time I’m in China

Before I arrived in China, I had heard about the big tourist destinations like Beijing and Xi’an. After I got here I found out there are so many amazing destinations in China that are not known as well. I’m nearing the end of my summer here, but I have compiled a list of the four I want to visit the most next time I’m here!
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1. Jiuzhaigou Valley

Jiuzhaigou Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sichuan province known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks. There are three valleys arranged in a Y shape with three rivers flowing north through them. The easiest way to get here is to take a plane to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport and then drive two hours to get to Jiuzhaigou Valley. It may be a long journey, but the views are definitely worth it. For more information about Jiuzhaigou Valley, click here.

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2. Wulingyuan

Wulingyuan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for more than 3,000 quartzite sandstone pillars with many being over 650 feet. There are also 40 caves with calcite deposits, two natural bridges, ravines, streams, pools, and waterfalls. It is located in Hunan Province about 170 miles from Changsha. Wulingyuan is pretty difficult to get to. The best way is to take a flight to Zhangjiajie Hehua Airport and then you can either take a taxi for about 100 RMB or an hour bus ride for 12 RMB. If you take the bus, however, you either need to walk 15 minutes or take a public bus or taxi the rest of the way. For more information about Wulingyuan, click here.

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3. Baiyangdian Lake

Baiyangdian Lake is located in Hebei Province, two hours from Beijing by car. It is the largest freshwater lake in China and referred to as the Kidney of North China due to its major contribution to the groundwater supply in the surrounding area. The lake is home to over 50 varieties of fish and multiple varieties of wild geese, ducks, and birds. Tourists come mostly for the peaceful water scenes and vast lotus gardens. For more information about Baiyangdian, click here.

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4. Pingyao

Pingyao is a county in central Shanxi province, about four hours on the bullet train from Beijing. Pingyao is an ancient city that dates back over 2,700 years and is known for its well-preserved city walls. The old walled city is one square mile, inhabited, and restricted to cars, giving you a more authentic Chinese experience. Pingyao is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more information about Pingyao, click here.


For more information about traveling and teaching in China, please visit our website or reach out to us at teach@goglobaljobs.com

City Profile: Shijiazhuang

01300000317747123442318764143GoGlobal office is based in Shanghai, so readers of this blog constantly read about our adventures around town. However, there is more to China than just Shanghai! China is a big country, and a big part of moving across the world is knowing where you want to go.
With that in mind, we have started a new city profile series, where we give you an overview of the locales you could be able to teach in. Your next adventure starts here!
This week’s city profile is about Shijiazhuang, the capital of the Hebei Providence.

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Background:
Shijiazhuang is located 263 km (163 mi) southwest of Beijing and has a population of 3.4 million people, which makes it the 131st largest urban area in the world. Shijiazhuang is the capital of the Hebei Province, and it is acknowledged as an emerging industrial city with a bright future. Shijiazhuang is the largest pharmaceutical base in China and is as well an important center in the textile, IT, manufacturing and chemical industries.

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Weather:
Shijiazhuang experiences a wide variety of temperature and weather conditions throughout the year. Most of the year is dry in Shijiazhuang, but summer monsoon season brings rain and humidity. Overall the temperatures are on the cooler side, with the annual average temperature being about 13°C (56°F). Click here for more information about Shijiazhuang’s weather.

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Transportation:
The Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport has many domestic flights around China in addition to international flights around Asia. The Beijing-Guangzhou High Speed railway passes through Shijiazhuang, so it opens up travel to two of the largest cities in China. Jinan has 97 bus routes that help people travel around the city with ease. A metro system with 6 lines is currently under construction and is set to open in 2017.

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Mount Cangyan

Attractions:
• Mount Baodu is an ancient fortified hilltop settlement located on the west side of the city containing various walks and Buddhist statues.
• Mount Cangyan is a scenic area in Jingxing County, Hebei Province, China, famous for its combination of natural mountain scenery with historical man-made structures.
• The Longxing Temple is an ancient Buddhist monastery located just outside the city referred to as the “First Temple south of Beijing”.

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Shopping:
• If you’re craving Western food, the Wan Da Mall on Huai An Lu, has a Starbucks, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and KFC. It also has a movie theater with an IMAX screen, as well as many clothing stores which are reasonably priced.
• EGO, Tai He and Nan San Tiao, wholesale shopping centers are Near Dong Fang.

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Bars and Clubs:
• Some popular new clubs are Rex, Mazzo, Deep and Ant.
• The two most popular bars are Story Bar and Freely’s.

Other Useful Websites for Expats:
http://www.echinacities.com/Shijiazhuang
http://www.internations.org/shijiazhuang-expats/

Pimp Your Ride: China Edition

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Transportation in China cannot be more different than that of the U.S. Chinese airports are newly built, and the system of bullet trains that crisscross the country is an astounding feat of infrastructure development. However, once you’ve arrived in a Chinese city, you have a choice to make- driving is inconvenient, walking is slow, and busses can sometimes get stuck in traffic.

It’s probably time to think about a bike.

Fortunately, there are many kinds of bikes to choose from, and that’s not just between normal bike and e-bike (electronic bike.)

We have profiled a few modes of two-wheeled transport that should get you excited to zip around China. Enjoy!

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The Family Vehicle

Andrew Crook, GoGlobal founder, swore to me that he once fit his entire family (of 5!) on this bike. Instead of extra people, you could always rope a few boxes of stuff to the back of this bike. Bikes this size are the SUV equivalent of two-wheeled transport in China.

“I love our scooters- my family actually has two. They are great for getting our kids around- with a family of five getting cabs can be frustrating, because most only fit four people.”

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The Light and Modern

Our friend Taylor has been in China for three years now, and this is her most recent two wheeled transportation purchase. The Factory Five brand is increasingly popular among Shanghai’s artsy crowd, and the super lightweight and slim frame means that if you need to, you can carry it up four flights of stairs to your apartment (which is what Taylor does every day.)

According to Taylor: “Biking through the city let’s me see a lot more of what’s going on around me, compared to when I’m zipping through traffic on my scooter.”


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The Badass Option

Our good friend Ammon bought this bike on a whim when he saw it on taobao for a steal. The advantage of this bike is that you look like a badass. Also, if someone tries to steal it, they might not have the leg muscle to actually pedal it.

Ammon actually uses his other bike to get around the city, and this bike to go on biking trips to Shanghai’s surrounding mountainous area on the weekends. If you want to join him with an equally badass bike, you can get one for yourself here.

disposable bike China

The Practically Disposable

These bikes usually go for around 100 rmb ($16). The advantage of these bikes is that they get you where you want to go, and if you forget to lock it up one day it’s not the end of the world. Careful though, they look like a lot of the other bikes on the road, if you leave it on a bike rack for a week you might have trouble differentiating it from the many look a likes that will pile up around it. I took this picture of a random bike in a Beijing hutong by Dongzhimen- they are literally everywhere.

We won’t give you a link to buy one of these because you can get them anywhere- just look for a pile of junky looking bikes with a guy standing next to it. However, if you do want to differentiate your junky bike from the rest, you can always taobao something like this.

No matter which option you choose, always remember to wear a helmet! Sure, it might be nice having the wind in your hair, but chinese drivers have on average less than two years of experience on the road, so it’s like the streets are full of 16 year olds behind the wheel. This will be evident from the minute you arrive in China, probably on the taxi ride from the airport. No matter how safe you are, you can’t count on others to be equally as careful!


To find out more about living and working in China, email teach@goglobaljobs.com.

Zhujiajiao- An Ancient Town

My name is Judy and I am from Qingpu, Shanghai. Currently, I am a student in the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.

Zhujiajiao is 45.2 kilometers from downtown Shanghai. Zhujiajiao (which is in Qingpu District) is an easy way to see an ancient town without traveling very far from the city. The town has an old school charm that is a stark contrast to the modernity Shanghai symbolizes, and reflects the simplicity and serenity of old Shanghai.

Zhujiajiao is made up of a series of bridges and rivers. The most famous is Fangsheng Bridge. In the past, monks would put living fish into the river on the first day of the Lunar New Year in order to express their respect for life, which is where the bridge get its name. Zhujiajiao is popular with photographers, and the black roofs, white walls, and rivers make for very recognizable shots. In Chinese, Shanghai is known as “the magic city,” or “the land of fish and water.”

*How to get there: Take metro line 2 to East Xujing Station + Zhu Xu Line bus

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The Dianshan Lake- a lake in Zhujiajiao Town

Zhujiajiao is also home to the Dianshan Lake, the origin of Huangpu River. It is the biggest natural freshwater lake in Shanghai region. Shrimp from the lake are called rice shrimp, and look very similar to steamed rice. We usually eat them in the summer, boiled until they are just barely cooked through.

The views of the lake is incredible. You can rent a fishing-boat and paddle around the lake, and the bulrush and lotus floating on the lake’s surface, have inspired Chinese poets for centuries.

*How to get there: Take metro line 2 to East Xujing Station + Shangzhu Line bus/ Zhuxu Line bus +walk

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Other useful websites:

Zhujiajiao.com-More information about Zhujiajiao.


If you have any questions about living and teaching in China, please visit our website or email us at teach@goglobaljobs.com.

How to Navigate a Fabric Market

IMG_1204When visiting China, going to a fabric market to order custom-made clothes is a lot of fun, but can be intimidating. Last weekend I went to get a traditional Qipao custom made, and this was my experience.

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  • I began by researching which market I wanted to go to. I decided on the Shanghai South Bund Soft-Spinning Material Market, which is the largest and most popular fabric market in Shanghai. I took line 4 to the Nanpu Bridge stop, and then walked 10 minutes from the subway to the market.

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  • Once I got to the market I began shopping around. I walked through the entire market to see all of the stores that could make qipao. After walking by every store I settled on the first store I walked past, Shanghai Beach Essence Finery (1F, Rm 174), and worked with designer Jiang Qiu Ying to create my dress.

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  • After picking the store I talked to Jiang and the first thing she had me do was pick out the fabric. She had an enormous book of swatches of all of the fabric options to choose from, so it was exciting but difficult to choose which color I wanted. Eventually I decided on a dark teal with a pattern in black and silver. After choosing the fabric, I picked the dress design itself from samples she had in the store.

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  • I had expected to put on a large sample dress and Jiang would measure from that, but instead she measured every possible place that would affect the size of the dress, such as around my arm, across my back shoulders, etc. I was amazed by how meticulous she was, which made me feel confident that it will turn out well.

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  • I went this past weekend to pick up the dress and it turned out perfect. Going to the fabric market can be overwhelming and a lot to handle at one time, but it is a really rewarding and exciting experience that you shouldn’t miss out on when you are in China!

City Profile: Jinan

The-Skyline-Of-Jinan-Shandong-China-From-The-Thousand-Buddha-Mountain-1600x767

GoGlobal office is based in Shanghai, so readers of this blog constantly read about our adventures around town. However, there is more to China than just Shanghai! China is a big country, and a big part of moving across the world is knowing where you want to go.

With that in mind, we have started a new city profile series, where we give you an overview of the locales you could be able to teach in. Your next adventure starts here!

This week’s city profile is about Jinan, the capital of and one of the largest cities in the Shandong Providence.

jinanBackground:
Jinan is located 400 km (250 mi) south of Beijing and there are currently 3.8 million people living in the urban area of Jinan, which makes it the 106th largest urban area in the world. Jinan is often referred to as the “Spring City” because of its 72 artesian springs within the city proper. It became an important transportation and trading hub in the early 1900s and eventually developed into an industrial center.

Weather:
Jinan experiences 4 distinct seasons with hot, humid summers and mild to cold winters with occasional snow. The annual average temperature is 14.7°C (58.5°F), and there is only a moderate amount of rain (mostly in the summer), so there is a fair share of clear, sunny days. Click here for more information about Jinan’s weather.

Transportation:
The Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport has many domestic flights around China in addition to international flights around Asia. The Shanghai-Beijing High Speed railway passes through Jinan, so it opens up travel from Jinan to the two largest cities in China. It is a 2 hour bullet train ride to Beijing and 4 hour ride to Shanghai. Jinan has 6 different kinds of bus systems that help people travel around the city with ease. Construction on a Metro began in 2013 and is set to open in 2018.

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Attractions:
• The “72 Famous Springs” are a major tourist destination with the Baotu Spring Park being the most popular of the bunch. They are concentrated in the downtown district and work their way north to converge in Daming Lake.
• There are many Buddhists sights in Jinan; the Four Gates Pagoda and Lingyan Temple are the most popular.
• The Shandong Provincial Museum is the largest museum in the province and houses a large collection of natural and historical treasures of the whole province.

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Shopping:
• Shanshi East Road has adjoining buildings with a lot of little stores where you can bargain to get clothes.
• Black Pottery, an ancient pottery type from 4000 years ago, can be found in various places around Jinan. The thin walls and distinctive polishing is characteristic of Black Pottery and although you can’t buy the antiques, new pottery is made for tourists to purchase.

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Bars and Clubs:

• Lang Kwui Fong is a bar popular with foreigners and locals (Wenhua Dong Lu).
• Cinderella is a club underneath a sports stadium (Jingshi Lu).

Other Useful Websites:
Echinacities.com– More info about Jinan.
WhatsonJinan.com– Tips for living in Jinan.
MyChinaStart.com- Help for expats moving to Jinan.