Date registered: December 25, 2010
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A few hundred meters North-West of Tianfu Square:
25 Xihuamen St, LuoMaShi, Qingyang Qu, Chengdu Shi, Sichuan Sheng, China, 610000
四川省成都市青羊区骡马市西华门街25号 邮政编码: 610000
It's a large and well-appointed church, next to the Diocesan headquarters. I don't know how much English they speak, if any, or if they offer confession in English.
I'd second Maxelli's recommendation of the city library at 98 Wenweng Lu. Spacious, and you don't need ID to sit and read or work.
You can borrow books with a library card (500 yuan deposit). Their selection of English books is interesting: however, their cataloging system appears completely random, so you may have to just 'browse' the whole foreign language section to find the book you
I've run into this problem throughout my stay here. There are 3 ways to go:
1. You can go to the bank with specific evidence of your employment (contract etc), hours worked, earnings, and tax paid (the last on official forms). All of these have to agree to the letter. You'll almost certainly need a good deal of cooperation from your school, or whatever organization is paying you. Also, the Tax Bureau is very late to supply tax receipt forms to employers, and even when they do, they very really agree with the employers' records - and won't be changed. So, you could fight your way through all that, as I have done several times. Reserve an entire afternoon even if all goes well.
2. Any Chinese national can wire money abroad so long as it is for 'shenghuofei' (living expenses). So if you have a Chinese national you know well, they can do this for you. They fill out the Chinese part of the form, you fill out the English (SWIFT code, routing number etc). Last time I and my wife did this it took us 25 minutes, and the money was in my bank the same afternoon. Fees are modest (100 yuan) and the exchange rate is almost the international middle rate. In my experience ABC has been a good and friendly bank for international transfers.
3. There is a separate form for transfers of $500 or less, which can be done with no problem.
If you want a REAL flea market (quite possibly with real fleas!) check out this one, about 1 km South of Renmin Park:
Both the sellers and the buyers are mostly older, working-class folks. They're there every day (barring bad weather) from approximately 3 to 5 pm, busiest on weekends. Ideal time to go to would be between 3 and 4 pm on Sat or Sun. It's a cultural experience if nothing else.
95% of their stuff is, frankly, garbage, but there are also some gems. Over time I have picked up a portable DVD player, a watch, a camera, size 47 (=12 US) trainers, a bottle of Grand Marnier, house plants, some good Western movies, a nice warm sheepskin jacket, sculpture, art, and calligraphy pieces... However, on any given day there also might quite well not be anything worth buying at all.
Bargaining is expected. I bargain quite hard with some folks: however, I also sometimes pay MORE than the asking price where the seller may not realize the value of what they have (these are poor people surviving on very low incomes). Obviously, no-one speaks English.
Forgot to mention they'll need your address, in Chinese characters of course. It's best (though not required) is you bring your household registration form for this purpose.