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Author Topic: Looking for info on living in Harbin.  (Read 9982 times)

tstuts4679

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Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« on: May 12, 2007, 03:06:23 AM »
Hi Group:
 My wife and I are planing on comming to Harbin next year to work and live. (Have to get things in order and wrapped up here first.)
 We live in Indiana (U.S.)now. We're looking for info like, average cost of living there, the availability of items there. I know there is a Wal-mart there but is it like one in the States as far as items it carries? I've read about bringing deorderant, shoes, cloths if you are larger sized, certain spices, ect....
 Is this true in Harbin too ?
What should we bring if anything special ?
What should we leave behind ?
Really anything anyone feels would be of use to a newbie comming from the U.S.
Thank you for any help you can give.
P.S. Raoul , this is a great group you have here and thanks for letting me be a part of it !
Troy & Tracey
Still stuck in the States !

Mimi

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2007, 07:10:23 AM »
Hi!  I can't help you too much, as I'm not in China yet.  But, I have been doing a lot of research.  You'll get a lot of different answers from a lot of different people as far as what to bring.  Right now I'm just concentrating on what is important to me.  I don't like being sweaty and gross, so I'm bringing some deodorant and body spray.  Even if they have plenty of it over there, I'd like to have the time to try out everything and see what works for me, knowing I have a plan B stashed in my suitcase.  I've also heard that a lot of make-up/moisturizer over there has whitening agents, so be sure to let your wife know.  It isn't so much about the things you can't live without, as you can't possibly pack enough stuff to live the same kind of life you're used to for an entire year.  More about making a smooth transition, I guess.  Hope that helps a little...

kcanuck

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2007, 08:21:51 AM »
Lone Traveller is your best bet for Harbin info, she's there fairly often.  We went shopping in Harbin during Christmas and I thought I died and went to heaven when we went to Walmart.  I bought Adidas antiperspirant there and hot chocolate and Chilean wine and hair gunk.  Not quite the same as back home but lots of goodies.  It's a big city but there are some neat areas and loads of foreigners.  There's also a western grocery supply place where I bought Kraft parmesan cheese and an awesome diner that serves waffles and wicked carrot cake...you likely won't have to go without in Harbin. 
I am still learning. Michelangelo

cheekygal

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2007, 11:50:53 AM »
I always liked Carrefour in Harbin. I still have some clothes I bought in boutiques downstairs from there. 4 years and they are still in good shape!

tstuts4679

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2007, 09:44:12 PM »
Hi Folks:
 Just wanted to say thanks for all the great info.
Again , Thanks Raoul for letting me join. There are a lot of Great people in this group !
This Group Rocks !
Thanks again;
Troy and Tracey

kcanuck

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2007, 11:39:35 PM »
I agree with Missi, good cold weather gear is a must if heading north.  They do have down filled coats here but quality boots and snow pants and gloves/mitts can only be found at a  decent camping supply store and the size selection is limited.  The long underwear is thick and bulky, they haven't made it to the high tech age of underlayers, so those are a definite must if heading north.
I am still learning. Michelangelo

cheekygal

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2007, 02:09:26 AM »
I am size 9 (winter boots - 9.5-10 which is like around 25 or 39-40). I had no problem whatsoever in Harbin. But I guess if the size is bigger - then yes, there is a problem.
Those warm socks you are talking about, you can find them in small markets where old women knit and sell things. Someone's grandma can also do it for you. You can also order bigger size at the stalls in the market - we did it few times.
In Harbin there was a place where you could make shoes too. It's been 4 years now and I forgot where. But you can ask Chinese people. May be somewhere in Qulin (?) shopping mall.

Con ate dog

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2007, 05:59:54 AM »
Yeah, Chinese socks suck!!!!  bqbqbqbqbq

Music, books, footwear.  The rest should be okay- try to travel light.

Welcome aboard, y'all.  agagagagag
And there is no liar like the indignant man... -Nietszche

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. -William James

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George

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2007, 06:02:23 AM »
Quote
Yeah, Chinese socks suck!!!!
ALL socks are Chinese, nowadays!!
The higher they fly, the fewer!    http://neilson.aminus3.com/

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2007, 06:30:02 AM »
Hey Troy!
Welcome to the Saloon. Thanks for all the kind words, and sorry I was delayed getting back to the party.

I lived in the DongBei (northeast) region my first year-and-a-half or so in China. DongBei is mostly rather poor and a bit backward. There are serious water shortages up there. DongBei was a major bastion of the old State-Owned Enterprise (SOE)- lots of government-run heavy industry- and has perhaps suffered the most from the last years of privatization...rates of poverty and unemployment are quite high there. There's a definite Rust Belt feel to the place. Pollution is high because of the mountains of low-grade coal they burn...places do tend to be a bit grimy up there. There's a lot of ugly old brick buildings.

However, there are some nice cities up that way, some oases from the frankly bleak position of the region. Harbin is one such oasis...along with Dalian.

Harbin has enough Russian influence to give it a rather exotic crossroads ambience. It's seen a lot of non-Chinese foreigners for a long time, and there's a fairly large and vibrant expat community there. You'll find a bit of night life, plus a few comforts (such as cheese, bread that doesn't suck, and great cheap vodka) up there that help make life a little nicer. It's definitely NOT Shanghai or Beijing or Shenzhen, but it's also definitely possible to live well and have a nice time up there. I think you'll find most of the things that you really want and need will be there for you.

It's COOOOOOLD there, dude. Nothing between you and Siberia except some lines on a map. Winters are long and cold and bitter and dressing for the weather is genuinely a matter of survival. No way around this. Our Canadian, Russian, and Danish friends might truly understand this level of cold, but a lot of Americans, British, and Aussies are perhaps in for a bit of a shock.  aoaoaoaoao
Some compensation...Summers up that way are delightful. You'll be out having fun while most of the rest of us are hugging our ACs and making our own gravy.
And, you'll get the world-famous Ice Festival every winter. Truly a marvel to see.

Harbin IS a city in China...and as such it will have its quirks and its discomforts and its frustrations. And its filth. But for a city to live in, and to begin a China experience in, you could do far, far worse than Harbin.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

cheekygal

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2007, 07:29:10 AM »
I actually liked Harbin. If only not the cold in winter!
Summer are quite warm though.

non-dave

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2007, 12:19:26 PM »
Harbin is an adventure. The food is wonderful, the people are friendly - and the shopping is fine. I'm a big guy and I was able to find everything I needed there without any problems - especially the warm socks and the cold weather gear - and CHEAP! Shoes are easy to find in large sizes too. Check out the markets and some of the underground shopping areas in Nangang.

The cold is part of the adventure, too. It's manageable - particularly as most of the winter is spent in really well heated buildings - the dash between the door and the car is the biggest challenge, and it's not so bad.
You have to care for it to matter.
http://www.haerbinger.com - All About Harbin

tstuts4679

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2007, 12:51:47 AM »
Hi Group:
 Just wanted to say a quick thanks again for all the great info. You folks continue to enlighten me and that's what I'm looking for. I've done a lot of research on Harbin and from what I've read it sounds perfect for me. I love the beach and such but my body doesn't handle the heat to well anymore. I've always said... I'd rather be cold than hot. If you're cold , you can always put something else on but when your butt neked and you still feel like someone's thrown a wet blanket on you, there's not much more you can do ! (but that's just me !)
Also, a quick Happy Mom's Day to all the Mom's out there.
Have a great day !

George

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2007, 01:02:48 AM »
Hmmmmm. I reckon I'd rather be "butt nekkid" than layered under 2000 pounds of industrial strength clothing...........and just what does that little girlie look like under all those layers, eh?? afafafafaf afafafafaf I like summer in Jinan!! Hell, I don't like summer in Jinan, I just like the effect it has on women's clothing!! agagagagag agagagagag
The higher they fly, the fewer!    http://neilson.aminus3.com/

tstuts4679

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Re: Looking for info on living in Harbin.
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2007, 01:36:02 AM »
That is so true George.....
The view in the summer due to the clothing or I should say, the lack of , does tend to hold my attention longer.