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Old 12-26-2005, 12:33 AM
imitation imitation is offline
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Default Not for you but whatever

I wrote this post for another forum, but I often get PMs about playing poker and living in China, so I thought someone here might like to read it.

As some of you may or may not know, or care or not care, I moved to China in March. I haven't really read or posted on QGL since then but I did make a somewhat active contribution at times before. So I thought i'd write some of my musings about living in the orient. It will be brief but you can ask your own questions if travelling or living in SE Asia is something you've considered.

In all i've spent my time here somewhat productively whilst still feeling like I should have done more with it, but I guess that's kind of like living anywhere you always consider what could have been.

I arrived here with the plan to work as a teacher (after completing some crappy TEFL certificate online and 4yrs of university), however I was also at the time playing poker fairly much fulltime on the internet with pretty good success. I felt that the teaching would be good to get me into the community but and start to mingle with locals. Outcome of this was I arrived and did 1 week of a few classes and realised teaching was pretty boring for me personally nor did it allow me the flexibility which I craved on first arriving (read I wanted to party and sleep in). So I decided to play poker full time (full time poker is kind of like saying you play computer games full time, you have them on your computer full time, you spend time reading forums about them alot, you chat with friends about the game even more, and then occasionally you actually get around to playing).

Fortunately poker has kept me afloat, though due the inherint up and down nature of the game it's not particularly good on the nerves, but I've still managed to tuck away about $15k in savings this year which isn't terrible but probably could have been better and at times looked like it was going to be alot worse.

I suppose here I should talk about the costs of actually living in China, you've heard it all before this place is cheap, I mean I can buy lunch for 70c, I can buy a talley of beer for 40c, hop in a Taxi it's usually between $1-$3 for anywhere (and i'm living in one of the more expensive cities, about half these prices in some other places). You'd think it'd be easy to save, however China is a place of contrasts. There is people who live on sweet [censored] all money and don't do so badly, but there is also a huge consumer population and you can easily find plenty of stuff to spend your money on. For one alcohol in clubs is as expensive if not more than Australia ($6 Rum and Cokes in the good clubs), however the exception being you can buy bottles which reduces the price but still isn't cheap. So I spent alot of money here probably much more than I thought I ever would, and I actually think for teaches here who's salary is very good relative to the population, it's actually difficult for them to save (well as difficult as Australia). Basically you need to be frugle to save cash, because that 70c dinner starts to taste a bit bland and you end up ordering $25 worth of takeaways anyway from some Western Pizza joint because you miss it.

My plan at first was to self teach myself the language, probably not a good idea considering how surprisingly easy it is to struggle about with English which means you don't actually end up pushing yourself to learn by neccesity. So after about 4-5mths of making marginal but limited progress in the language, I finally enrolled full time to study at a university for a semester (3rs a day M-F), and can happily say it was the best thing i've done with my life in a long time. My language skills have made leaps and bounds, interestingly reading and writing is not as difficult as you'd imagine, and infact my reading and writing skills generally surpass my speaking and listening. One of the difficulties of learning a new language and I think compounded by learning and Asian language is that it can be very difficult to actually understand locals saying what you've learnt. Now not so much a problem, but in the past people would say whole phrases at me i'd stare blankily until someone pointed out it was a very very simple question that i'd have defintitely understood if my teacher or classmate had asked me. This is really compounded by living in the South of China where their pronunciation of the National Language (Mandarin/Putunghua) is awful.

Other bits and pieces, well I travelled to Thailand for 3 weeks, that alone could fill another post this big, I just say stay the [censored] out of Bangkok and head up north to Chiangmai or somewhere else, BK is a scummy hole that sucks in tourists rips them off and spits them out. But my opinion is probably somewhat tainted, but generally I didn't like it. I also travelled to Hunan and saw some really countryside lifestyle and got away from the polution which really covers Guangzhou where i'm living. Saw lots of wonderful scenic stuff there and had the opportunity to travel by train. Also flying in SE Asia is cheap as chips, though it's possible that some of these plains are about as reliable as flying in a potato so be careful there are some good companies and some terrible ones.

My plans are now that i'm returning to Aus for 3 weeks on Jan 9, coming back to China just in time for their New Years Celebrations. I will study for atleast 1 more semester here of Chinese(though i'm pretty sure I will continue on for 2 more). By that time I feel very confident my Chinese will be highly conversational + some. At that point i'm coming back to Australia to reassess my unviversity degree I have here (i'm 4yrs into a dual IT/Law - I can't even remember what I learn in IT even though i've completed that component). I honestly feel like I'll probably do something like stock trading or work as a broker, alot of the things i've learnt in poker are quite analagous so it might be a logical step to take. I also want to travel a little more this year, because I know I still have so much to see in China alone (I still haven't seen the great wall), as well as the rest of SE Asia. I also hope to play in some of the big televised poker tournaments in Europe, though that's probably requires concentrating on tournament poker which is not my current game.

Anyway probably past the point of tl;dr by now, so Merry Christmas, Happy New Years all.

Tim (Imitation)
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2005, 12:51 AM
lastchance lastchance is offline
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Default Re: Not for you but whatever

You're going to order $25 on Pizza because, somehow, this is better than Chinese food?

Other than that, it was an excellent post.
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2005, 01:25 AM
BradleyT BradleyT is offline
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Default Re: Not for you but whatever

You left out the most important OOT part - the hookers.
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  #4  
Old 12-26-2005, 01:31 AM
imitation imitation is offline
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Default Re: Not for you but whatever

Meh when in rome BradleyT that's all i'm saying.
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  #5  
Old 12-26-2005, 01:35 AM
siccjay siccjay is offline
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Location: Louisville KY
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Default Re: Not for you but whatever

[ QUOTE ]
Meh when in rome BradleyT that's all i'm saying.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes? Please go on.
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2005, 01:41 AM
imitation imitation is offline
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Default Re: Not for you but whatever

Do you want my trip report to dirty massage parlors here or in another thread?
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2005, 01:43 AM
benza13 benza13 is offline
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Default Re: Not for you but whatever

new thread so that everyone can see it in case they don't click on this one.
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  #8  
Old 12-26-2005, 04:29 AM
kyro kyro is offline
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Location: Rochester, NH
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Default Re: Not for you but whatever

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Meh when in rome BradleyT that's all i'm saying.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes? Please go on.

[/ QUOTE ]

BIMO.
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