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There are many reasons why a person would never want to set foot in Beijing. There are (or were) also many reasons why some families have chosen to serve multiple tours in China. - Aug 2020
Impatient people need not apply. - Dec 2015
Shanghai is a cleaner and nicer city to live in. It has character and charms. The streets don't smell and people don't spit. I've been there 3 times and I enjoyed it there much more than Beijing. Public facilities are beyond stinky and most of them don't have Western style toilets. My wife said in the Ladies room, there are usually just holes in the ground, some have doors and some don't. And even when there are doors for the stalls, the locals don't use them so... use your imagination. I tried to avoid them as much as possible and when I had to, I always tried to be quick and staggered out of there from holding my breaths. - Aug 2014
Beijing is an exciting city, and whatever your job, the work you do here will be interesting. But the air makes the city unlivable with small kids. - Jun 2013
Beijing is at the epicenter of one of the most incredible national transformations that has ever happened in human history. There are definite challenges and growing pains, along with an exciting new confidence and national pride in a nation both young and old. There are skyscrapers juxtaposed with upper-middle-aged couples happily dancing in public squares on warm summer nights. The hyper-modern technology district of Zhongguancun sits side by side with thousand year old hutongs. Belching smokestacks sit beside smoking tailpipes idling beside orchards tended with donkey carts, with bicyclists always traveling faster than the incessantly honking Audi A6s. Everything in China is layers upon layers of complexity that you can hardly begin to understand, and everything is seemingly contradictory, but uncannily consistent in the context of five thousand years of history. Chinese people are inconsiderate yet warm, pushy yet polite, avaricious yet honest, and always eager with a "can do" attitude except when they're saying "mei you." Sometimes it's enough to drive you to distraction, and then one of your Chinese friends calls and invites you to dinner just because and you have the most amazing meal of your life, except that you just had that last week, and you could have it every day here. Never lose sight of how amazing your life can be if you just open your mind to the possibility, and you'll do fine. - Jan 2011
If you don't care about current affairs and have a robust constitution, you can be perfectly happy here and have a reasonable standard of living. - Jan 2010