I have lived in 5 apartments in 4 different areas of town, I won't bore you with all of them, but I'll tell you the 2 best areas I lived. I started off in the area near Green Lake. It's definitely the most characterful, cool, and sociable part of the city, but it's not the easiest place to drive a car. I also lived very close to the GuangFu Rd Aegean Mall, it is a nice part of town with everything you need a short walk or drive away (Carre Four, Walmart, Metro, and hospital with a few very nice foreign doctors). Downsides - for nightlife closest areas are 1903 or Nanya (which are both beautiful semi-outdoor malls) and you are unlikely to meet many foreigners there - foreigners drink/eat in Salvadors, Green Lake O'Reilly's, Barflai, and The Turtle just north west of the city centre. Driving or ebiking to these places from the KIA area takes 35-45minutes.
'Highly recommend leaving agencies your secondary phone number to avoid year round hassling.'
Yes, best to give them your wechat and not your phone number, then you can just delete them once you have found your apartment. My wife got calls from estate agents for years until she changed her phone number.
Doubt you'll find anywhere with no homework, as Chinese parents expect lots of it. BIBS teaches IB curriculum, and is a bit more focused on fostering rounded and independent learners than just getting high test marks. The students get homework, but not crazy amounts, certainly less than at a public school. It is open to students of all nationalities. www.gokunming.com/[...]
China is difficult enough for experienced childless travelers, let alone a single mother. Big respect for your guts to even consider this! ESL salaries have gone up recently but are still not high, probably 11-13k (about $1600-1850) a month for a full time job. You can expect to spend $1200-1400 a month on childcare, rent, food, and other bills. Yes you will probably have enough to survive but you are leaving a baby with someone you don't know very well (pretty scary in China if you know about the proclivity of people to take shortcuts). I think coming here would probably make a stressful situation more stressful. However, if you can get through the first couple of years and you always show up to work, you will get raises every year, and when your baby reaches or 3 (or close to 3) you can put him/her in kindergarten, which is only about 3000-5000 a month. By that time you should be earning 13-14k so you will be able to save a little money for the future. There are lots of knowledgeable people here who can help you.
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a very pleasant park with a tall pagoda you can climb and take photos of the city if you wish. Roses in summer, blossom in spring, nice lawn to sit on, bbq areas.
Recently the food seems to be better. Decent steak at a decent price, decent pizza, some decent wine, and the music is more suitable these days (Rammenstein wasn't the right mood music for Cantina)!
Had lunch - grilled chicken on top of mashed cuttlefish and a salad. The chicken was tasty and well cooked, and there was plenty of meat/fish to fill up even a hungry person. The salad was overdressed and nothing special - I won't order one next time. The service is a decent imitation of what you might find in the west. A large menu of food and drink. A nice civilised place to go for food or drink, but some of the dishes (i.e. the steaks) are very pricey. You could easily spend 300rmb+ per person here. Equally, it is possible to have lunch for under 60rmb per person (as we did). Warning - the bottle of water on each table costs an eye watering 48rmb! Don't be a sucker by opening it!
Went for a spot of lunch. Best pizza I've had in Kunming by some distance. In fact, one of the best pizzas I've ever had - quality ingredients, thin base, cooked to perfection. Sashimi salmon tasted very fresh and was well presented. The drinks are expensive, and one of the waiters was letting the side down by being a bit scruffy and impolite (hence not 5 stars), but definitely go and try the pizza.
Pretty mediocre burgers accompanied by completely overcooked 'fries'/chips. Drafty, a bit smelly, and infested with mosquitos and noisy teenagers. Soup not bad but nothing special. Nothing French about the decor or atmosphere (there isn't any outdoor seating). Haven't tried the coffee. I hope it will close and be replaced by a decent bar or restaurant. A burger bar with the Moondog chef in the kitchen would be perfect, and with Brooklyn just a few metres away way would make a great little foreign food and drink scene!