Living in Chengu
Some advice from my time living for a month in Chengdu
The public transport system is incredible and easy to use; The metro and buses are clean and efficient. In comparison the New York metro sucks;
Fresh fruit and vegetables are amazing and easy to find stack high in the local supermarkets;
Incredible; Great variety;
Outside of the international hotels almost nobody speaks english; I have done a lot of travelling and was not expecting so much difficulty. Using google translate, you are not always sure to be understood.
Almost none of the sites you are used to using are avaible in China; Google, youtube, facebook and most common sites that I use on a daily basis are all blocked. The solution is to pay for a VPN, which you have to set up, before arriving in China; A VPN allows you to bounce off another server which is based outside of China. I used servers in Hong Kong which were the most reliable and speedy.
Paying with international cards is a problem; many places do not take them and when they do you often have to explain that the procedure is different for international cards.
There are only 2 banks in Chengdu which accept international cards and so you always have to look out for their ATMs. I ended up, always carrying a lot of cash, which is something I would not normally do
The paperwork to get an extension was surprising simple and I was asked almost no questions; However, when it came to payment, they would not accept international cards or cash;