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Using Tap Water


rayne
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I'm going to move to Qingdao next year and I'm worried about the tap water situation...

 

I searched online and it said tap water is not drinkable in Qingdao.

 

I plan on buying those water dispensers you see in office and having the huge water jugs delivered. 

 

I've seen water dispensers that are attached to pipes so it cleans/purifies the water before it's dispensed. Are such machines common in Qingdao? Would those be better than having water jugs delivered? 

 

How safe is the water for preparing food (washing vegetables, etc.), brushing your teeth, showering, etc.? I wear contacts so I wash my hands with soup and tap water before putting them in and taking them out... I feel like I wouldn't be able to do that anymore. 

 

Would putting water filters on every tap of my house be enough to keep the water safe enough to use for cooking? 

 

When I use a public washroom would I be better off not washing my hands?! Is that where the stereotype of Chinese people not washing their hands stems from? I am pretty much against using hand sanitizers but I've heard of DIY recipes like vinegar+water+lemon essential oil. 

 

I'm really paranoid about this because I had gastro-enteritis when I visited Shanghai which ruined my trip. I have a weak stomach so I'm worried this will happen to me often... 

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Frankly, if you're really paranoid about the water, the only certain method is, whatever the source, to deal with it yourself: boil it, add chlorine bleach, etc. Even then, most of those methods only deal with bugs and other organic contaminants, not inorganics like metal pollutants.

 

Not saying the effort is justified, only that it's the only way to be absolutely certain the bugs, if not the chemical contaminants, are gone.

 

As to those purifier gizmos, why would you have faith in a gizmo which works who-knows-how, when you can be pretty certain boiling or chlorine bleach will work.

 

(Just to be clear, I'm talking about drinking water here, not water for washing up.)

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When staying in Qingdao, it is wise not to drink tap water in any form, unless if was been sterilized by boiling or by using purification tablets. Tap water in Qingdao is known to contain bacteria that can cause varying degrees of sickness and diarrhea. Also avoid ice cubs, any drinks that may have been watered down, and uncooked fruit and vegetable dishes.

 

If you are staying a long time you may acclimate to the bacteria and then eating the vegetables cleaned with the water or the seafood may not make you sick.  Bottled water is very common they even have a bottled water factory. 

 

Depending on your economic situation and how long you will stay you may want to invest in a water distiller, though expensive they provide the best clean transfer of your tap water and when used enough justify the price.

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I'm planning to use a water filter for the shower at least... I don't think it would be efficient or convenient for me to boil enough water every day in order to take a manual shower. 

 

I live in South Korea right now and the government of the province I live in insists that the tap water is safe for drinking and I believe them BUT I do not believe in Korea's plumbing system. I don't drink tap water (I use a water dispensing unit that's connected to the water pipes in my home. It purifies the water before dispensing it) but I use it for showering and washing vegetables.

Other expats in Korea reported their skin and hair getting worse from the water or the bad pipes turning the water bad but thankfully my skin is fine. 

 

But are water filters really useless then? I'm paranoid so I may even use water filters and then boil the water.... 

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Are you sure you are ready for China? Man, the water is just one of a myriad of things to get worked up about and I live in China. I'm going on my 6th year. I have only had serious food poisoning twice, and once was from sandwich (Subway) that had mayo. This was years ago, and I don't think the folks understood it needed to be kept cold.

Most expats And local Chinese I know buy water jugs. There are purifiers you can buy, but the only place I see use purifiers regularly are restaurants. as far as I know I've never gotten sick from water or even ice, which I drink at Western restaurants in China.

Are you sure the incident in Shanghai stemmed from water?

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I think you are being WAY too paranoid about this. I guess 889's comments didn't help though.

 

You should avoid drinking the tap water.

 

You can and should definitely wash your hands after using the bathroom. You can shower with the water here without any problems. The vast majority of people have absolutely no problems showering or using the water to wash fruit and vegetables etc before cooking them. Just like in Korea it seems, a very small number of people have a reaction to showering with the water. This is mostly a result to chlorine not some crazy skin melting chemicals.

 

I'm the only person I know with a tap filter - everyone uses the water coolers. I don't know nor have ever met anyone with a shower filter. It's not common at all.

 

Also, when you got gastro-enteritis in Shanghai it was almost certainly either the food or your own hands, not the water. Unless, of course, you were gulping down tap water. I understand you had this 'bad experience' in Shanghai. When you move here, just be careful where you eat (no streetfood, no really shoddy looking places, eat at peak times at busy restaurants, no cold dishes) and wash your hands before eating. Also, most people end up getting stomach problems at some point when they move to a new, foreign country. This is normal and doesn't necessarily mean you are more sensitive than anyone else.

 

 

For drinking water ...

Most people just get an 'office style' water cooler in their apartment. It's really, really common and getting water delivered is painless. Usually most housing apartments have their own companies that deliver water within then. You can buy your own 'cooler' machine from supermarkets/electronic shops OR you can usually rent one from the water companies. If you're going to rent one, best to clean it out first. Perhaps run some vinegar through the pipes/out the taps.

 

Of course, this being China there are the occaisional scandals and news stories about the water in some of these water cooler bottles is just tap water etc. I have never had any trouble and haven't met anyone who has got sick and traced it back to water coolers. I don't worry about this personally.

 

The other option would be a filter fitted to your kitchen tap. These can be under the sink or on the kitchen top. Aquasana is the most well known company in Beijing for providing these. They have all kinds of data and certificates backing up their filters. I have a Japanese brand water filter under my sink and it's great. I have lived here for 4 years though. They are not cheap.

 

You can also buy large 4L bottles of water easily - both mineral and filtered.

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I imagine "fake food" is referring to the various food scandals that hit China every so often. "Fake" might not be the right word unless you're refering specifically to something like rat meat being passed off as pork (found in a BBQ vendor in a city) I guess it's still food though! Just not the food you thought!

Just don't eat in the cheapest places and you should avoid most of the worst stuff.

If you're really worrying about all this, maybe don't Rush into coming here. Read around on this forum for a bit more and see what people are saying. If you know anyone who lives here, get them on Skype and have a conversation!

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I plan on buying those water dispensers you see in office and having the huge water jugs delivered.

 

Yes, do that. It's easy to arrange and not expensive.

 

I've seen water dispensers that are attached to pipes so it cleans/purifies the water before it's dispensed. Are such machines common in Qingdao? Would those be better than having water jugs delivered?

 

No, don't go the complicated "purifier" route. Have water jugs delivered. Simple.

 

How safe is the water for preparing food (washing vegetables, etc.), brushing your teeth, showering, etc.?

 

It's fine for things like that.

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Before I came to China I read about collapsing side walks, and people getting decapitated or killed in elevators. I read about the horrible pollution, and yes I too read about the water and food scandals. I was convinced my hair would fall off, that I'd get boiled alive and then killed on my way to the ER.

 

I think a lot of people have many concerns before coming to China, and maybe the first month or so you'll still worry but eventually you'll stop caring as much. If you worry about every little thing you wont enjoy your stay here. I'm not saying be reckless. But i think it's normal to feel this way. Just.. stop reading things that are only reporting negative things about china, and try reading more pieces on the fun/good of China. People always ask me why I live here with all the problems there is, and I can't help but reply that I like it. Every day is an adventure and I'm a bit sad to be returning home soon.

 

*edit* You're going to Qingdao, think about the beaches and seafood :)

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#7 -- @rayne --

 

No... I'm not ready for China at all... 

 

I'm worried about many things. Pollution, water, fake food, etc.

 

Have you already accepted a job in Qingdao? If not, suggest seriously reconsidering the move. If you go into something new like that with lots of fear and negative expectations, it is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy and not work out well.

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Agree with ABCDEFG and grawrt.

 

On the one hand, if you are really this worried about it, either get over it and just go with the flow OR reconsider your move entirely. You could try take a holiday to China first.

 

It's worth remembering there are lot of expats living and studying in China who all have a grea time without any problems at all. I'd imagine if it was really that bad this forum would be full of posts about all the hair soy sauce and rat meat on a stick.

 

The forum member 'Thrice' lived in Qingdao for a couple of years and absolutely loved it. Wishes he could get out of Beijing and go back there ...

 

Might also be an idea to read up on Qingdao. I've been there and really liked it. I enjoyed a lot of nice seafood.

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Thank you grawrt, that is good advice compared to... "get over it" and just not going.... I'm trying to get over it by posting here and getting advice. Please be sensitive although my overreacting may seem crazy  :( It's a big change for me. 

 

My fiance is moving to Qingdao for work and I am supporting his career by moving with him. 

 

I am trying so hard to find things about Qingdao. I'm trying to find blogs, forums, anything like that instead of Qingdao tourism-type things that are most likely written for the purpose of promoting Qingdao or the writer was paid to write it about it making it most likely bias. If anyone knows any blogs or active forums (all Qingdao forums seem empty/dead), then please let me know!

 

Actually, I'd love any good blogs about living in China... especially as a teacher. 

 

I have been to China on many occasions. I already mentioned Shanghai. I've also been around Zhejiang (loved it there) and multiple little areas around there (Linhai was great, too), and many parts of Guangdong. It's great for vacation/visiting and I have been veeeery careful when I visit (yet still got food poisoning in Shanghai) but I have always said to myself in the back of my mind that I wouldn't live there long term.

However, due to my fiance's job promotion it looks like we'll be in Qingdao for about 7 years. 

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I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound harsh there. The tone in my head was lost on paper!! :( I should have put lots of :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: .

 

You're doing the right thing coming and asking on here.  What i've said previously remains valid though.

 

As for teaching blogs generally ... the biggest problem I find is that any 'professional' blogs just want to sell you stuff. Why not post in the 'teaching' section and see what responses you get?

 

Also, if you're currently in Korea I guess you can easily use google search. I'd try to find peoples personal blogs that are out there. Even if they are old you'll still get great insights. Does google still have a 'blog' search feature??

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#16 -- @Rayne --

 

Actually, I'd love any good blogs about living in China... especially as a teacher.

 

Some of these might help give you a better idea of what life in China is like.

 

http://www.chinabloglist.org/

http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/china

http://www.chinabloggers.info/

 

One common thread in many of these (I have not read them all) is that life in China is always an adventure. Some people tend to thrive on the challenges it presents, and other people don't.

 

How have you found living in Korea? Has that worked out well?

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I tried searching on and off for the last month, using different search terms. I'm an English teacher in Korea and there are SOOOOOOOOOO many blogs, forums, facebook pages, resources, etc.

 

There are a lot of blogs that are really every day stuff: funny or cute snippets about interactions with students, listing what did and did not work in their classes, minor rants about work, observations on the culture (working environment, public transportation, interactions with random Korea people they don't know, etc), and the hurdles of dating someone outside their culture/race, taking steps to learn Korean, etc. 

Since they post short blog entries about every day life, they post often. And even though I am living and teaching in Korea myself, it's interesting reading about other expats having different thoughts and experiences.

 

But most of the blogs I've found they update once in a full moon and it's some really long expose about the differences between their country and China and listing evidence from their country while making big guesses about why China's culture is like that by listing random historical and superstitious stuff... they also reinforce known stereotypes by using those stereotypes as examples... and I don't really like that. I feel it generalizes China too much.

Don't get me wrong, there are Korean blogs like that too but there's such a huge pool of blogs so I can just ignore those ones.

I feel like there's MUCH less blogs about China but maybe I'm searching wrong. I googled "china blogs, teaching in china blogs", look through tumblr tags and stuff like that but didn't find what i was looking for. 

 

There are also a small handful of teaching resource forums for English teachers in Korea but there doesn't seem to be any for China. There aren't any teacher-centered forums in China too. Nor are there much general life in China for expat forums?? This site is geared towards learning China, which is great but not much general living in Korea forums. There's a forum called Dave's ESL Cafe which has a China subforum but some people aren't so nice there. 

I'm so surprised because China is a big country with a lot of expat English teachers. There's a teacher-centered forum for Taiwan, too.  

 

I have enjoyed my time living in Korea. I love my school and my students a lot. My school in general has very low-level students (not only in English, but almost all subjects...) so it was amazing to see how much they've improved in my 3 years teaching them. I didn't even think I was making a difference or anything until late last year when I got curious and looked at the students' grades in their other subjects... I was shocked to see that a majority of the students pretty much got the same grade every single year (no improvement) where as they steadily improved in English every semester. 

 

I enjoy my day to day life as well. Korea has so many conveniences that I won't get into since this post is already so long... if I do, this post will be 3 times as long!

 

And I've been enjoying learning Korean and have been really making headway with it. I was planning on starting to study Chinese at the beginning of this month but I felt like i finally broke through a wall with Korean last month so I haven't been able to bring myself to not study Korean. Whenever I have free time I really can't help but pick up my Korean textbook when I should really be starting studying Chinese... I even tried studying Hanja to meet in the middle but I go back to Hangul.  

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You can pretty much get food poisoning anywhere in the world. I visited UK with my family on holiday after not living there for many years. I got an upset stomach and my toddler got Salmonella!

 

Given that you are pretty much set on going to Qingdao, there isn't much you can do about the risk. You've accepted it by deciding to move there. I'd say go and enjoy the learning of new experiences - something a teacher would say to their student

 

The people that get the least out of moving to a new place are the ones that moan how good the other place is. I'd love to move to Qingdao and explore it.

 

Perhaps you can be the one to write a blog (but write a balanced one) :lol:

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