Saturday, January 17, 2009

First thoughts on China

I've been in China for a week now. I've done a few things, but mainly I've been trying to wrap my head around this strange place. On the surface it looks like they took all the most flamboyant aspects of North American culture from the late 70's through to the mid 90's, put them in a blender and served it up with a hint of Asian flair.
In the span of two blocks you can see a host of things that will make your head spin, women washing clothes in a stream in the winter, some business man blasting bubblegum pop music from his cell phone safely secured on a belt clip, maniacs honking their way down the wrong side of the street, chickens, streetdogs, and randoms pointing at the wide eyed white guy.
I had the pleasure of going for a physical here in Yantai. This is not a comfortable experience when done at home in the privacy of your family doctors office. In China, you get to go to a somewhat rundown building downtown and parade from room to room having each procedure done, most of which you will have an audience for. Nothing like having someone speak to you in a foreign language while rubbing ultrasound goop on your chest and stomach while Chinese farmers crowd around and whisper and point.
It was an unfamiliar process, not entirely uncomfortable though. Well, with the exception of the blood work. My arm looks like someone took a golf club to the inside of my elbow. Next time I'm bringing a heroin addict to stick me. To top off the procedure they send you away with a tackle box of random pills of all sizes, shapes and colours.
The advice I've been given and I'll pass on to you is, don't get sick in China.

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