Thursday, August 25, 2011

Medical exams in China...

This morning, at 8, the three of us had to go get our official Chinese medical exams, because apparently the ones we had done in the US aren’t good enough. I knew this was going to happen, but I guess it just irked me…or I was in a testy mood because we weren’t allowed to eat breakfast beforehand.

Oh, and it was raining today. Mmmm, I love the feel of acid rain on my skin.

Thankfully, Mr. Dong showed up with a taxi to take us to our medical exam. Upon arrival at the clinic, there was this machine thing that look almost exactly like a scale looks like in the US. The person checking us in only made Lauren stand on it. Apparently, you stand on it for two seconds (actually two seconds; it’s what the sign says) and it somehow takes your temperature. I have absolutely no idea how, but a bunch of things light up. It was kind of cool. (I would love for someone to fill me in on how a country with such cool technology still has yet to figure out real toilets and caulking showers…)

Next, we had to fill out these forms about past medical history, etc. After we filled them out and were waiting to go back to get our blood drawn, Emily showed up. It ended up being like a China group reunion because Tyler and Lauren O. showed up later.

The first step was to go into this little room to get two vials of blood drawn. The nurses were behind this glass screen, and there was a little cut-out where you placed your arm. You put your arm on this little pillow and they had a blue pad out that they wrapped around your arm, under the strap to make your veins more visible. It was quite the efficient procedure, although the human element was almost completely missing. I guess one of the Drake students from last year fainted while getting her blood drawn, so Mr. Dong was buzzing around us like a little bee, constantly asking if we felt okay. Dude, it’s not like we’re having surgery here. It’s getting blood drawn. I told him my story about Uganda to get him to shut up.

Next, we had to give a urine sample. I immediately thought, “Hooray, there’s nothing I like more than attempting to do a urine sample at 8:30 in the morning with a squatter toilet”. Thankfully, this clinic, unlike anywhere else in China, had a western toilet for us to use. Sorry for all of the details about the urine sample, but it’s really freaking rare for a public place in China to have a REAL toilet. I feel like it’s noteworthy enough to deserve a place in my blog.

After that was done, we went back to this hallway that was lined with little rooms on either side, all the way down. Instead of each of us seeing one doctor, it was like an assembly line. Radiology, ultrasound, “facial features” – otherwise known as testing our eyesight, EKG, and blood pressure. It wasn’t too bad, and I think we were out of there by 9:30.

After getting back from the clinic, we each took a break to clean some more of our apartments before meeting at 11 for an early lunch. We had about an hour, so I got my refrigerator and the top of the refrigerator clean. That it took me an entire hour to clean half of a fridge should speak volumes about how dirty it was before.

Following my fridge adventure, we went on our first lunch adventure as a trio on Wenyuan St. We tried to find the place that Mr. Dong and Mr. Fu took us for lunch yesterday because we really liked their sweet and sour pork, but we ended up going into the wrong place.

Since we’re kind of off the beaten path, hardly any restaurants have menus with pictures. We can get by with rudimentary words like “chicken”, “beef”, “pork”, “cucumber”, “noodles”, etc., but when it comes to actually ordering dishes with full names, we’re screwed. That, and we can only read pinyin, not full characters, which is what the menus come in.

When we got to the restaurant, we initially had a CHILD taking our order. If I had to guess, I would put him between 8 and 10 years old. In usual fashion, in about five minutes we had three more waiters crowded around us attempting to help.

I had out my phrasebook and told him we wanted chicken, or “ji rou”. He pointed to a dish on his menu that had the character for ji rou, which I could see in my phrasebook, and then the one below it for chili pepper. Since we couldn’t seem to get them to figure out a pork or beef dish, we decided to go ahead and try this chili pepper chicken. It actually ended up being really good, and had green peppers in it, too.

We ordered some noodles, “mian”, which actually ended up being noodles with eggs and tomatoes. It sounds pretty disgusting, but it’s actually really delicious. I could do without the cooked tomatoes, but the sauce combined with the noodles and eggs is delicious.

We also wanted some vegetables, so we ordered cucumbers using my phrasebook, hoping that he would come up with some sort of salad dish with cucumbers. Ah, if we could only be so lucky. The child, upon hearing the word cucumber, went over to the fridge, grabbed a HUGE cucumber, and carried it over to our table. Our faces must have said it all, because the dad grabbed it and carried it to the back to prepare with garlic and some sort of sauce. Again, delicious.

All in all, the meal ended up being extremely good, but it’s always an adventure to attempt to order a meal in China.

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