Time for it all.

Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Flag of China  , Zhejiang Sheng,
Saturday, August 27, 2011

   Today I went with the other teachers to Hangzhou.   and had a series of tests done.   We all went thru the urine, blood, and many other tests,  but they made me go thru an ECG test,    an electro-cardiogram.      The ECG says that Yours truly has a major heart condition.    One of the peaks on the script was flat as hell.   The lady who administered this was scared as shit.  " I am close to death" is her synopsis of this reading.  My legs have been swollen for a year.     So I have a major blockage...?  Not sure, but I do have a major issue and I better get it fixed if I want to live to age 50.  I have an appointment on Tuesday to visit the Xiasha hospital which is modern by Chinese standards,  and I will get a second opinion.   Hopefully they will find out what the issue is, since American medicine has failed me over and over.   I actually have a great doctor in Utah who referred me to a heart hospital last October which gave me an expensive sonogram then said that my heart is ok but one of the valves is spitting out excess fluid due to my high blood pressure.  Well my blood pressure has been practically normal for the past three months and I'm still getting symptoms of angina.   My guess is that their diagnosis could be a bit flawed.   Lets see what the Chinese think.   If I need surgery I will get it done in Hong Kong,  Singapore,  or Japan.   Forget American health-care,  they are only concerned with profits.

I am going back through my notes and rewriting some passages I've neglected to publish on here.  I tend to write a lot in notebooks but fail to rewrite and publish somehow.   I guess it stems from my habit of never taking the same path back from a destination that got me there.  Hard to explain but I rarely will walk back on the same path that got me there.  To much new ground to cover and I don't want to miss it.

8/24/2011:   Spent the afternoon jamming on the sax,  writing my blog on my Nokia,  eating "Pocky" (japanese stick-like cookies), and drinking a small bottle of Black Velvet that I bought in Dallas but had stashed in my backpack just for rainy days like this one.   I also discovered a roll of chewing tobacco (snuff) that I had hidden in there but couldn't access since I put my main pack in this apartment, before going to the Mingtown Hostel at West lake in Hangzhou. So I am no longer a "Cigarette dipper",  at least for a couple weeks.  Nice thing is that I chew a 1/3rd as much as I previously did since I fear having to go back to cig dipping.   Yes,  it's been gently raining all afternoon and evening,   I'm listening to John Coltrane (jazz music) and having a swell time.  Here are some lyrics to the only song of his that I have in which he himself sings.

The Ballad of John Coltrane:

 " Ever feel kind of down and out and don't know just what to do. 
Livin' all of your days in darkness, let the sun shine through.
Ever feel somehow somewhere you lost your way.
and if you don't get a help quick,  you won't make it through the day.
Could ya call on Lady Day (Billie Holiday),  Could ya call on John Coltrane, now cause
they'll  They'll wash your troubles away.

Plastic people with plastic minds on their way to plastic homes
No beginning--ain't no ending,  just go on and on and on and on.
It's all because they're so afraid to say that they're alone.
Till I hear a risin' risin' on the saxophone.

Could ya call on Lady Day.  Could ya call on John Coltrane cause 
they'll wash your troubles away.

Ever feel kind of down and out and don't know what to do..... "

John died in his 40's from a heart condition.  To early for him (and me) to go.

The guy was a heck of a singer yet he mainly played the Sax.  Maybe he figured he could best express himself with his horn?  I have years of practice if I want to attain those levels.  

Back to the present day.  Got up around 9 and started writing and doing laundry.  Nobody has dryers here so I put up little plastic stick-on hooks on the walls and hang my laundry on those.  The Chinese are quite efficient.  Why have a dryer?  Consumes needless energy.   Many just wash their clothes by hand in a large bowl near a water source.   All those people sweeping the sidewalks I told you about use brooms made by hand.   Ancient looking things with twigs as bristles.   Nice to see such ancient-ness in a modern looking city.   Although the city looks modern,  one only needs to go to the nearest alley to see the traditional China.   I've seen people slaughtering animals and spraying the carcasses with a hose in the alleys here.   
I love the Chinese,  they are just natural people with little pretense.  If the inside of one's nose itches,  they stick their finger up there with no concern about who is watching.  They spit whenever where-ever they wish. They laugh and point at people they think appear out of place.  

One started going through my shopping cart at the grocery store the other day out of curiosity.  But when they smile at you it generally comes from the heart.  Unless someone  is trying to screw you their smiles are genuine.   I get very positive vibes from the Chinese population.
They do the strangest stuff but they are all concerned with the concept of "saving face".   They will never admit it if they screw up.   They will never accept a monetary tip of any kind.  A store keeper will chase you down the street if you leave without accepting your change,  even if merely a penny or two.  Yet many Chinese are money hungry and will screw you whenever possible.. Cab drivers and little store owners come to mind here.   Screwing foreigners is a way of gaining face but accepting a 3 cent tip causes one to lose face.  
     The girl from Minnesota came by at 10:00 AM to ask me to brekkies.  Although not hungry I still accepted her offer since she doesn't know her way around and she's one of the two English speakers I currently know.   She's pretty cool.  I admire any young person who has the desire and the cojones to go out and live in the orient by themselves.   My daughter "Athena" is like that to a great extent. Very nice to have people like the Minnesota gal as a neighbor and coworker.  We went to some Chinese place (all places here besides KFC are Chinese),  and had some pork, celery and egg dish.. Pretty nasty actually,  I need to do my own cooking more,  the more I eat Chinese food,  the less I like it.   Who wants to eat limp celery???? 
    The Chinese do eat a lot of watermelon and are crazy about fried chicken.   How's that for stereotypes?  But it's entirely true.   I eat tons of watermelon here as well since it's so cheap and readily available this time of year,   and yes,  I am also a lover of fried chicken and damned proud of it!   Anyway,  I hit the Muslim flat bread seller on the way home and have some greasy bread made with onion and eggs with spices for only 3 kwai a 1 pound bag.   (50 cents or so)   This bread is the only Chinese food,  other than grilled meat,  that I really like.   I let the girl go to the park by herself since my feet need one days rest. I'm currently I'm having lunch and finishing up this page. 

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JoAnne Barnes on

Well stated, Bev.

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