Bikes and Cat Scans

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

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Flag of China  , Zhejiang Sheng,
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Got up at 6:30 this morning, when both alarms I had set just 5 hours before went off unexpectedly!  like a proud parent of an average kid, who got an A minus in YOUR class for the first time.   (Yes,  they always add that "for the first time" thing in there...).    And what do I get for the early wakey wakey?  One Fuggin'  Cat Scan!  Oh yeah! " I wake up early and get one of these damned things oh joy!" 

After the usual one hour of the Chinese Indianapolis 500/ Roller ball crazy taxi session from Xiasha to Downtown Hangzhou,  we eased up to the hospital for another test.   I have read many horror stories about Chinese hospitals and must disagree with much of what I have heard: Monkey's with little education and knives are not posing as medical staff.   There is no urine or fecal matter on the floors, walls, ect.  They don't start removing body parts w/o just cause. Chinese medicine is probably as good as it is anywhere in the West.  I found the Chinese doctors and nurses to be quite competent, they ask the right questions under each circumstance,  and the place is relatively clean,  well... clean enough anyway.   Many things the Chinese hospitals have in their favor.   No appointment needed for instance.  You simply go to the front desk,  ask for a CT Scan,  pay at the window,  wait in a line for 30 minutes,  get your CT scan, and leave.   Two hours tops!  And for only $200!  TWO HUNDRED BUCKS FOR A PERFECTLY GOOD CAT SCAN?  VS 5 TO 10 TIMES THAT IN THE USA?   Where have we gone wrong as a country?   Also,  the doctor really cared and wanted to see me cured.   No he didn't know or even like me,  but he had pride in his job that supersedes money.  They used to call this the Hippocratic Oath.  

  The Scan itself was strange with some tube squirting a liquid into my wrist and when the machine cranked up--the veins in my arm started feeling like they were about to boil--then the sensation went down to my heart, then up my esophagus and out of my mouth and leaving behind a choking mist (it was probably a green mist),  which made me cough until I could replace it with fresh air. That was one powerful machine;  never felt like THAT before.   Didn't really hurt,  but felt like it was about to for damned sure. Scary thing the CT machine..

Got home by eleven and slept for a few hours.

Resurrected myself and went bike shopping with my neighbor.  After miles of walking we came up on a bike dealership that sold high quality Merida brand bikes.   I didn't want any of those professional bikes,  they are so stealable and expensive.  Instead I bought a folding portabike.   Many of you have seen these dumb looking bikes with 20 inch wheels and the ability to fold into a small suitcase.  I had my doubts,  but I tried one and absolutely loved it!   It's portable,  so I can take it on airplanes,  trains, buses,  yak carts, whatever...  It has 7 speeds and moves quick enough for me.  Its the right height and strong enough for a big tall heavy dude to ride--plus I can carry it up 5 flights of stairs, so it won't get stolen every day.   Makes the 2 mile walk to school a breeze.  I only paid $150 for it including a helmet and heavy chain.   Bike theft is a major issue around here so parking it in my room makes sense to me.  I can bring it to the classroom then bring it back to Texas instead of having to sell it.   I can tell it is well made but with starter shifting components.  The frame and wheels are top quality and thats all that really matters to me.

Had a strange hotdog looking thing wrapped in a type of Ethiopian Teff bread mixed with lettuce, onions, salt,  and heat!   Washed it down with a concoction of baijou and Sprite.  Damn,  Sprite really is some good stuff even without the additives.  The hotdog tastes like rubber and cartilage like all oriental sausages I've ever tried.   Didn't do much last night but surf and read more "Cracked online",   I really need to find the used dvd shop or something.  Can't just write and read "Cracked" 24 hours per day.  Went to bed around 10:00... due to the early wakey time I suppose.  Damn,  I hate early mornings,  just wrecks my nights.

Thursday Morning:  Got up around 8 and left the house at 9, in order to track down a better seat for my bike.  Found out last night that the "Dahon" brand is very popular in America and Europe, where the model I have costs about $400.  It's made of steel so it's pretty heavy,  but also more flexible and stronger than the high dollar Aluminum framed ones. I prefer steel to Aluminum although the latter is a little lighter.  What does a couple pounds matter when the rider weighs as much as a good sized black bear?   I went to the bike shop and bought a new seat for about $15 bucks and it's a good one,  not wider, it just has that center groove for those of us with prostates and don't want to flatten them (not really sure what a prostate is but I know the dangers of harming them).  Much nicer ride w/o the constant butt-ache.  

 Then I headed way up town about 3 or 4 miles and discovered the huge indoor food market place, it was open air and third-world as hell,  yet  I didn't really go in,  I plan to return with another Laowei  (White person),  so I don't get killed and eaten or something

   Actually I was hungry for breakfast in the air conditioning, not a loud hot food festival--teeming with people, where the scent of dead fish and garbage strangles ones nostrils.

   I did find a place nearby that sold Peking duck and chicken,  so I bought a whole chicken all flattened and smoked.  The lady took out a butcher knife and chopped it up into 1/2 inch slices,  put it in a box and I put it in my pack for later.  Further down the street I saw many shops and stores, so I drove down it in order to find an elusive book store that I've heard about that sells books in English. 

   I didn't find it, but I did find a quasi-Japanese restaurant and ordered some sushi and fried chicken.  Cost was about 4 bucks, but I got a lot of food and half of that was sushi. Real  kick you in the pants sushi, with wasabi that felt like an army of pitchfork wielding monkeys shot up your nose all of a sudden,  wreaked their havoc, then left almost as soon as they arrived.   The sushi itself was crab and tuna rolls of medium quality, but warm so ewwwwww-a-ew-ew-ew.   Warm bait!     The chicken tasted like Mcnuggets but were served with Mayo of course in the great Chinese culinary tradition.   The mango drink was the best part of the meal, served with a big straw and little round mango jello bb's at the bottom of the drink whitch goes up the straw for an extra sensation.   I have had the cold coffee with chocolate bb's made from tapioca but these were like little mango jellyfish.  Nice breakfast overall.  I don't mind paying 4 dollars for a grime-less restaurant with air conditioning,  sometimes ya gots to splurge a little in life...  (hehehe)

After breakfast,  I headed West and drove through the huge campus of Zhenjiang Sci-Tech University (my employer) and was most impressed with the size and beauty of the place.   Got to see the Red Army recruits doing drills on the parade grounds.  Hope we never have to fight them,  they were tough looking bastards!   The center of campus was like a small town with many shops and restaurants.   Bus stations and a 4 lane highway bisected the campus,  so you were never far from public transport.  I got to enjoy the bike and cruise around the various curved walkways, fountains, forests, ect.   China is spending a ton of money on this Xiasha business.   On my way out of campus,  I fortunately spotted the building that I have my first school meeting in,  so now I don't have to try to find a map or anything by tomorrow..  Its a breeze to get there with my new collapsible bike.

    This little bike is fine for what I need it for,  plus I can check this one as one piece of regular luggage if I have to return home for any reason.   Pumped the last two or three miles back home and must have gone 8 to 10 miles total,  which is a good ride on a portable bike.  Once my ass gets in better condition I will manage 20 or more,  I still haven't made it to the river and I want to view what they refer to as a "Tidal Bore",  where a large wave from a monthly "Neap tide" from the bay runs up the river for many miles.   I also want to find a place to sit and watch the various boats and barges head out to the ocean and back.  I'm an ocean lover by nature and all things oceanic fascinate me beyond words,  hopefully I will find a nice place to watch this stuff.

Speaking of reasons I might have to return home.   I'm still waiting on my Cat Scan results.  I hope to find out this afternoon,  but my interpreter is a bit overwhelmed at the moment, so we shall see.  I'll return in a few hours with the news no matter how good or bad it is.  

(few hours have elapsed since the last paragraph)

Excellent news!  The heart is fine and has no blockage!!!  But I still have a circulation issue that shows up on my ekg's?  Going back on Monday for a diabetes test among other things,  my interpreter says that I'm just too fat,  the doctor suspects my blood pressure medicine.  Who knows...  but I do not have a blocked heart which is a big load off my mind.   I will be allowed to get a residency visa!  

Tomorrow,  I go to work for the first time since May 28th,  sign my contract and my first school year in China will begin!!!

Spent the rest of the evening catching up on some much needed Sax practice.  It's going to take a couple weeks to get back to where I was back in June,  but I will do it.   Part of the set back is getting used to the Selmer Signet by Buescher,  they are a totally different horn than a 38 King Zephyr,   Mainly easier,  but still not the same in any way.   I miss the old Zeph.. sniff sniff...  But this sax plays well and has a pretty (not ballsy) sound.   I put a high dollar Brass Otto Link mouthpiece on it, so now it can testify to some extent.



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Robin on

All that walking, stair climbing and unamerican food ought to help your weight. I dont want to move there but no wonder you dont see fat chinese.

albarnes on

As of Oct 15th I've lost 20 pounds so far. Tough to eat this fare and get fat when you combine it with climbing 25 stories of stairs each day whether you like it or not (this includes the flights I have to walk up at work too).

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