September 12, 2009
It is Friday evening, and since this has been another eventful day, I’ll fill you in a little!
We started the day by going across town to the medical facility of the China immigration office. I had not seen that part of town before, and it was very impressive. First, Weihai is such a small city, and it doesn’t register on many internet maps, but we drove on a freeway for 30 minutes and never left the city. Construction of new 20 to 30 floor apartment complexes is going on everywhere – hundreds of projects for the whole city, I’m guessing. In addition, we passed a remarkably beautiful gateway (massive carved jade-looking sculptures). I asked what that is, and Lulu said it is a new luxury resort (under construction) for tourists. It is at the foot of a mountain with what looks to be a large temple above. I hope we get a chance to go visit when it’s finished! Sorry, side-tracked myself! As I was saying, Weihai is a little city by Chinese standards, but it has about half million people in the city per se and 2.5 million in the prefecture of Weihai, and is fast growing. Second, the medical facility was very interesting. Deb and I had a set of blood and urine tests, EKG, X-ray, and Ultrasound to determined abdominal health, ENT, blood pressure, and probably a lot of other things. What was unusual (in my experience) is that they used ultrasound to look at liver, kidney and other internal organs. They were also using some equipment that I’ve never seen before, and for someone who has had as many opportunities to observe medical facilities as I have, that is saying something. There was a great deal of automation and so we stepped onto things that made determinations of data that were familiar, but the machines were not. For example, we had a standard – looking EKG, but it measured several types of data simultaneously. In addition, they had very different type of contacts than used in the US. These sort of clamped on (painless), were apparently very easily attached – it took less than 10 seconds to attach six or seven chest leads two arm leads and an ankle lead. Plus, and a great advantage to me – no shaving of chest hair! So, when the technician finished, what I thought was a standard EKG, she told Lulu that I had high blood pressure 140 over 88. That is about what I was getting in the US. We then went into the next examination room for the sonogram of everything inside. When I finished, Lula said that the nurse / technician said that I have kidney stones (what great news!), but not very serious yet. Then we went to the next examination room for the X-ray. It was pretty standard — automatic positioning of beam and such. After that we went to see the doctor, who rechecked our blood pressure manually with standard cuff. She got 145 over 88 for me and 138 over 90 for Deb. That is about what we have had in the U.S., and she told Lulu mine was pretty good (for an old guy like me, I gather!). Then we went into another examination room, where we got onto a thing that looked like the transporter on the Enterprise (in Star Trek), and it took our weight and height – and who knows what else. I weighed about 5 pounds more than I did when I left the U.S. . But then I realized it was a doctor’s scale (which we all know is about 10 to 15 pounds over actual weight ) and I was wearing clothes and shoes, which I would never do when weighing myself. So maybe I haven’t gained very much after all . So, as far as I can remember, that was all of it. We have to go to the visa office on Tuesday AM to get our residency permits – if all the tests turn out OK.
On the way home, Lulu decided we had to eat breakfast (10:45 AM), so we went to our favorite noodle shop – Mian Jia (House of Noodles) I had chaomian (fried noodles, which Americans call chow mien), and Deb had cold noodles with egg. Lulu had a soup. After we had breakfast, we went to set up our gas account (the gas we cook with). I put down the usual ￥100, and by then it was rest time!
After rest, I went to the campus optician to buy a pair of prescription reading glasses. It is amazing the commercial services right here on campus. Many grocery stores, canteens, cell phone stores, banks, restaurants, hair salons, and you name it. So, obviously, there is an optician as well. Anyway, I went there to see about getting some better reading glasses. It took some electronic translating work and hand signals, plus an SOS call to Yvonne, but he determined the prescription for me and then MADE the glasses in 30 minutes!
After I picked up my glasses, I went home, asked Deb if she wanted to go to have dinner and shop. She was ready pretty quickly, so at 6:00 we rode off to the department store and a great neighborhood restaurant. We had fried pork ribs and a interesting dish of shrimp pot stickers (jiao zi) baked with egg. See photos.
Then we went shopping. I’ve only used a purse for two weeks, and I really liked the one I have, but it is too small. I need more space and pockets! (I can’t believe I just said that after razing Deb about her giant purses all these years. So, I bought one about twice the size of the first one I had. It was Australian leather, etc.
While I was trying to find out where the office supply area was, Deb discovered an electric back massager on sale at about half price, so we picked that up. When you buy something like that, you have to take a little hand written form to a particular cashier for that area and pay for it. Then you take the receipt back and get the item. So we did that, and rode home.
We both thought about how cool it is to ride your bike out all around town after dark. It is so easy to get around, and fun too! All streets have bike lanes, and thoroughfares have really wide ones. It is well lighted, and thousands of people are out walking or riding or driving. At night street vendors are selling everything imaginable. In the four or five blocks home, we passed half dozen farm trucks loaded with fresh picked fruit – mainly apples – and there were many vendors with handmade clothing, jewelry and food, etc.
This evening, we are watching a movie, eating popcorn, and I’m writing these notes. Life is sweet!