Fear for your life!

I’m not one to worry too much about going to hospital. After all, of the 3 times I’ve broken my collar-bone, I’ve only been to A&E on the same day once. So when I became ill earlier this week, going to hospital was the last thing on my mind. However, as valuable as it seems I am (to my employer at least) I was “strongly” advised to visit the Dadong Peoples Hospital (大东区人民医院) on my street.

Having been rudely awakened by my indescribably happy Assistant teacher, Happy. Yes that’s right… Literally Happy by name, happy by nature. I was chaperoned to the nearest hospital in an effort to determine what was wrong with me. My symptoms included swollen lymph glands, heavy breathing, lethargy, and a general aching feeling. Now I know what was wrong with me, having had Glandular fever last year, I recognised this was simply a throat infection. Happy on the other hand was absolutely sure I was wrong!

“Alright Dr Happy… You’re the boss!” I thought sarcastically.

So we entered the hospital, a building I pass every day, but rarely notice as much more than the big green building on the right. You’d be forgiven for not recognizing this as a hospital. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself…

Told you.

Told you.

I’ve been to one other hospital in China for my medical exam. That was, I’m guessing, to make sure I didn’t give any of my nasty British germs to the children. During this exam I basically just walked from room to room for each test. You have blood taken and move on, get a chest x-ray and move on, pee in a cup and move on. This is fantastically quick, if lacking in any form of privacy, but for a medical exam where nothing is likely to be wrong you can take it on the chin.

I wasn’t quite expecting this exact same process for an actual ailment! But that is exactly what I got!

After entering the hospital the first thing you do is pay 4RMB to see a doctor.

They add an extra 1 to everything :(

They add an extra 1 to everything 😦

Of course after actually paying to see a doctor (not normal for us Brits. NHS ftw!), even if it is only 40p, you expect the VIP treatment. Instead, with 3 other patients in the room, the doctor concentrated on one minor symptom (pain in my lower back) and sent me immediately off for a urine test (no pictures of this I’m afraid).

9RMB and one pee in a cup later I’m back in the doctor’s room, trying to pick up on the few words of Mandarin I do understand. This leads to a barrage of trips to various test rooms, stopping off each time to pay the appropriate fee. After every one, returning to the doctor’s office to be told absolutely nothing.

In all honesty, the doctor may have figured it out early on. With my lack of language skills however, I was relying on Happy to translate. Happy knows best of course, and decided to continually tell me “It’s ok! It’s ok!”, “No you don’t need that test!”, “The doctor thinks so, but I think it’s ok!”

My delightful doctor

My delightful doctor

After having had enough of these numerous trips, Happy’s over happiness, and probably picking up a whole lot more germs just by being there; I locked Happy away in a room fool of radioactive waste and made a run for it!

Yes, I thought it was an x-ray room too...

Yes, I thought it was an x-ray room too…

Thankfully, I’m feeling much better as I sit here typing this on Sunday afternoon. This is in small part due to a fantastic Welsh victory in the Six Nations, but mainly due to the amazing job done by the staff at Dadong People’s Hospital. Thanks guys!

Ok, I lie! It’s all about Wales beating England!

Peace!

 

P.S. Happy later escaped from her makeshift prison cell, and is now at large in Shenyang’s Dadong district, with a newly acquired radioactive level of happiness. Residents are advised to stay in their homes and a DO NOT APPROACH warning has been issued! Those who do not take this into consideration do so at their own risk!

Beijing for New Year!

It’s clear I’m way behind on being up to date with this blog. So it’s time for a bit of back-tracking. After having been here for just a couple of months it was time to go check out the Chinese capital. So on New Years Eve, having just finished may last shift of 2012, myself and Dane (check out his blog here) went straight to the train station on our way to Beijing 🙂

This is where the quickest game of “Where’s Wally?”, of all time, must have occurred! I had arrived 20 minutes before Dane, and soon received a call from him

Dane: “Where are you bud?”

Joe (Standing): “I’m…”

Dane: “Ah I see you”

This was from about 50 metres, across a huge waiting room filled with what must have been at least 1,000 people. Being the only pale, white Brit among them seems to make things easier when being looked for. I’m screwed if we ever play hide and seek!

Soon after though, we were on our way, and eager to get there. If any of you have been on a train in China, you’ll know that it can be awful! Crowded trains, 3 people to an already small bench (if you’ve booked a seat), many others standing, and terribly slow. Luckily (or not) we’d both previously experienced this and booked the much speedier D train.

So, at 10.30 on January 31st we arrived in Beijing and jumped on the underground heading for our hostel. Being much older than Shenyang’s Metro, it had more of a London Underground feel to it, ah the smell!

We made it to the Happy Dragon Hostel, ditched our bags, and headed out at 11.30pm in search of a bar. New Year isn’t big in China so we weren’t expecting much, but what would New Year be without a drink in your hand? Desperate for a taxi we befriended some Russians who knew where to go. In all honesty we kind of hijacked their taxi as there wasn’t enough space for them and us, sorry guys! But Dane and I made it, and with plenty of time to spar… Oh, no wait! It’s 12.08! Damn!

So we arrived in 2013 in a taxi! I’ve heard it said that you’ll end the year the way you started it… I started 2013, driving to a bar! Could do a lot worse!

We drank in a Reggae bar, talked with some people, and watched some impromptu salsa before heading back to the hostel. Which it turns out is FREEZING! Now I’ve slept on many tents on various camping trips throughout the year, I’ve been lost in freezing fog on the top of Scaffell Pike, I’ve even swum in an iceberg filled lake in Iceland… But I have never been this cold for this long when I’m tucked up in bed! For those of you travelling to Beijing, think twice about the Happy Dragon if you’re there in winter. After waking up (for the 4th and final time), we made our way out to enjoy the wonders of Beijing.

So, here they are:

There are very few tree's in Shenyang, so I took a picture of some bark

There are very few tree’s in Shenyang, so I brought took a picture of some bark

Jingshan Park 景山公园

Jingshan Park 景山公园

Wenjin Street 文津街

Wenjin Street 文津街

Not a place for the camera shy

Not a place for the camera shy

Chairman Mao and the entrance to the Forbidden Palace

Chairman Mao and the entrance to the Forbidden Palace

Forbidden Palace guard

Forbidden Palace guard

Olympic Park 奥林匹克公园

Olympic Park 奥林匹克公园

A bicycle

A bicycle

A big cauldron in the Forbidden City

A big cauldron in the Forbidden City

Gardens in the Forbidden Palace

Gardens in the Forbidden Palace

Gardens in the Forbidden Palace

Gardens in the Forbidden Palace

Only 4 years late

Only 4 years late

The Birds Nest 鸟巢/Beijing National Stadium 北京国家体育场

The Birds Nest 鸟巢/Beijing National Stadium 北京国家体育场

Beijing was fantastic and I can’t recommend it enough!

So that brings me one step closer to catching you all up. More to come soon!

再见!

Slow Sunday

As I sit in my flat with a horrendous hangover, I’m trying to bring myself to write something interesting and exciting for everyone in the west to wake up to. However, after having written and rewritten that first sentence (and this one) 5 times now, it seems my typing skills are directly related to my sobriety! Who could have guessed!?

So instead I’ve decided to give you all a photosummary of China so far. No, not an entire history, just my time here of course. So what have I been up to?

Well…

I arrived.

 

First street I walked through

First street I walked through

 

 

 

Hey, Optimus!

Hey, Optimus!

 

Watched football (Soccer).

Go 辽小虎!

Go 辽小虎!

 

Visited Beijing.

Only 4 and a half years late!

Only 4 and a half years late!

 

Visited Dalian.

Copyright? What's that?

Copyright? What’s that?

 

Visited Shanghai.

Blinding!

Blinding!

 

Climbed a mountain.

P1060448

“STRIKE A POSE!”

 

IMG_1699

The Restaurant-Bacon Pie. No bacon, no pie!

 

 

 

Considering a spray-on tan...

Considering a spray-on tan…

 

 

 

Really need that tan!

Really need that tan!

 

Wore a hat.

Yer Baby!

Yer Baby!

 

Clearly there’s a lot more to be said. What was it like in Shanghai?  Who won the football (soccer) match? Am I still wearing the hat? And how many Transformers are hiding in China? All this will be answered shortly!

But for now 再见!

Enjoy a relaxing Sunday!