Diary Entry : 5th November

Last night it snowed for the first time, woke in the morning at quarter to eight.

About 3 inches or so of snow fell overnight.  Stepping out of my apartment at 8 o’ clock, the cold felt penetratingly bitter, even though I was wearing my big black jacket.
Again I woke too late for a cup of tea, just a small quassont in hand on the way to my first class at 8.
To my surprise, the road around the campus was still covered with snow.  There were some cars and bicycles wading their way through the white stuff.

In China there is always people, walking, cycling or driving – going about their daily business.  The day starts early, I start at 8am.  However a lot of the workers, especially the builders on campus, start when it gets light, often to my utter annoyance, when I’m woken up at 4.30 by one of them hitting something with a very large hammer.

The campus (and China to an extent) seems to be in a phase of perpetual construction.  The tools they use are considered primitive by Western standards.  For example, they are putting in a drainage system at the campus.  There are many large, long holes that are dug to lay the pipes into.  In China there are up to 50 people all with a pickaxes digging away.  Of course, there are 1.6 billion people here so labour isn’t a problem – and it is so cheap.

Seeing all of the manual labour reminds me of something I saw In an Industrial revolution museum once.

Hospital Visit

— David @ 12:27 pm

I got taken to the hospital this morning, to confirm my medical information to the Chinese authorities. This is so that I can get my Experts’ Certificate and Green book.

The medical centre was a good half an hour drive through the city. When I arrived we went into a rather plush looking building, where a doctor looked at my forms and sent us back down to another office, where another form with my photo attatched was stamped. Then my photo was taken again, and we went to another room where I paid 100kwai for the checks to my documentation. I later found out that I would have to have a blood-test – even though I had the official documentation they needed – they wanted to check for themselves, China is like that.
So, I gave them my blood after the futile effort of trying to tell them that my blood group was A+ – once they had my blood and tested it they stamped a big A+ on my form.

I then had to have a another chest X-ray, because as you’ve probably guessed, they don’t trust Western doctors.

The x-ray room looked like something out of a Soviet era nuclear power station.

When I first walked into the room, my head brushed the top of the doorframe, I think the normal size for a doorway here is about6?2? – infact the ones in my apartment are lower, so I have placed yellow post-it notes above the doorways to try and stop me hitting my head.

Anyway, the radiographer was wearing a completly white uniform, and one of those white hats that only communists wear. He spoke good english, told me what to do, walked into another room, and said very loudly over a microphone ‘ DON NOT BREATHE’ so I didn’t, and that was it. Strangely, the waiting area was actually in the same room that the x-ray machine, of course I did not have to wait, being the white man, I went straight to the front.

Mind you I have to say that apart from all of the paperwork, the process took under one hour to complete and I got my results there and then. Sometimes the system isn’t that bad – although I know that I was fast-tracked because of being a foreigne