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Journals!
Stories and Pictures from China
 
These are emails I sent to friends and family during my internship in Shuguang Hospital in Shanghai.  They were fun to write, and hopefully they are fun to read.  I will try to include relevant pictures with each.  Click on the picture to see more images, complete with explanations.
--Seth

 
 
September 13th, 2002
 
"Hello from China!"
















Hello all!

I just spent my first night in shanghai!

The room is musty, but comfortable.  I changed over some money and had delicious spicy bullfrog and squid for breakfast.

I am thankful for my chinese classes at western so many years ago- I can communicate fairly well.  It is easy to ask questions, but often hard to understand the answers!

The keyboards here are funny shaped, so it is hard to type well.  The humidity is as thick as soup, and mopeds everywhere are zipping about the street.  I will keep you all updated- I begin classes at the Shangai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine this monday!

No jet lag for me!!

love to all,  Seth

 

September 14th, 2002

"Some Observations"


Ok- some observations-----

1- Amazing smells everywhere, from sandalwood incense to poop.

2- the city is both delapitaded and ultra-modern, shiny and polished to sleazy, a lot like the city in "blade runner".  If you havent seen this movie, go check it out.

3- went to the "bund".  In the department store I saw a VCD (like a dvd) player the size of a walkman- you can watch movies on it!  The technology in cel phones and video/audio is ridiculously ahead of us.  However, a very small percentage of the population can actually afford to drop $500 dollars on anything.

4- the traffic patterns are white-knuckled, nail-bitingly TERRIFYING.  The cab I was in yesterday avoided its demise every 30 seconds by a very narrow margin.  However, there is some weird kind of zen to the whole ebb and flow, and noone seems to hit each other. not that ive seen , anyway.  Leona was going to put her seatbelt on, and the taxi driver took great offence- he unbuckled her and said "no,no! won't need!"  It seemed to him that seatbelts were necessary only with dangerous drivers.

4-  oh yeah, the bund!  It was a blend of london and las vegas! lots of neon and super-hip modern buildings, but very classy.  young men and women pointed and laughed at the tattoos on my calves. Have begun wearing pants.  (just joking)

5- Little kids have slits in the back of their pants so their little bottoms stick out!!! so cute!!!!

6- saw statues that represented famous heroes of chinese communism.  They were so robust and stoic- they looked like gay construction-worker super-men.

7- ooh, yummy steamy hot hot hot pork humbows for breakfast!  sitting in my belly like a lead lump..........

8- NO DiARRHEA YET!
I had my first poop in china yesterday in a REAL TOILET! and it was grreaaat!

9- MOist and rainy today.  bikers are wearing little rain tents.  Oh! and the bikes here are the most amazing vintage retro bikes! they would be worth a fortune in seattle! just polish up the chrome, remove a little rust.... I wonder if I could import...

10- My address is :

Shanghai university of TCM
International College
International Student's Hostel
530 Ling Ling Road 
 
Shanghai, China 200032

11- mail may never ever make it here.

12-I saw cute bugs in little cages!

13- I'm hungry and I am going to go now.

 


September 16, 2002
 
"Strange Food"
 

Doesn't the food taste a little...... strange to you?

Even as I eat my way through China, 
It eats its way into me.

-The bugs here find me absolutely delicious.  I didn't shower of last nights bug repellent off this morning, and then reapplied and that seems to work.

-I nearly fell to my knees in the chinese sculpture section of the cultural museum.  The buddhist art was decimatingly amazing.  There was a wooden statue of a boddhisattva that had marble eyes- I spent about 5 minutes (read: 5 years) staring into its eyes.  It was as if the statue's gaze pierced right through and into me;  I felt as if I was standing naked in the middle of the museum.  I can't help but wonder if thousands of devotees praying for hundreds of years in front of it, pouring forth benevolence and focusing on embodying the enlightened spirit of the boddhisattva, did not actually bring life to the statue. After about half of the exhibit, I felt like I had to go. Like being full at dinner, I could not digest one more thing put in front of me. YOWZA.

I love museums.

-The xiaojie (young lady) at the restaurant Peter and Shanny and I ate at last night thought everything I did or spoke were the most amusing things ever. She repeatedly brought over 1 or 2 waitresses to listen whenever I spoke.  I felt like the prized freak at a sideshow: adored, but definitely a spectacle.

-Drank at the highest bar in China yesterday.  It was at the HYatt Regency;  the bar was on the the 87th floor. We went dressed like complete hobos and felt SEVERELY underdressed.  The dress code required our extremely tall friend James to wear pants.  Rather than shorts.  We learned this at the elevator transfer on the 85th floor.  By the time we arrived 30 seconds later on the 87th, the hostess was waiting with a pair of pants exactly his size, wrapped neatly in paper.  Now that is service.  The drinks were american prices, but still sooo affordable!  We could see the whole city,though the clouds occasionally wrapped the whole floor in mist.  A Chinese gentleman came and cut paper in the shape of chinese astrological signs for us. It was amazing.  downstairs 2 blocks away, vendors stood in the rain(which we saw none of at cloud level) to sell little cloth roses.

-The day before last, 8 of us were separated from our fluent guides in the market.  We had fantastic tea outside the yuyuan gardens in the most amazing tea house. The ceremony of serving was great;  the floral teas were tied such that, upon steeping, they opened into a blossom from a urchin-like ball of green tea in your glass. Chinese fireworks in a cup. The teahouse was in the middle of a zigzag bridge, designed as such because evil spirits cannot navigate around corners.

- The gardens were spectacular.  Acres? of perfectly designed feng shui and 400 year-old trees.  The ambience frequntly demanded that you simply sit and relax repeatedly throughout the garden walk. I just don't know what else to say.

- Got lost outside the city.  A gentleman played several traditional chinese instruments for us, including a two string violin called an erhu.  For an instrument which supposedly is tuned to play only five notes, he played The Godfather theme song flawlessly.

September 16, 2002
 
"Strange Food Part 2"
 

Sorry, had to send the email in case I lost it. the computer keeps blinking.

-AFTER the music, we all ate at a restaurant where westerners rarely venture.  The first sever ran away, throwing his armsup and insisting someone else take our order, without even coming to the table.  The second became quickly frustrated with our pronounciation and brought the junior waitress to deal with us.  Got several yummy dishes and one dish which was creepy.  The waitress told me in chinese that it was "the BEST chicken dish."  This dish consisted of half a lightly boiled chicken, served slightly cold with all the innards gleaming crimson beneath the pale flesh. EEEEEWWWWW! peter tasted a piece, and fortunately does not have any dysentery from it.

-Began classes today.  The hospital was grrrreeeeat!
Shannon got to lie on a traction table with a recessed basin filled with steaming herbs--placed directly under the lumbar spine......Chuan xiong, lu lu tong, hong hua, sang zhi, sang xing cao, bo he,  wu ling zhi for those who would like to know. He then strapped her in and put her in traction with a cool machine.

- I was priveleged to participate in a study using equiptment from NY's Columbia University.  By measuring my legs and hips and full height, checking my balance standing still, and making me perform 3 squats with my arms out, my muscle mass and strength was determined.  I wore paper silver-bottomed slippers. very buck rogers.  The Doctor told me to "do your best", so I squatted nice and low and slow.  What he meant was, "go as fast as possible".  Thus, the results concluded that 31% of my leg mass was fat, and that I was very weak.  Me being the only caucasian in a study of hundreds, this may skew results for my ethnic group.

-Yesterday, a crack of thunder comparable to a train being dropped from the empire state building preceded the most amazing downpour I have been in in years.  water ran down overpass stairways in waterfalls. My shoes are still soaked.

-UUUUmmmmmmmm......that is all for now.


luv to all-------->Seth


















More journals will be added on a regular basis. 
 
-------Seth