Thursday, March 23, 2017

And We Are Off And Running

Most of my initial time here has been an unsteady blur of  bizarre sleeping patterns and adjusting body clock schedules. I am wide awake at 3 am for a couple hours and then as if punching a clock I fall asleep for a couple of hours. "Morning Ralph, Night Sam" situation.

I wake up around 10 and then back to sleep at 2 pm for a short 7 hour nap. Then I wake up hungry to eat boiled dumplings that I have in my freezer because it is easy. Then it is off to walk around the streets stretching my legs and realizing I have no idea what any street or shop sign says. I come back home for a nap, and repeat.

Health Document and Working Permit

Please note that everything in the health document says "normal". That's a first

The school knew exactly what to expect and gave me the “take the next few days to get some rest”. As it turns out I had a week to “get rest” and "see the sights of Xi'an", and so that is what I did. Through it all I managed to watch 35 episodes or 3 and a half season of Black Sails that I had stored and ready to go on my laptop. This is a series I would recommend to binge watch that for me ranks right up there with Homeland, Vikings, Mr. Robot, The Americans, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. Time Well Wasted indeed.  

The school is clean, modern and the staff friendly and helpful. What more can you as for really. There is an electronic white board that publishes everything written on it online. Seriously, it pushes the whiteboard content to a website where students can review it.  I can not wait to get my hands on that bad boy. The more I bang around here the more I realize how advanced technically China is and I have not even started on WeChat, the center of the mobile app universe for all Chinese, well that and Taobao. An app where you can buy anything and it is delivered to you in 2 days or less, and I mean anything.

On the list of to do’s a cell phone and home internet. My mobile plan is 800 minutes and 2 gigs of data is $15 a month with China Unicom. My home internet is 100mb download speed with unlimited usage $34 a month with China Telecom. I suppose with 1.3 billion people services can be delivered at a reasonable rate. Canadian Telcos, you suck!!
Now the fun stuff begins. All foreign teachers are required to obtain a government physical and I could not wait to see how that was going to go. Ms. Ting is the school owner and she took me on this little adventure.  On the way to the car she opened the back door for me. I am not sure if she was uncomfortable with me in the front or if it was a “driver/client” thing but who am I to say anything. I just hung on as she was a terrible driver, which I am seeing are all drivers in China. 

I could not sleep so off to the Bell Tower I went.
Cattle, that is all I could think of as I went from room to room in a somewhat organized manner with about 20 others. First up was the taking of three vials of blood. I have given enough blood in Canada and there is that moment of “yup that was the needle” but here nothing, the needle was tiny and painless although I did take the cotton off to quickly afterwards and was dripping blood down my arm to the horror of many of my new countrymen and woman. Blood check.
Next up time to pee in a little vial. No big deal but there was no cap for the vial and I just put it in with a cluster of others on a tray. No possibility of contamination there. Pee check

Its EKG time. Half a dozen suction cups across the chest, clasps on the ankles and wrists and don’t move. Check although with odd red marks on my body

Grease up its ultrasound time. Stomach, heart, kidneys, liver and whatever other organs were peered at. Here is a towel now clean up and go. Check

 Xray. Opps your wearing a necklace. Another quick Xray. Dumb foreigner your facing the wrong way. Ok now don't move (or at least that is what I shrilly heard) and off you go.
Put your arm in this device and push the green button. Others were doing it so when in Lemmingville do as the other lemmings. Blood pressure done.

What are these numbers, those, what about those. Without thinking I said it in English and they did not even blink. I think I could have said planets of the solar system for all the technician cared. Eyes, yes you have them

The factory of abuse was not just a foreign teachers cattle call. It is for any Chinese national leaving the country for work or travel and anyone who was trying to get a government job. They had this process down and all this done for $75. What would that have cost in the States or how long would we have had to wait in Canada. Here we simply walked in, were processed and out in about an hour. All the results would be ready in 3 days.

Medical clearance gives me a resident card (my visa is for 3 months) and a resident card gives me a bank account. Just like that I am working and living in China. 

Just me and my monkees
As I have mentioned in the past, China like Mexico was never on my radar. What I have learned is that my bizarre Pisces ways of looking at the world creates great opportunities for me.  I am already looking ahead to the Darjeeling area of Northern India or Nepal as my next stop.

There is no way I could just focus only on China now. I am already here!

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