My Day in China


Saturday, 22nd April 2006

I awake before the lark, at around 4am; the sky is almost dark and the air laden with pollution. I sojourn to my balcony, and look out for the local bats - I do hope they eat mosquitoes? Living on the 26th floor, I am not usually troubled by the blighters, but I suspect there is a bucket of water left outside in a neighbours apartment, like - forever! Damn things!

What to do? - I decide to have crackers with butter, and Anchor cheese slices for breakfast + the mandatory coffees and cigarettes. The crackers are somewhere in the middle of a mix between Crawford's best Creams, and Tuc - works for me at 4.15am - I even add some Chinese 'sweet' pickled onions for a hint of; 'J'uene est sais quoi?'

For some inexplicable reason, I am reminded of Bob Newheart's excellent comedy sketch - Sir Walter Raleigh, and his hypothetical - 'Phonecall from America'. This seems to set the tone for my day ...

I go to the computer, which is my home and occupies most of my life. I submit a couple of quotations for furniture products, sort my personal mail, and then get back to revamping the furniture part of my website. Perhaps some of you will already know, the version on the web currently, is basically a very quick 'Omelette. The new version is 'Cordon Blu', but is taking forever to achieve the right mix of professionalism and humanity. I have also had to alter or add, many thousands of graphics files, and add 1,800 or so pages - not that you would actually know this; unless you know hehe

I get working for real by 4.45, the second coffee and cigarettes are really kicking in now, and I do very good works. I actually have the whole of 'Office' re-done by midday, and am happy as a pig in 's ... omething'

I have a couple of quotations requests come in - more oem chairs. I do replies and wonder what to do later. I need some shopping, withdraw and pay into the Bank; so I head out to the streets ..

The version of the Bank of China I use, is next door to my girl who gets me the Godzilla movies, Japanese version of course. She has no new ones, so I withdraw. I bump into a Chinese friend at the local corner shop, and we stay for a quick beer, Dim Sum and chat ..

Returning a 'little' later. My left arm is starting to itch quite badly, and I am becoming conscious of 'Toying' with my 'bandages' a lot.


- Ah - Last Sunday (ie 8 days ago-ish), and to cut a small story short; I ended-up landing with my full body-weight, on the pointed ends, of a prime selection of broken bottles and jars, using my left forearm to break my fall. There was a lot of blood, so I improvised, and kept applying toilet tissue until the bleeding stopped dripping on the floor. Sorted :-)

Finally my 'Toying' pays dividends, and I am presented with several 'bandages', that are no longer attached to me. One has a piece of glass in it, which I was pretty sure was in there somewhere. Unfortunately, there is also a lot 'Green-stuff', which does not look good and smells worse. I decide to be proactive, and head for the local hospital 400 yards away. The main Area hospital is nearer, but they do not speak English, and they also ask you for payment 'before' the consultation - Durrr!

At least there are only 2 people in the queue at the local hospital, and they give a consultation first, before the payment = 10. Then the treatment. I am very impressed, this being my first time. I get exactly what I wanted, sometimes you do not need to speak a language to get results ... we are just people after all

My wounds are examined by 2 Doctors, and several very pretty nurses. I have several 'washes', and then I get some Iodine - brilliant! This is exactly what I wanted, and it is even the red one, which I think is approved nowadays. I do actually prefer the original 'Iodine' Blue one, but this one is cool also. They also fill the gaps with some sort of false skin, before I am sprayed, dabbed and have a proper bandage is applied, and I am sent for 'next process'

I had been a little concerned about this, as part of my medicines 'pack', included 3 large bottles of fluid 'Treatment'. I was expecting a very BIG needle. But no, they do it as a very slow drip instead; and doesn't this make some real sense? Slowly, slowly; and mix with the blood via a vein in a natural way, a drip at a time; rather than a big hit all in one go? I do think so


Aside: You may also be interested to know, that whilst most of us were being 'dripped', a few were having 'Steam inhalation's treatment; a modern version of the bowl of hot medicinal compound, and a towel over your head

Why am I always a Star? I do not know? There was a 'small person' there, having her first drip, I guess at 4. I made stupid actions, and got her laughing ... she was so busy laughing at me, she failed to notice the capillary type needle the nurse was putting into her back-hand. The Nurse gave me a wink, and that was good payment for our ruse. Understanding = simple

Later I held 'English Class' for other smaller and bigger things, and it was a shame to leave; but my time was due, and I was late returning to pay the Landlord his rent, but only by 10 mins, so I guess that is ok? Broke my heart - 300 fully inclusive of all bills, (Only excepting my internet ADSL) - for 2 months!

It is now 5.42pm, and I have had enough for one day. Although my treatment was almost perfect - they attached my hospital bandage with that really cheap and useless paper stuff that can only stick to itself or salesmen. I am physically holding it in place. Answer - find some version of the cotton elastoplast - Man-Sticky! I get this immediately from the first pharmacy I try, and it is good stuff; but first I need provisions. I decide to eat out and local. In the lift I get chatting to Sara, who is married with kids, and wants to practice her English. In the foyer we arrange to have dinner the following week-end

I grab a quick 'Donkey Kebab' (3 for a quid), from the local Xi'an take-away, and then see my man in the local Chinese veg market. I like him, because he has proved he will not sell me 'bad produce', and that is very good for me. We have good understanding. I buy a bag of red potatoes, a cabbage you do not have in the West - which is basically middle between a hard white, & green leaves; I call it 'Soft green'. I add a few choice capsicums, some assorted fungi, and a fist of wet ginger - the stuff that turns to pulp in your fingers - Ah, again not available in UK I think

This market also has 8 meat counters, ie extra to the Fish and Chicken seller. I am chatted by the 'very pretty girl', who is gorgeous, but her meat is not. I see my love at the Top meat sellers stall, and buy a choice Pork 3Lb loin steak with rind for ... 20p. My total shopping, I had change from 30p, plus some good laughs, and pls remember ...

I do actually pay a very little more than the natives, but as long as it is only a little more - then this is my pleasure. At least I get very good quality & daily fresh farm produce - other options available

As I leave the market, I see the girl in the 'Rice stall'. I notice she is walking differently, and I have not seen her for some months. She has just had her first baby, so we do 'goo-goo, gaa-gaa' etc; and I share good wishes with her

At puberty, Cantonese women's hips do not alter. This happens later when they give birth, and often results in a strange way of walking - you will have to see it for yourselves, as my words cannot describe this. She is one of my friends - but the night is very young, and I have heavy bags, so I move-on

As I leave, another friend, 'Hong', espies me, and offers me a seat at one of the dozen or so, the local street-bars. Ok

All the staff come out to greet me, and to see what I have bought - looking though my bags of veggies and meat. I end up with all my purchases spread out on the table, whilst they all inspect 'Quality'. Hahaha, I am in stitches! In the West, this would be horrific - but here, the Chinese are genuinely curious. They ask me the price and offer cheaper solutions - it is good to be with friends I think

I enjoy some teas and watch the smog go down for the night. I really enjoy relaxing, probably for the first time since Jon joined me here - chill time, and a perfect moments. I am have immersed myself in a cocoon of atmosphere; smells of barbeque chicken, sulphur and that exquisite perfume that is a woman. I am very happy, alone and secure. Please drop by here, and learn a second opinion from my good friend Jon, from Stafford:

but then Life is always full of changes ..

I see a pretty girl walk past, almost - we say hi, (nei hou' in general Cantonese), and she asks if she can join me. I will settle for thinking, 'Help Yourself'; as she is very beautiful and early 20's; she tells me her name is Angel, and I really cannot dis-agree

She is a lovely girl, a student in GZ, and basically we chat for hours, oblivious to the world etc. Please do not misunderstand me, nor my intentions; she is a 'nice' girl, and this is only ever for talking and friendship - it is a Chinese way. Sometimes a Chinese girl may be different; but with Angel, I put on by foreign ambassador, and Father-figure thinking, which is appropriate. At 9.30, I hear Cantonese woman shouting from 100 yards down the street - it is Angel's Auntie, out looking for her. I embarrass Aunt, by leaving my seat and shaking her hand - she is in 50-fits! hehe, and I am a 'noughty boy'. Angel says she has to leave in a minute, as her Aunt is serving dinner ...

So we continue to chat, and I occasionally remind her about her dinner - but this is Chinese ruse, and we both know it. By 10.30, I am thinking this girl can talk for China, and even the staff in the restaurant have stopped giving me 'looks'. Apparently, Angel's Cinderella time is 11pm, because she leaves at ten-to, impressing upon me that she has 'Absolutely nothing' to do tomorrow, and that we should do it together! Ok, I think I forgot where I left my banana-boat also. I already love her, but as a daughter only; so I hope she can play for a week, and I will treat her for dinner next week-end. Great!

Ah! Plus I am also meeting Sara and her hubby for dinner as well - I better watch the plans here

Gezzz! That was intense! 4/5 hours have flown by in a matter of minutes, + I have great 'Cred' with the restaurant staff, including the waitress I really like a lot. Time for a beer and maybe some food - I order local beer, 3 for a 0.70p, Beef in black bean sauce on a sizzler plate; chillied stir-fry cucumbers with capsicums; and rice. Total = 1

I can now see the moon, as it rises above my high-rise, and I am replete. I look to the nearby fig trees, touching the nearest bark from my seat; and look forward to sampling their produce a little later in this life, for life is what I have here in buckets

I bid farewell, and wend my way home after a truly great day - I do wish life were so simple sometimes. I get back to my building, a very short walk, and have a laugh with the security guard -> head for home and a good sleep

In the lift I see Amanda, she is 30's Chinese woman, with young boy, and she lives just above me. I have not seen her for months as she has been in UK with her Boyfriend - we chat and do exchange numbers, emails etc. I go home a very happy boy. I put on a film. It is TV, and it is in English, I fall instantly asleep ...

Ring ring, ring ring etc. Bleep bleep. 11.50 pm, and Amanda wants to join me for 'drinks'! I really don't think so, all I want to do is sleep; it has been a long day lol. I agree to have dinner with her next week-end instead ...

So, in one evening, I end-up with 3 different dinner invites, from 3 different girls; all for 'next weekend'. I better pay e'special attention to the logistics on this one; especially as the only person I actually want to have dinner with is Yupa. Asi es la Vida!

Here is China

I hope I put a smile on your faces; and until we are talking next time; eat well my friends, and I hope all your dogs are very fat