I’m in The Cloud Today

Quite literally, I’m in a cloud. The humidity has been super high since morning and now, approaching 1:30, (Ed.note: Hey, aren’t you supposed to be WORKING?!) we are in to a full-blown monsoon. It’s the rainy season in Jiaxing, an understatement if there ever was one.

It has been a busy yet relaxing week. We’ve finished off our exams and had planned for 2 days of activities and study time for the remaining Chinese tests. Then a few things happened, both highly unusual.

First, Violet, the grade 10 class monitor, a lovely young lady with developing leadership skills, came to ask if it was okay if they invited their Chinese teachers in to give them additional lessons during the two days we had planned for fun and self-study. Hmmm. Let me think—Yes, of course! Go for it!

In one of the periods free, our teachers took the kids to the gym for a game of Dodge Ball. The kids had never played it before, so the rules were explained and the game began. Within minutes, 2 of the girls collided, shoulder to shoulder. One girl was hurt, quite badly, it seemed. Because the Chinese staff were otherwise engaged with meetings, I was enlisted, along with Violet, to accompany the girl to the hospital.

For some reason, the girl’s father, who was in Shanghai visiting his wife in the hospital (!), insisted that we take Shuyang to one particular hospital, located all the way in the south, Nanhu District. In the cab there, we passed some 4 or 5 hospitals but no stopping for us. When we arrived, it was pretty obvious that this was where many workers, hurt in industrial accidents, go. I guess all emergency rooms are the same but I saw way too many bleeding digits, wrapped hands and arms for my liking. The cleanliness factor was low, even by Chinese standards. Open 5-gallon pails, near full of bloody bandages, stood in the reception room. The furniture and equipment was quite grimy, as grimy looks in China—all corners of everything take on a nasty grey tinge.

Privacy was at a premium, meaning there wasn’t any. The reception room (which seemed to have been a regular ward at one point) still had a couple of beds but its purpose was now to have doctors first eye-ball the “condition” then send the patient to a particular station somewhere else in the hospital, then have a look at their X-rays, CT or MRI scans on a yellowing, cracked and dirty back-lit screen, then declare their recommendations. When we returned with the X-ray, there were at least 8 patients and their supporters looking on.

Shuyang’s clavicle was obviously broken, quite badly. (Ed. note: I was disappointed Terry didn’t get a photo of the x-ray – would have been cool to include it! Apparently the break was very distinct.) An operation was declared necessary. Just then—thankfully—her aunt, uncle and possibly their parent, arrived so Violet and I were free to leave. Not before the aunt insisted on giving me Y100, some Y30 more than I had actually paid out for different things. I argued but Violet carefully told me I should take it, then explained outside that this is how it is done in China, although she doesn’t know why. Just accept it.

The second unusual thing happened today, highly unusual that is, in BC but not so much in China: the kids thoroughly cleaned their classrooms. This means that all the desks came out and were emptied and washed inside and out, the floors were swept and mopped, and everything was put back together. This could NEVER happen at home—CUPE would go wild. It was quite a joy to see as the rooms really get into a sad state because the kids are responsible for cleaning them all the time! The caretaker, such as she is, mops the latrines, the foyers and teacher offices (all with the same gray mop). They never cross into the classrooms, all part of social training for the children. It would be a tad better if the school provided some cleaning products, buckets and rags but hey, you can’t have everything. Try this at home?   Life is too short, event though it probably is a great idea.

Couple of driving things the other day.

  1. Saw a public transit bus stopped at a light – with a scooter firmly trapped under its front bumper. Surprisingly, there did not appear to be any injuries although there were about 6 people looking on and about 6 more trying to free the scooter from under the bus. I have no idea how it got there without killing the driver.
  2. Sitting on the bus stopped at a light. The bus driver had left a full car length between the bus and the car in front. When what to my wondering eyes did appear to the left of the bus but a car which then proceeded, as you would (Ed. note: To quote the Irish), to make a right hand turn between the bus and the car in front and trundle off to the north.

We were out with Tim at the local Afghani restaurant. It is usually quite good – tonight it was just mediocre. Here are a few photos of our experience.

You can eat the leg of lamb with one eye open...

You can eat the leg of lamb with one eye open and one eye semi-closed…



...with both eyes closed...

…with both eyes closed…

...or down to the bone.

…or gnaw it down to the bone.

Despite Tim's assessment, it really tastes quite good.

Despite Tim’s assessment, it really tastes quite good.

You can also have spicy Rice Krispie “squares”, which, according to Tim, isn’t hardtack.

So, one more day to go, then we are off to Taiwan!

The Shoe Blog

This young woman was happy to have “her” photo taken – unfortunately I didn’t have my glasses on so it isn’t as clear as I would have hoped. Still, they are quite the shoes.

I think these might be birds eye maple soles.

I think these might be birdseye maple soles. Those are little “diamonds” on her toenails…


1 thought on “I’m in The Cloud Today

  1. Val Goodridge

    I hear that the Japanese fans are cleaning the stands as they leave the games at the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. I wish that was part of the culture in North America. I always had my students clean and wash their desks before Christmas Break and in June. I guess our MB unions aren’t as militant as in BC.
    Amazing shoes as well as toenail art!


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