We are glad to hear that people are starting to read the French series – we know you will enjoy them.
It has been quite a few days here in Merry Olde Jiaxing. Geoff had his final day of teaching on Tuesday. It has just been too tiring to go into Shanghai three days a week for rehab and also teach, albeit minimally, on the other two days. He is just too old for this so, once again, he is retired. He is pleased with the progress being made with the workouts, though. Between the treadmill, the bicycle, the stationary core work, he is up to losing the equivalent of 600 calories each time. It is hard work though so I hope the benefit to his heart is also happening.
Last night (Tuesday) he was in to see the neurologist. Here’s the problem with using the internet to diagnose medical issues. He has hand tremors which have gradually worsened over the last couple of years (Ed. note: No problem holding a glass of wine, though) and he has restless leg syndrome. Combine those two and the Internet diagnosis comes in at Parkinson Disease. After a series of tests (Ed. note: follow the pen, add these numbers, walk heel to toe – geez, sounds like ones to see if you are sober), the neurologist says no Parkinsons – just aging. That was a relief to both of us.
Chinese buses often have a couple of seats near the front which look to the back. This woman could not stop looking at Geoff – neither could she stop talking to her husband – despite the fact that he slept for almost the entire 40 minute ride.
Some more signs around the complex which brought you the indecipherable “Dreams China – Annals Deposit Lofty” come these three. My Mom used to say “Who has more fun than crazy people?” We’re thinking maybe Chinese to English sign translators?
For those who have seen “The Bottle Opener” (on the right for those who haven’t), otherwise known as the Shanghai World Financial Centre and visited its 100th Floor Observation Deck, well there’s a new tallest in town. The Shanghai Tower will be 128 stories and top out at 2073 feet or 632 metres. Anyone for a race up the stairs? We hope that it will be finished and visitable before we leave.
Last night Geoff was in downtown Shanghai and had about 35 minutes to get to the doctor’s office which was 6.5 miles away and in heavy, heavy rush hour traffic. He hailed a taxi and even though all of its signs said it was available, the driver said “No” (Ed. note: Then turn off the stupid lights!) Anyway, the guy on the right below was right behind the taxi, pointed at him and then the back of his scooter. Geoff showed him the address, the guy said 50RMB and away they went. The view on the left was pretty much the view they had as they wove in and out of the traffic. And given that it was January it really wasn’t even that cold. They got there in 30 minutes.
After the Dr.’s appointment it was off to stay at Shelley, Rob, Matthew (7) and Zander’s (5) for the night. Now, the boys were quite excited to see Geoff and share many of their toys with him, but his highlight was listening to the adjective Shelley used – FREQUENTLY! – to describe their new pet – Bolt.
Here’s the story of Bolt. Matthew’s entire class was invited to a birthday party on Sunday. They had a really good time and not only did they have food and games, there were prizes. When Rob and Shelley showed up to get Matthew, he said he had won a prize, ran away and – came back with Bolt and the cage. Apparently the parents of the first two kids who “won” Bolt were at the party and provided a couple of sketchy reasons why they couldn’t take him. Rob and Shelley have learned their lesson – always stay at the party! As Shelley said, several times over the course of the evening “Who gives f+%^ing animals away as prizes to 7 year olds?” Aaahhh …the Chinese? (Ed. note: I am still laughing!)
Okay – why is Geoff not the man he once was? Well he has permanently changed his look, thanks to A Tao.
In his own words:
For a few years I have thought about getting a tattoo and after my heart attack I decided that this would be the perfect time. I asked a young teacher in Shanghai where to get one done and he said that Shanghai Tattoo was very good and very professional. Off I went. I talked it over with Lili the owner and told her I wanted it to say “Made in China”. (Ed. note: I have looked over the blogs we wrote around the time of the heart attack and can’t find the story which explains why. Feel free to skip over this if we did and I missed it.)
Short Version: While I was on the operating table Terry was asked which stent she wanted them to use – the Chinese one or the Western one, which cost about 8 times as much. She told them the Western one and then went away to the waiting room. She had barely sat down when the guy came running in to the room and said “Sorry, but we don’t have that size in stock. We will have to use the Made in China one.” So…
A took about 10 minutes to do it and it really didn’t hurt. Is this the first, last and only – or the first of many? Stay tuned – we are off to the Philippines, you know.
The Shoe Blog
Most of the women here are wearing variations on a theme these days – black boots just to or just over the top of the knee. These are blindingly white.