Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Oh hello! So, I am in China. Aside from my inability to connect to Facebook, Blogger, Youtube, or this here blog (this post is being posted by a ghost, see), things are going well. Here are some snippets from my first few days.

*The first thing I did here, after a futile attempt at sleep following being deposited in the middle of the night at my apartment door by a nice man who spoke no English and who waited two hours for me at the airport while the airport people located the luggage of half the plane, was go to Starbucks. I know I know, but I was pretty terrified when I first poked my head out into my new world, and when I saw the familiar letters off in the distance I couldn’t help myself and ran straight into the warm, welcoming arms of my Comfort Zone. Also, I hadn’t really slept in 30-some hours and needed some freaking American coffee. And a muffin.

*They have ginger shampoo and conditioner here! It is just a version of Revlon Flex (gross), but it really does smell like ginger, and I love ginger (I also like the bottle design). Browsing around a Chinese drug store is way too much fun. There are entire aisles for face lightening products and eyebrow razors. Maxi pad packages have cartoon rabbits on them.

*On my maiden voyage outside my apartment, I saw a small child pee on the sidewalk through split-crotch pants. And with that, this whole experience finally felt real to me.

*My apartment is in a kind of ridiculous Westernized luxury compound, which also consists of a hotel, a shopping mall, a country club, a bowling alley, a bunch of overpriced restaurants, and, it turns out, two Starbuckses. In the apartment itself, my sole roommate and I have three bedrooms, king-sized beds, two bathrooms, two flat-screen TVs, maid service, and a washer/dryer with a mind of its own. When I told the ER doctor where I was living and for how long (I’m interning in the ER), he replied, “A month and a half?! Who’s paying for that?!” I pointed at the ground, indicating the hospital. “Oh shit,” he said. “Well, you should really check out the country club.”

*My brain is going to quickly explode from Nonsensical Translation Overload. Here is an advertisement for what I believe is another ridiculous Westernized luxury compound:

*I had what I believe to be my first mutton experience. My roommate and I were at a maybe Kazakh, maybe Mongolian restaurant on the non-Westernized side of the proverbial tracks and did that thing where you don’t know what anything is so you just order what everyone else seems to be having. What everyone else seemed to be having were skewers of mutton. Chewy but well-seasoned, it at least did not necessitate napkin concealment.

Next up: more about working in the hospital, or, you know, the ostensible reason I came here.

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