My customer picked me up about 9:30 this morning (was supposed to be 9 but apparently the traffic was crazy... although I didn't see any traffic :) I actually have used that excuse before so I allow them to :) Anyways - we sped off through the neighborhood and out the gate, past the WuMart - you have to love WuMart.... I always wonder as we pass if they have some rogue website with disgusting people shopping at WuMart with moo moos and bedroom slippers and mullets and see through pants - or no pants. Or I wonder if WuMart in China is classier than WalMart in the US. I might just have to go sometime.
We had two hospitals today. The first was the Peoples Army Hospital 301. Its the largest hospital in northern China. And the largest one in Beijing. The Peoples Army Hospitals are all military run but anyone can go to the hospital. Most of military and politicians and diplomats would go here though. I love that Decontamination is Decontamination in any language!
It was a beautiful facility and they were clean and orderly and very polished. In the conference room we met in initially they had all these "testimonials" from their "presidents". This one below is from Mao Zedong from like 1938. I was asking them what it translated to and they were having a hard time putting it from 1938 Chinese to 2014 English so - I'm translating it "this hospital was awesome! Keep up the good work my people!" I'm sure that was VERY loose...
And all of the directors and supervisors and such who work at the Peoples Army Hospitals are actually ranked in the military. The one that I went to last November, Peoples Army Hospital 301, the director was one of the highest ranking lieutenants in the military.
This time the director was just a captain or something. I'm not quite sure, but she definitely didn't look as military-ish. She looked more "nursey".... She was actually had been at this hospital for 30 years in the OR and had just taken over the CS about 6 years ago. This facility was much much nicer than the one last year.
We went to a Plastic Surgery Hospital later in the afternoon. Its supposed to be one of the leading Plastics Hospitals, I was told I couldn't take pictures because there are a lot of celebrities and important people who have procedures done here so - top secret. However, when we went in, my heart was just hurting as we only passed children with deformities and adults with growth on their faces and necks. They were just all walking around and you did a double take because it was hard to tell some things at first. And then before you realized it, you're looking at someone who has an eye growing out of their cheek of a burn all over half their body. And the hospital wasn't that nice - it was kind of average, small town American hospital so I found it quite odd that there would be important people coming here for elective surgeries.
So right before we went to the second hospital I was told "we will now go eat just a small lunch". They always lie like that. These people are teeny tiny but the have HUGE meals every time they eat and they're always putting stuff on your plate and making you eat eat eat.
On the way to the restaurant they were discussing what we were going to eat and she was trying to find the English words. One of the guys had a translator on his phone so he put it in, Icy looked at it and then said "you know this word?" and she showed it to me... And a small tear welled up in my eye at the prospect of what they were going to shove in my mouth this time....
WAH! I've choked through their slimy duck feet and their rubbery hyena steaks and so many other odd things they've put in front of me, but the trick was, I never knew until after I ate it.
So I told Icy the truth - "you should wait to tell me what these things are until after I eat them."
Seriously - my mother used to do this - feed us things like ox tails and sharks fin and she started saying "I'll tell you after you eat it" and you always knew you were eating something weird, but at least you didn't know the complete honest truth until after it was too late. It was down there - you were past the worst - it might as well just stay.
So - when we got to the restaurant there were so many crazy things that they kept on putting on my plate (may I note they always use their chopsticks that they've been putting in their mouths to dish things out of the bowls and put them on your plate). And I have no clue what was what. I do know that the meat looked especially strange and then there was another meat that I tried to choke down with dumplings because the texture was so amazingly horrid.... It was seriously like fuzzy on one side and rubbery/slimy on the other side. I finally had to claim "I'm so full - I just can't eat anymore". I wasn't in the mood to keep on trying new things. At least the first time I had my co worker from the states there choking things down with me so I figured "if Ron can do it - I can do it!"
And then - Julie had to bring something to my attention that now creeps me out. I knew - as I had blogged before - that people have long pinky nails here so that they can pick things - like ears and noses. Blech. But I always chalk it up to the old people or the crazy people - didn't even think that the sharp business people I work with have that creepy trait. So today, as we go throughout the day, I'm unawarely noticing everyone long pinky nails! AHHH - they're all really sharp and classy people and indeed they have definitely long pinky nails - all other nails shorter but those pinkys are not only deathly long but deathly pointy. WHY?
Even more - WHY do people have to tell me these things?! If I just didn't know I'd blindly go around eating and shaking peoples hands and going about life like we were all equal and just as sane-eating, kleenex using as the next person. But now - now I know what they're feeding me and - I know where those pinkys have been!!!!!! Stop telling me things! Let me be naive! Let me blindly enjoy my duck feet and donkey meat!