Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yantai, August 17

Today was a real military day, all hurry-up and wait. This morning we were taken to a clinic for a health check. I even had an ultrasound done. Good news, I'm not pregnant. Typical of China, every step of the way involved a little pushing and line cutting. While Joan was semi clad having an EKG done, someone barged in. I had a guy try to hop in front of me to get a urine specimen. I growled, yes growled and said, "Go ahead. Let me piss on the back of you." I don't think he understood all, but he did not cut in line.

Line cutting and shoving must be an ancient Chinese art. While at a bank, it is normal to have someone stick their head in between you and the teller to ask a question. I tried to be polite for 10 days but enough is enough. Now I shove back, snarl, and use un-understood profanity. It seems to work and I feel better.

Another Chinese legacy is the use of the sidewalk. In China, a sidewalk is a place that is inconvenient to drive your car. Right turn lanes means "This is a great chance to pass on the right side." Double yellow lines down the middle of a road are used for aiming only. A barrier set up down the middle means you can't drive on the wrong side of the street until the next break in the barrier. Turning across three lanes of traffic is a taxi guys test of manhood.

Banking is another bizarre Chinese event. I waited in line 38 minutes to cash some traveler's checks. Once to the teller, I spent another 25 minutes getting the checks cashed. I had 4 checks. First, the teller made 4 copies of my passport. She then had me fill out a form FOR EACH CHECK. She then filled out a form for each and stapled a passport copy to each. Next, I had to sign all of the forms she filled out, re-endorse the checks on the back, then she had to sign the forms I filled out. She took all the paper work to her manager who came over and looked me over. After one last signing ( this time I signed" Andy Bloodtype AB+". She then counted out my money. I figured if I had to wait, so did she SOOOOOOOO I counted my money three times. Throughout all of this, Joan was with another teller setting up an account. It was MADNESS!

I'm glad we went to the bank after the exam. My blood pressure would have been thru the ceiling. On the way home, we did some more shopping for house stuff. WE now own a genuine Chinese toilet brush and bathmat.

While walking back to campus, some Migs from the airport took off and did some training in the area. China has a Naval Air station here in Yantai. I guess it was the "Red Angels" that were flying. We also ran into Jin Long, one of our friends from FGCU. It was cool to be so far from home and hear someone call your name and wave.

Tomorrow is hair cut day. I can't put it off any longer. We will also take some pix of campus and our luxury suite.

Happy Chinese Valentine's Day

Andy and Joan

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