We were really excited to be heading to China to see what we were getting ourselves into. We were especially excited to get to experience a Chinese medical facility first hand on our first day in the country.
Ok. Not really.
Not at all.
We got to our hotel in Shenyang around 6 pm Sunday evening. Our itinerary said that Maggie from the visa office would be picking us up at 8 from our hotel on Monday morning for our physicals and we’d already been told that we needed to fast for at least 12 hours before the bloodwork. We were both obviously extremely exhausted. China is a 12 hr time difference from South Carolina and you combine that kind of jet lag with 24 hours of travel time and you have reached a new level of exhaustion. I walked into the room and fell face down on the rock hard bed. I didn’t even notice it felt like a concrete slab. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have even noticed if it WAS a concrete slab.
Left Brain headed straight for the shower and mentioned that we’d go get some dinner after he got out. I thought that was a good idea. Except that I never even blinked from that point on. Apparently, the big bed was too tempting for him too, because we both woke up around 3 amâ€¦ starving. We had eaten on the long flight over, but that was around noon. And the last short flight from Seoul to Shenyang only served a light snack. And now it’s the middle of the night, and they’ve already said we couldn’t eat for 12 hours before the bloodwork.
There’s this thing about jetlag that they don’t tell you. It doesn’t just affect your sleep patterns. Actually I don’t mind the sleep thing so much. It’s the meal schedule that I have the hardest time with. Our noon lunch was actually a midnight snack to our bodies. And now it’s effectively 3 in the afternoon and we’ve just skipped breakfast AND lunch. And we’re supposed to wait another 9 hours before we’ll get to eat again.
This is not good.
So we both try to wait it out and kill some time by getting on the computer and skyping our families back home. FINALLY, 8 am rolls around and we meet Maggie and hop in the van and head to the medical facility.
This particular facility in Shenyang wasn’t really a hospital like I was expecting. I think it was some sort of facility set up specifically for this process. First we waited in a big bunch of people to get up to the counter. Ok, actually we only waited long enough for Maggie to cut off a few people and push her way up to the front. It’s kind of how they roll in China. There isn’t really a “line” that you wait in. You just all cram together in a big bunch and whoever is best at cutting off the next person and wiggling up to the counter first is the next one who gets served. No one gets upset or anything. It’s just the way it is. So anyway, Maggie was pretty good at this so we didn’t wait long.
Off we go to Station #1: Urine Sample.
My first experience with a “public” toilet in China. Wow. Just wow. The stall was just big enough to barely turn around in. And then there’s this hole in the ground. A ceramic hole surrounded by tile. Although actually I guess I wasn’t really supposed to need the hole since I had a cup. Without giving you WAY more info than you want to know, let’s just say it was quite a balancing act.
China Travel Tip: When you come to China, ALWAYS have a travel pack of tissues on you. You will need them. Even if your nose isn’t runny. If your nose is runny, pack 2. Most public restrooms do not have tissue available for you. In all honesty, I don’t find the hole in the ground thing that difficult. It’s not much different than going outside when you’re hiking or camping. And if you grow up on a farm, usually you’ve mastered the outdoor squat before you’re even potty trained.
Station 1 completed.
Station #2: Bloodwork turned out to even more exciting…