Friday was very busy. First thing in the morning, I went with Carol (my campus liaison) to the health clinic run by immigration to get my physical (required for the work visa). Of course it started pouring while we were standing outside the school gate waiting for our taxi. They weighed me, took my blood pressure and blood, and did an EKG. It was a bit disconcerting when the woman put the electrodes on me – the clamps look a LOT like the pinchers used with jumper cables . . . .
I also had to give a urine sample. In a cheap plastic cup that was slightly larger than a Mini-Moo creamer. . . .
I’ll need to go back for my chest xray next week, because the Radiologist took off the day for the National Week holiday. And I got to pay for this out of pocket. (300RMB/$45)
We got back to school in time for lunch, and afterwards I was supposed to teach, but the students skipped class. (Sports Day). I went to the department office to get some help ordering cushions for my wooden couch (more on that later) and Carol told me that I needed to go to the local police station to register. Since I only had the one class, but no students, we decided to go then. Rather than walking the half mile there, she had borrowed a scooter from her coworker.
The scooters here have their own lane of traffic, separated by a median, between the road and the sidewalk. They are all electric, so they can easily sneak up on you, and often do. People seem to drive on the sidewalks all the time. A license is not required to drive one, and there doesn’t appear to be a helmet law. During the morning taxi ride in the rain, we had seen a woman who had skidded and was laying on the side of the road with her scooter. I got on the scooter behind Carol with trepidation…
We arrived at the police station in a few minutes. They directed us upstairs, but there was a locked gate and an officer had to unlock it for us to proceed. The office was blissfully cool like in the US. I sat on a couch while Carol and the office worker discussed the paperwork. I only had to sign a form – no fingerprints or anything. We had to wait for another officer to let us back downstairs. He was wearing Crocs.
Since we were a block from the grocery store, I asked if I could get a few things. I wanted some bottles of coconut water and figured carrying them on the bike was way better than hauling them home a half mile in the heat later. Once inside, we got a little distracted and took longer than planned, so when we returned to campus I was late for the weekly teachers’ meeting.
Once it finished, I only had about ten minutes to get back to my apartment and change out of my shorts and T shirt into capris and a buttoned shirt because the Grade 1 parents had invited the English teachers out to dinner at a local seafood restaurant.
I hurried out to the gate where the parents and other teachers were waiting. The restaurant was about ten minutes away and seemed quite popular. We had a private dining room and were seated at a large round table with an enormous Lazy Susan. During introductions, where we learned which student’s parents were there, the servers brought in drinks. Hot tea of course, and some creamy purple and white drinks, and an orangish juice. I decided to try the purple one, which I was told was sweet potato. It was warm! and a bit grainy, so I gave mine to T, who was sitting next to me. They said the white one was yam, so I went for the passion fruit juice. Later, they brought Coke and bottles of water.
The servers started bringing in food and just kept putting more and more on the table. There was a good variety to choose from and the servers gave us clean plates every so often. Several of the parents spoke English, so the Chinese teachers didn’t have to keep translating everything and could enjoy their dinner.
Afterwards, the same mom drove us back to campus and then pulled presents for us out of the trunk of her car!! We each got Moon Cakes and a big box of fruit.