01
Jan
13

Xinnian kuaile – Happy new Year!

新年快乐!

Thank you for reading and following!

Here’s a little glimpse of our world….

China Time Lapse

18
Dec
12

‘Angry’ bird talking bad words shocks zoo visitor

Only in China! :)

‘Angry’ bird talking bad words shocks zoo visitor — Shanghai Daily | 上海日报 — English Window to China New.

08
Nov
12

Who dunnit?

After hearing about my “accident” last week,  one of our staff sent me an email saying:

“I’m so sorry to hear what happened on you, and I hope you can get better soon, and don’t forget your rights and claim for compensation against the troublemaker!”

Compensation is a very Chinese concept – the alleged perpetrator must compensate the alleged victim for any alleged damages or injuries. On the street a minor traffic accident can be settled within minutes without involving the police: on condition that someone is willing to pay enough to make the problem go away. It cuts out the need for insurers and middle-men and is a very lucrative money-making opportunity if you can get in somebody’s way and convince them and the police that the other person is at fault and needs to cough up. It has also led to an intense unwillingness for anyone to help a stranger in need in case they get accused of causing the problem in the first place.

So, after my close encounter with the cement pathway and grass verge – who is the “trouble-maker” that I can tap for compensation?

  • The spiky plastic mats in the grass verge? [Aside - they don't look dangerous, do they, but take it from me - these little swine are not face-friendly]

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  • The gardeners who put the spiky mats into the grass?
  • The management who told the gardeners to put the spiky mats in the grass?
  • Asics – it was their running shoes that didn’t keep me upright?
  • The cleaner pushing his cart towards us that I might have seen out of my peripheral vision and caused me to subconsciously step out of the path to get out of his way?
  • Apple – because I was looking at a running app on my iPhone when I wiped out?
  • The makers of Runkeeper – the running app that I was looking at?

I guess I will write it off to experience and hope that any further exercise will be less harmful to my nerves and my general well-being and to our financial state [We are covered by travel medical insurance and so far it seems that they will be willing to settle most of the medical bills for my endangering my own self].

I had my last visit with the plastic surgeon on Sunday to remove the stitches – much less painful experience all round – except that my lip was not impressed at being attacked again. Most of the injured areas are healing nicely, just one cut above my lip that was deeper than others will take a few more days to sort itself out (M called it a star-shape because the skin was flapping in more than one direction).

Eating and talking are no longer a problem – now that’s a relief! – and the doc/prof has given me some ointment to deal with potential scarring. So hopefully I am on the way to recover…

Running commences next week – I will attempt to remain injury free!

30
Oct
12

Tackling the statistics head-on

In one way or another, I managed to survive my entire childhood and adolescence without the need for a single stitch or injection, somehow managing to sidestep, dodge and duck the many possible mishaps that a girl with tomboy tendencies could encounter. No broken limbs, no after-hour trips to the emergency ward, no, nothing more than a twisted ankle and a regular selection of bruises.

In China, the opportunities for injury abound – if you’ve read some of my other posts, you will know that the statistical probability of traffic accidents is relatively high – by motor vehicle or bicycle or even fellow-pedestrian. Anything can and will happen. There have been reports of falling panes of glass from high-rise buildings; elevators going into reverse; balconies falling off buildings – the list is endless.

Up until Saturday I had defied the negative statistics and complemented myself on being remarkably unscathed and immune to the chaos that surrounds us. [Correction: Except for stepping into a hole in a construction site in Guilin in 2008 and walking into an eye-level overhead cable soon after we arrived in Shanghai in early 2009.]

On Saturday my immunity expired – I had a close encounter with a Chinese pathway and patch of grass – not just any patch of grass, as it turns out, but a patch of grass inlaid with spiky plastic mats.

I still cannot describe the precise order of events. It just happened. One minute I was setting out for a run, checking my running app on my phone, and the next minute, I was lying in a heap, bleeding from multiple gashes in my face. It appears that I was making up for all those times when I DIDN’T get into trouble – so I really made a good job of it this time.

M rushed me back upstairs, using his handkerchief to mop up the blood, looked at me in horror and dashed me off to the medical centre (as much as one can dash in a Shanghai taxi in early Saturday morning traffic with 3 minute cycles on the traffic lights at every intersection from here to Nanjing Road)

We camped outside the clinic door until they opened at 9.00, encountering the first of many stares – poor M – I’m sure he is getting his fair share of stares too – glaring accusations of wife abuser and so on. The clinic staff immediately placed a call to the plastic surgeon, who had to travel 1 and 1/2 hours to reach us.

To cut a long story short – my face is an interesting blend of yellow and purple and dark red seemingly random squiggles, betadyne make-up and stitching, and Chinese elastoplast. I had to have my chin, lip, nose, cheek and forehead stitched up. I am ashamed to admit I whimpered like a woes during each injection – there were at least 10 or 12, and it did nothing to improve my dislike of anyone in the medical profession. It is a well-known fact that I avidly avoid dentists, ophthalmologists and doctors as far as possible – they always bring pain into my life. And this Chinese doctor, a professor, trained in Shanghai and Germany, very skilled and competent in in his chosen field – well, he might be good, but he hurt me and even if  I could have laughed at his jokes, I didn’t find them at all funny.

M says my face is looking much better – he has sat through many a stitching up procedure with his children and reckons this guy is a skilled craftsman and knows his stuff – my facial wounds are currently down to a grade 3 war zone instead of the trench warfare scenario they initially resembled. I will give you my verdict once the stitches are out in a week’s time; after my black eye has mellowed to a lighter shade of purple; and as soon as the intricate dried blood textured patterns caused by those spiky grass mats have dissipated. My lip hurts – it really doesn’t appreciate being hemmed; eating and drinking is problematic; and it doesn’t look like I will need Botox for a while (as if I would ever CHOOSE to let anyone inject anything into me!)

So that’s my week – no photographic evidence – cameras are banned from our household for at least a month.

I am actually fine, just feeling very sorry for myself and highly irritated that something so absolutely ridiculous happened. I can’t wind back the clock, so I guess I shall just have to grin – smiling and laughing is still too painful – and bear it. Actually grumble, mutter, sigh and spit are more likely responses than grinning at the moment.

So what started off as your average, uneventful, common old garden Saturday morning jog around the park turned into a VERY expensive non-running session, providing a very profitable sewing opportunity for the plastic surgeon. Not my favourite way to spend a Saturday morning.

21
Oct
12

Things can get complicated

Coming soon to a loo near you….

Instructions and procedures
(So sorry for you if you can’t read Chinese characters…)

Operating panel

….so as you can see, all toilets in China are not created equal. At least some of those rumours you hear about squat toilets are not true!

10
Oct
12

Add oil

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese spectators were urged to encourage the competitors from all nations by chanting jiāyóu jiāyóu (lit. Add Oil = refuel, make more effort, come on!, go, go GO!).

I have had my very own encourager on my last few morning runs as one of the gardeners has taking to yelling jiāyóu jiāyóu every time I jog past the patch of garden where he is working!

06
Sep
12

Morning traffic

The traffic I am referring to here is mostly not the four-wheeled kind that we encounter on a daily basis as we rush, crawl, swerve, hoot our way to work in the mornings. This is about the traffic we encounter in our daily jog around the park – in the interests of health and exercise!

Traffic varies from day to day, depending on the weather and what time we stagger out of our 12th floor apartment to lope around the track in our complex. Weekends also bring out different groups of people.

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The regular traffic consists of:

  1. The walkers – a group of three – two men and one lady that stride around with intent and purpose. We greet each other and they are always obliging and step out of the way to let us run past.
  2. Old man walker No. 1 – he keeps to himself and follows an interesting route, swinging his arms enthusiastically. He never says much: head down, don’t talk to strangers.
  3. Old man walker No. 2 – another chap that wanders around on his own, but seems to be less focussed than Old man walker No. 1. Sometimes he joins the group of 3.
  4. Tai Qi lady – she dresses the part and performs her moves, even brandishing a “tai qi” sword on occasion.
  5. Tai Qi gent – he’s a new addition to the morning traffic – he picks a spot on one of the wooden decks next to the central pond and does his stuff overlooking the water.
  6. Various other joggers – some more fit than others – the man in the orange vest pounds past us when he is not do stretching exercises against one of the low walls alongside the pond. I can outrun the gent in grey tracksuit pants and white vest (or no vest on a hot day), but he gets a bit irritated with me and so he speeds up to overtake me and then heads for home!
  7. American strider man – he’s always walking against the rest of the traffic.
  8. Young couple trying to get fit – they walk at a fairly leisurely pace.
  9. Bird and cat lady – she brings a black bird in a cage to get fresh air and then feeds the stray cats and kittens that live around the property – not sure if they come for the bird or the food – probably both! The other day one of the kittens thought that she was late or not coming and it tried to waylay me with cute purrs and “pick me, pick me” manoeuvres in the middle of the path.
  10. Mom/granny with baby in pram no’s 1 through 10, and mom/gran with toddlers on baby bikes no’s 1 through 5 – on the days that they are all out in force comparing and bragging about baby development stages, trying to stay on course becomes a major problem – one has to dodge and dive around prams, babies, ranks of mothers and other obstacles. A few months ago, M was sent sprawling into the pebbles and lawn next to the path as one of them stuck her leg out and tripped him as she bent over to rearrange the blankets in the pram. Oh – so sorry….
  11. Tall foreigner lady with tiny baby – sometime she joins the other mothers, at other times she seems to prefer her own space.
  12. Dog people: mostly poodles, one or two labradors, some mixed breeds, chihuahuas; some on leads, some wandering freely; some with diligent owners with poop scoops, others with less socially-aware minders. Occasionally a dog fight threatens to break out and then everyone scurries to replace leads and reign in the delinquent children dogs.
  13. The gardeners: weeding, cleaning the ponds, clipping the trees and shrubs, picking up other people’s rubbish
  14. The ayi’s on their way to clean other people’s homes
  15. Since the new school term has started we see children off to school. Sometimes the older ones head off on their own, sometimes they are accompanied by a parent that carries their bags for them.

Non-regulars/random people:

  1. Man looking at his cell-phone – he moved 20 metres in the time that it took me to complete 6 laps – and 15 of those metres took place between my lap 1 & 2
  2. Lady in high heels looking like she wants to get fit but forgot which shoes to put on.
  3. Dancing lady - she does pirouettes and twirls along the path
  4. Pyjama people – wandering around in your pj’s to go to the local shops or for a walk is totally acceptable here – they tried to do away with this custom when Shanghai was on show to the world during the 2010 World Expo, but local customs don’t change easily – and why should they? Pj’s for outdoor wear are generally modest
  5. Random men looking like they were kicked out of their apartments by wives to encourage them to get exercise or go outside to smoke: sometimes they just stand/sit in one place.
  6. More cellphone people

[Sorry - No recent photos - I'm too busy concentrating on running and breathing and dodging the dogs and the prams....]

[I also wrote about the morning people in the early days of my blog: there are more people now, but much is still the same as it was then.]




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