For those of you reading this that don't know me, I'm actually quite boring. I've been in China for almost a week now, and I have spent most of my time here reading, writing letters, and sleeping off my jet lag. If possible, this is basically how I would spend my life regardless of where I live.
So, I will recount for a bit the one actual interesting thing that happened. My work permit (necessary for me to get my work visa) was late, and thus I had to enter China without the Z-visa. The long and short of this is that I have to go through many bureaucratic hoops to get one now that I'm here. The first of these hoops occurred yesterday as I went in for my physical. I know that the title of the post said "Chinese Medicine" but it wasn't traditional Chinese medicine. No, I went to a sleek, modern hospital for foreigners, and thus went through the physical assembly line. I was corralled down a corridor and deposited in various rooms along the way where I was weighed, measured, tested, poked, prodded, and generally manhandled. It felt like a Rube Goldberg cartoon charicature of a factory, and I was the product being assembled. I had both my passport and my physical form (which contained another passport picture). At every step along the way, a nurse would scrutinize these pictures, looking first at my form, then at my passport, then at me. I eventually began to time these, and the record was for the woman who took 3 minutes and 26 seconds to determine that I was, in fact, Ben Gulley and not a fraud. Another notable stop along the way was the chest x-ray room, where the doctor positioned my hands on my hips, and then just kept manually moving my hips around until they were apparently right. The final point of interest was a simple examination room where I was led. A doctor there gestured to the bed, and I lay down on it. He shook his head and mumbled something unintelligible. I sat up. He again shook his head and mumbled. I started to lie down again, only to be met with another head shake. I sat up and he began moving my legs, which was a little weird. I finally figured out that he wanted me to lie down, but to take my shoes off first. I think. All I know is that taking my shoes off and lying down got me another mumble, but without the head-shaking. It was at that point where a sign on the wall helpfully informed me that there would be genital examination, and you can't imagine what that did for my mood. Fortunately, that part didn't come (although I have to say the Chinese are falling down on national security by allowing possibly defective genitals in their country).
The whole affair only lasted about 20 minutes, at least 10 of which involved me sitting there while people tried to figure out if I was the guy in the passport photo. All in all, time well spent.