The Catch-Up [Life in GZ, Ed. 4]

2015 GRT Singing Competition

Time to play catch-up. My mind is full of “shit, need to blog about that” moments, so with this edition of #GZBuzz, I start to attempt untangling it all.

Waiting in line to get blood drawn in Guangzhou, China
A line to get blood drawn at 9 in the morning. #CHINA

1 — Getting Blood Drawn
A couple weeks ago, for personal health reasons, my mom’s cousin took me to a women’s hospital to get my blood drawn. And what an experience. The thing is, this wasn’t my first time to this women’s hospital, and having lived in China expecting aggressive crowds even at 8 a.m. at a hospital, I had already expected the worst for this trip. Instead, I found myself repeatedly saying, “Wow, there’s no one here,” until I reached the correct floor we were supposed to be on. At this point, I’ve realized when I say “no one” in China, I mean that you can walk at a regular pace without fearing for pushy old ladies.

So “no one” still meant we had to take a number and stand in line. Sitting in line, even with a number, is just not a thing. Despite plenty of empty seats, you would be a fool to sit down, because you essentially get your blood draw in the waiting room. To clarify something I didn’t even realize until looking at the counter where one also takes a number, this is the only line you need to wait in to get your blood drawn—meaning unlike in the U.S., you aren’t taken to another room with maybe at most two other people partitioned off. Right here in the open, you sit with dozens standing behind you, as the nurse works robotically to draw the vials to put in a container along with the hundreds before you. And she doesn’t change her gloves. I could see her sweat making those gloves stick to her hands, and yet one patient after another, she kept those same gloves on. It took me everything I could to resist asking if she could change them. I internally debated between interrupting “the flow” and potentially getting sick through an infected needle—OKOK, the chances of the needle being infected was quite low, I tried reasoning. Within a minute or so, it was over and I was on my way out, literally holding a cotton swab over my arm. At that point, I realized I actually missed even tape over a cotton ball. Could they really not even bother with these?

2 — Red Watsons Bottled Water
I read on City Weekend that Watsons has been tested to be the “safest” bottled water here. They have two kinds: distilled (green packaging) and mineral (blue). But recently I saw a red bottle and of course had to buy it (#marketing). I didn’t understand what exactly was the difference. A small part of me hoped it was sparkling, but it was either for some non-obvious promo or maybe “filtered.” Who notices the difference among all the types anyway?

3 — In-House Singing Competition
I found out that there are apparently enough talented singers who work for Guangdong Radio and Television that the company has made an extravagant annual singing competition out of it. Last week, I sat in the audience for the (long) live show. Unfortunately the two coworkers I did know ended up being eliminated first. Oh, well. Everyone still “won,” apparently.

4 — Hot Pot
After missing out on my first invitation to have dinner with my coworkers, I finally could make it to this one at a Chaoshan beef hot pot restaurant. I had lots of fun, even being forced to down raw ox lip doused in spicy sauce and a piece of pure crispy fat. #wheninchina

Chaoshan hot pot with coworkers

So I know it’s inauspicious to end with four moments, but that’s all the time I have for now. Stay tuned for more moments on my wild Didi rides, IKEA fun, and holiday explorations 🙂

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