Thursday September 10th, 11:55am
Almost nothing has changed since my last entry, but things are already looking up nonetheless. Tonight will be one week since I arrived in Shanghai. It’s crazy to think that this time last month I was still in Vermont, frantically writing final papers at Middlebury College. Since then, I’ve spent a weekend (almost) in Michigan, one week in Toronto, a few hours in Reykjavik, and a week at home in London.
Two nights ago a friend and I were approached by a woman outside the IMAX theatre not too far from my university campus; she had tickets to see Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation that evening, but was unable to stay. We bought them off her cheaper than if we had bought them from the main desk, and I really enjoyed the movie too, so win-win.
This morning I had the pleasure of being ‘examined’ in a bus (a makeshift mobile surgery) as part of the Physical Examination for Aliens, a requirement for the residence permit I must apply for. After being jabbed with a needle drawing two tubes of blood, we were ordered to undress and don a gown (better not to think about how many before you have worn them) for an x-ray, ordered to lie down and “just relax” for a blood pressure test, followed by a totally inconclusive and non-scientific eye test. Asking me to ‘read’ out the numbers ‘8’ and ‘9’ after hearing the few people before me say them does not say as much about my eyesight as it does about my awareness and ability to read situations.
The final stage was something I remember clearly from my Beijing experience: lying down to have strange wet probey objects placed on your chest, wrists and feet, testing for…I don’t know what, and then, an ultrasound… Fun times.
All the students who had their medical check done last week have got large bruises on their inner elbows where the blood was drawn from, so I know what to expect.