“Hang ten at Hangzhou.”
That what a sign said as I rolled into town.
Just kidding. I got off the bus though, feeling quite chipper.
Afterall, I was in one of the cities Chinese people from all temporal existances claim to be heaven on earth. I was in heaven. It was the first time in several months that I saw blue skies! It was a bit hot, but hey, I’ll take heat and blue skies over heat and ‘fog’ any day! I began my quest to find where on ‘heavenly’ earth the Traditional Chinese Medicine (hitherto refered as TCM) courses were being held. I had a reference address, at this moment in history, I can’t recall it. I gathered myself and I gathered a cab… (WOW, that was a weird experience… I’m sitting in an Internet Cafe and I put my headset on to listen to music… but it wasn’t working so I forgot about… It just kicked in and I momentarily scared myself to death because I heard voices in my head.) and began trying to communicate with the driver. I gave him the name of the school, but he didn’t understand me. I repeated it several times, finally giving him the address, and then the address in full, including telling him that it was in China (just kidding, I felt like doing that too) and I guess he picked up the district that it was in and began lecturing me about how I should have just told him that in the first place. Grrrr…. whatever… at that point I was just happy to be on my way. I should have told him he should learn to speak Putonghua and then maybe we’d get along a little better… their accent was so weird there.
Anyhow, he was kind enough to slowly check each school until we found the right one… there were about 6 universities outside the city… oh wait… the ride there was pleasant… we had the a/c cranking and this old man/taxi driver ended up whistling some pop song, it was amazing… although I found myself also bouncing my knee to the catchy tune. Yeah so I get dropped off and I go searching through a newly built immaculate campus. This place was so green and clean and just amazing… I have a picture in my photo album should you care to see. It was like a park. So I walked around asking people where the student dormitories were, but no one knew. So I bought some snacks, left campus and started looking for a 网吧. I ran into someone, a Chinese student, who not only walked me into the place, but sat with me while I sent an email and got in touch with the summer program people, also walked me back to campus. It was too nice of her really.
The next week I just hung out with the summer program people and sat in on a couple of their courses. I learned a little bit about herbal concoctions. Also on one occasion, I tagged along on a field trip to an actual TCM hospital in town. It was interesting… it consisted of an herbal stock room that smelled like a spice kitchen. Then there was a room in which things were burned… I forget the word for it… it wasn’t quite aromatherapy… then there was the acupuncture room where we saw people stuck full of needles, including one guy with needles in his head! Another room held doctors giving massages. This place seemed like on big spa resort.
I got to see a little bit of Hangzhou too, including the reknowned West Lake, and a night market (twice). It was a cool city, not quite heaven on earth, but at least a heaven in China. There was also a KTV night, aoh dreaded KTV. Yeah, so it was all fun in games, and we got some great photos of one on the summer participants passed out. So of course I got some practice being FC and with the help of Abby, carried awhat feel like 200 lbs of dead weight a full city block or two back to our rooms. Wohoo!
The summer program people were really cool and I got to hang out with some of them a little bit more after the program was over…
Once the program was over, I and an Indo vol headed to Jiu Hua Shan (九华山) to an amazing buddhist village…
“Hang ten at Hangzhou.”