Hallelujah!

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Come one, come all to China – women that is. Finally, someone (I put my money on a woman) has figured out that the ratio of men’s toilets to women’s should not be equal.  Leave it to the country with a population of 1.3 billion to figure that out.

Beijing has implemented “guidelines” that suggest the ratio should be 1.5 or 2 to 1. The only problem is that they are not rules and are only applicable to public toilets in Beijing. However, Guangzhou came up with a mandatory regulation that will go into effect in the next few months. Female university students staged a protest and this prompted GZ government to address the issue. The campaign was called, “Occupy Men’s Toilets”. I’ve done that more than once but it was out of desperation, not in protest. In GZ it applies to malls and tourist attractions, not just public toilets. Just another reason to love GZ. 🙂

They may be squatters but there will be more of them. 😉

WWCDD – What Would Chinese Drivers Do

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This wraps up the driver’s test portion of this program. The experience is something I will never forget 🙂 Anders and I are off on holiday for a week to celebrate China’s National holiday. I hope to have gorgeous pictures of Phuket to share when I get back.

When driving a vehicle, the driver ______ for the sake of safety.

A. May wear slippers

B. May wear any shoes

C. Should not wear slippers

D. May wear high heels

Answer: C   I apologize to my FB friends but this one was too good not to include.

 

In hot weather, the driver may drive a vehicle barebacked, barefooted or wearing slippers. Answer: Wrong   Why is it wrong to drive without a saddle? Or does barebacked mean your shirt is rolled past your nipples (this does not include Anders as he will never be driving a car) therefore baring one’s back? 

 

When the speed indicated by the speed limit sign on the expressway contradicts with the speed indicated for the specific lanes, the speed indicated for the specific lanes should prevail. Answer: Wrong  Why are there contradicting speed signs anyway? That’s too important not to get right!

 

When driving, the driver may spit to the road or street out of the window.  Answer: Wrong  The money the government could make if only they would enforce this one!

 

When another driver asks directions while driving, the driver should _________.

A. Ignore it

B. Answer with patience

C. Find an excuse to reject

D. Answer for a pay

Answer: B    I’m expected to give directions while driving and there are flocks of sheep, drunks, animal-pulled carts, conflicting speed signs, men trying to sell live turtles, spit, AND slow-moving old people wearing cotton-padded caps, overcoats, and carrying umbrellas to avoid?!?!?  I don’t think so!

 

When overtaking on a mountain road, the vehicle should overtake ______.

A. By selecting a relatively gentle downhill section

B. By taking every possible chance

C. By selecting a wide gentle uphill section

D. By selecting a fairly long downhill section

Answer: C  This goes against every driving instinct I have.

 

Besides knowing criminal and civil law one must also be an ER doctor, surgeon, and triage specialist. Hope every driver packs a set of scrubs for the following situations. OH, now I know what Ben keeps in his backpack! 😉

 

When carrying the wounded persons in coma or in danger of suffocation, they should lie _______.

A. Face down

B. Face up

C. On their side

D. On their side and face down

Answer: D  Seems physically impossible to me.

 

When putting a bone fracture in position, the fixing should be proper and solid. Both the two fractured parts and the upper and lower joints should be fixed. Answer: Right   Is a portable X-ray machine standard car equipment in China?

 

When putting a bone fracture in the upper limb in position, the limb must be straightened and tied up.    Answer: Wrong

 

The following gets my vote as the most ludicrous question that could possibly be asked. It was on my second test and I got it right!

When there many wounded persons, those who should be sent to hospital last are the persons ________.

A. Suffering cervical vertebra damage

B. Suffering massive haemorrhage

C. Suffering breathing difficulty

D. Whose intestines and veins are exposed

Answer: A  If you ever find yourself in this situation (I hope no one ever does) just think: WWCDD 😉

 

11 AM – 82°

Pedestrian/biker questions

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The main feature of pedestrians participating in road traffic is _________.

A. They move slowly (see questions below)

B. The like to get together and look on (at accident scenes for sure)

C. They are not stable (see questions below)

D. They walk around at will and can easily change directions (see questions below)

Answer: D

 I say……. E. All of the above and I base that on the questions below.

When encountering an old man on the road, the driver should _____.

When encountering a blind man on the road, the driver should _________.

When a vehicle encounters an old man riding bike on the road, the driver should ______.

I was sure the next question in this sequence was going to be: When encountering a blind, old man riding a bike on the road, the driver should                                         .

When encountering old people walking on the road and obstructing the traffic, the driver may continuously honk to urge them to yield.

When encountering slow-moving old people crossing the road, the driver may continuously honk to urge them.  I guess the difference between these two questions is pace: in this one the people are old and slow-moving whereas the one above they are simply old.

When encountering pedestrians who lack traffic experience, the driver should watch out, control the speed and be ready to stop or yield anytime.

When driving in a rainy day, the driver should _____ when a pedestrian holding umbrella or in raincoat is walking on the highway. What if they’re not holding an umbrella but wearing a raincoat or vice versa? Pedestrians’ clothing plays an important role when encountering them on the highways, as we all know from the cotton-padded caps or overcoats question.  🙂

When encountering drunk pedestrians on the road, the driver should _______.

When encountering pedestrians on the road who are highly concentrated in speaking over cell phones, the driver should _____.

When a pedestrian suffering behavioral disorder obstructs the normal flow of the vehicles on the road, the driver should ______.

5:30 PM – a very pleasant, non-humid 84° ( I think autumn is here ;-))

I passed!

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As promised some more sample questions from the driver’s manual are below with more to come. The good news is that I passed my test and no longer need the manual.  I’m so happy and more than a little relieved. Now I can legally drive and rent a car in the US. I can’t wait to see the look on the face of the rental car agent when I plunk my Chinese license down on the counter the first time.

Ben claims that it takes most Chinese 3 or 4 tries to pass the test but I think he was just being nice. 😉 The girl at the computer next to me though? I think it may take her ten times with her strategy. I have no idea what she was doing. She was clicking her mouse four times to every one of mine. There is no way she was able to read that fast. I think she was simply hoping that she was guessing correctly.

 

Question: When encountering a flock of sheep crossing a road, the driver should _______. 

A. Honk continuously to drive away the flock

B. Speed up and bypass the flock

C. Drive slowly and use the vehicle to scare away the flock

D. Reduce speed and go slowly, or stop to yield when necessary

Answer: D   (I would think that the same is true for any flock, herd, or gathering of animals. I’m nut sure why sheep are singled out.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Question: When discovering animals cutting in on the road, the driver should _______.  

A. Voluntarily reduce speed or stop to yield

B. Honk to drive them away

C. Speed up and bypass

D. Reduce speed and use the vehicle to drive away them

Answer: A    (Even animals cut in!)

 

Question: When encountering somebody herding animals on the road, the driver should _____.

A. Honk to indicate him to yield

B. Properly reduce speed and keep a large safe distance

C. Swiftly bypass

D. Follow closely

Answer: B

 

Question: When animals abruptly cross a road, the driver should evade if it is safe for the passengers and goods in the vehicle.

Answer: Right  (Interesting that the safety of passengers and goods are equally important. Hmmm.)

 

Question: When animals cross a road and impede the traffic, the driver may continuously honk to drive them away.

Answer: Wrong

 

Question: When a vehicle encounters an animal-drawn cart on the road, the driver should _______.

A. Suddenly speed up and bypass

B. Honk when approaching

C. Honk in distance and reduce speed in advance

D. Follow closely

Answer: C

 

China is a paradox and makes for a very interesting life.

3:30 PM – 90°

Oh the irony

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WOW, it’s been way too long since I wrote. The only excuse is that I had a busy summer: I started working, Kiersten and Steven were here for 2 weeks :-), and I had a hysterectomy. Everything is fine with the latter but I felt that I needed to check out the health-care and hospital systems in China and Hong Kong. Isn’t that what everyone does? I’m getting back into my normal routine so I need to start writing again or I’ll be on my way back to the US and I won’t have anything to jog my memory of what I did the last few years in China.

The latest escapade is that I’m attempting to get my Chinese driver’s license. I don’t want to but it’s a necessity. Here’s the background story. My Ohio license expires in 3 weeks. I must be present in order to renew unless I’m in the military, I’m not. 😉  I called the American Consulate in GZ and it was suggested that I try to obtain one in VA. I have bank statements sent there and the state would accept that as proof of residency. The problem with that is that my license will expire before I arrive and no longer valid.  I believe that the amount of US income tax dollars that we pay each year more than covers the cost of a US driver’s license…I’m just saying. So I’ve been forced to get my Chinese license. Truthfully, it’s been an easier process than I expected and certainly not without it’s “Chinese” moments and I’ve had a few laughs along the way. Like I told Ben, I find it hilarious that I have to get a Chinese driver’s license so that I can drive a car, not in China but the US! 🙂

The first step was to have my passport and Ohio license translated. Yep, my passport was once again circulating through China for a few days. We had to work that around the need for travelling with Kiersten and Steven, me going to Hong Kong for surgery, and having to re-register with the local police now that we have our new resident’s visas. That  was taken care of and the second step? Gotta get those photos taken. So it was back to Photomax only this time for some reason I had to wear a polo shirt that had the Photomax logo on it. EWWW. It’s been worn by countless other people applying for just about anything in China and it didn’t smell that great. I know you germaphobes are cringing but like so many things here one doesn’t question, one simply does.

The only other step to take before the big test was to get a copy of the manual to study, which leads me to the real reason for this post (and future ones). The downloaded version is 300+ pages and contains 1500 questions to study, of which 100 are selected at random for the test. I spent 4 hours studying for the test. At first I was scratching my head with some of the questions. I didn’t understand why they would feel that you had to know the answer. If the situation happened I’m sure that not one of the 1.3 billion residents would be able to tell you the answer and would have to go to the website and look it up. Fine, like I said sometimes you just have to play the game. But as I moved down the list and started to get into “Knowledge on Safe and Courteous Driving” I found myself laughing. I feel that if I choose to drive here (I won’t) I am now prepared to be a safe and courteous driver in ANY situation that could possibly arise.  So I’m going to spend the next few days easing myself back into writing more regularly by posting some of my favorite questions. What you see in red was copied and pasted from the manual, I have not embellished in any way.

Right or wrong:   When encountering people carrying load on shoulder poles or carrying farm tools on shoulders, the driver should observe their movement, control speed and pass by keeping a sufficient safe distance. Answer: Right

My personal situation: When I see the old man who has a live turtle that he pulled from the river hanging from his pole and is standing on the side of the road trying to sell it to passers-by on our island because as we all know turtle soup is good for acne, I will observe the movement (and I think I need to watch that live turtle as well because I’m not sure when he’s going to bolt), control my speed, and pass by keeping a sufficient safe distance.

Right or wrong:   When encountering pedestrians wearing cotton-padded caps or overcoats in winter, the driver should honk and be ready to brake. Answer: Right-DUH.

The question I thought coming next was: When encountering male pedestrians wearing baseball caps who have their shirts rolled up past their nipples in summer and this includes you Anders (see Favorite people photos – 1st year :-)), the driver should honk, be ready to brake, and yell out the window that no one wants to see that. Answer: Right!!! This question did not come next but I think I should write to the Traffic Control Bureau, Ministry of Public Security to let them know that this is a missed opportunity.

Stay tuned because there are several of these gems. Some involve old men, old men at night, old men on bikes, old people walking, slow-moving old people crossing the road, drunks, animals, AND herds of sheep.

9AM – 84°

Not what I expected (not the first time nor will it be the last)

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I noticed a huge cultural difference in one of my recent classes (the kind where I’m the teacher and not the student). I teach a small group of women from a large corporation and they LOVE social English, not so much the business English which is what they’re supposed to be learning. Anyway, for the first 15-20 minutes I try to do something fun with them. This week I did the “Your apartment is on fire, your family and pets are safe, but you can only take 5 items with you that will fit in a suitcase” game. The answers were surprising.

Person 1

money

cell phone

ID card

Person 2

backpack (which contains money, cell phone, and ID card)

jewelry

laptop

house deed

Person 3

money

ID card

cell phone

jewelry

Person 4

wallet (which contains money and ID card)

hard drive storage unit

photos

Person 5

photos

award

tea cup

postcard collection – postcards she sends herself  when she travels (I wish I had thought of that!) and postcards from her friends and family.

*****They couldn’t all come up with 5 items so I made allowances for that. I’m a nice teacher like that. 😉

I know Chinese people are practical but only one person chose all sentimental items. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not judging their choices but their answers were different from what I was expecting. When they asked me (I had not planned on offering up my answers but they asked so I did) I answered: my photo CDs, Bible, treasure box (which contains all the great little cards, letters, and small sentimental gifts from Kiersten, Andrew and Anders, my mom and dad, friends, and former students), and my old passport.  I was using the exercise to learn more about them individually and as a springboard to more conversation. As usual, I was the who had my mind opened.

4PM – 93°

Chinese haircut

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For the first ten months in China I had my hair cut by a very nice Australian woman. She worked out of her apartment and it couldn’t have been better. Communicating was a piece of cake and she knew exactly what to do. The day that I was dreading arrived and she left Guangzhou. There were a lot of ex-pats that were sad to see her leave. She had a loyal following because she spoke English, did a good job,  AND worked for herself which meant that she was cheaper than if you went to a “western” salon (not saloon ;-)).

Before she left she recommended a place where she got her hair cut (always good to know who cuts your stylist’s hair) but he was expensive because he was in one of those aforementioned western salons. Anders found a place in the building where he works and I thought I’d give it a try. He told me that when I called to make the appointment there would be someone who spoke English and they’ll just call them to the phone. He also told me that his stylist doesn’t speak much English but again, there is someone there that will help translate the first time. (Insert loud, obnoxious buzzer sound.) I called several times and was able to determine in Chinese that there was no one that spoke English and was unable to get past that. D, lovely D, made the appointment for me. Guess what? There wasn’t anyone there when I arrived that spoke English either. It’s just all part of the fun. It’s hair, it will grow back if the cut’s awful. So after much “communicating” which consisted of pointing, making cutting motions with our fingers, a little Chinese, and even less English we were ready to start.

It started with a 15-minute scalp massage/shampoo. It’s heaven! I’m falling asleep writing this because I’m thinking about how relaxing it was. Like any massage in China, they are doing things under the guise of a massage but I think I got my  kidneys cleaned as well as my hair. The person that does the shampoo is not the one that cuts your hair. OK, I can deal with that, that’s not so uncommon in the US. Winnie, not the Pooh, cut my hair. She did a fantastic job, no doubt about that. It just took 50 minutes! I was kind of nervous about having someone who wasn’t as familiar western hair cut it but she did a great job. She was meticulous but it paid off. To be honest it’s the best haircut I’ve had in years. I thought I would be on my way but no…wait…there’s more. How about another 7 minute scalp massage/shampoo? Why thank you very much. A different person provided that. So this was the third person to touch my hair. I’m wonder if that’s the norm or there were that many people who wanted to touch it. Makes no difference to me because…here it comes…I know you’re sick of hearing it…THEY ARE ALL SO NICE! I went back to Winnie’s chair and finally the translator showed up. At that point we didn’t need her, we had managed and I had a great haircut. Somebody else dried it, Winnie put in the gel and FINALLY, 90 minutes later I was on my way.

To recap:

4 people either cut, shampooed, or dried my hair

Combined I had 22 minutes of massage and shampoo

Got a great haircut

How much do you think it cost? This is not Chen’s barbershop on the corner near the wet market where I know you can get a haircut for 75¢, no lie. This is a salon in a large office building. It cost $11 and no tip! Talk about value for money: all the above and a clean set of kidneys. Yep, there are some things that will be difficult to give up when we return to the US.

3PM – 95°