First Two Days – Great, then lousy

EMAIL HOME: SHANGHAI, SEPTEMBER 2-20, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Subject: First Two Days – Great, then lousy

Hi All,
Day 1 was most enjoyable. As Qin had a hospital appointment, I was shown around by Judy’s 17-year old niece, Candy. We wandered from the hotel to the ‘Old Street’ antiques market, that was just as vibrant as during my last visit to Shanghai. After that we eat Ningbo dumplings in the Old Town, before visiting the Yu Yuan Gardens. This is very attractive and almost as worthy as the more famous gardens in Suzhou. The gardens were well visited and gave ample photo opportunities (some attempted shots Candy did not approve of). We then decided to have a coffee and as is the case the world over, we ended up in a McDonalds! There we were joined by another of Judy’s nieces, 22-year old Jenny.

Here I could easily embarrassed myself as an attractive young Chinese woman walks towards me wearing skimpy bright yellow shorts with a bright red top. I whipped out my camera (yes, my camera Niels), and was suddenly bemused when she smiled at me. Only then did I realise that I was meeting another of the Judy clan, and I dropped my camera back to the ready position and welcomed her with my own beaming smile and bear hug. As Candy had to go home, I spent an enjoyable evening with Jenny having a meal, then a walk through the New Town with a stop to have an ice cream and a beer, spending the time ‘chewing the fat’ as the Yanks call it.

So Day 1 was a great success and a good start to my 6-week sojourn in China. I guess the one drawback was, and still is, the extreme humidity. I was swimming in my own saline solution for most of the time. Only in the evening did a light breeze come and dry out my clothes briefly. OK, it is warm, but not suffocatingly hot, it is just plain horribly humid. Still it is a coastal city, so I guess it is to be expected.

Day 2 started with a bolt to the lavatory, that I didn’t quite manage. I had become gradually aware of increasing stomach distress overnight, but I had not reckoned with this – an attack of ‘fuxie’ or in our own language, diarrhoea (you know I always get a great deal of satisfaction when I think I have spelt that word right! None, however, when I suffer from it). So, it was a case of constant visits and moppings up all day and night and today until about lunchtime. I knew part of my intention during this trip was to lose a bit of weight and break a couple of bad habits, but not in this sublimely ridiculous way. In between, I slept and slept, and learnt not to enjoy Chinese mineral water.

This evening I made my first tentative, groggy steps around four corners of the nearest streets ending back in the hotel in super-wet condition again. Very little eaten. I don’t believe in throwing good food down the drain!

I guess I look at the reasons for this episode in two ways; either it is as a result of acclimatisation, something I ate, etc, or the result from my sinful overindulgences at home. If the former, I plead for your sympathy, if the latter, I’ll kick my own butt, thanks. But please be considerate and err on the more favourable side. Thank you kindly. Next story is bound to come sometime, so please be patient.

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