Mushroom Haze

I can’t believe I’ve only been here for two days; they’ve been so packed with new information to process that I’m on sensory overload. I’m also totally exhausted after my first day of work, so I think this will be brief. The highlights of the day were:

1) The aspects of my full physical at the international hospital that involved checking me for color blindness. Here my Chinese failed me. Picture me looking at a series of color-blindness-test-pattern dots (I guess my English is failing me also) and correctly seeing images that I don’t know the Chinese words for. It’s a pair of scissors! “Um – it’s the thing that you use to cut stuff!” It’s a camel! “Er – it’s that big hairy animal with a lumpy back!” They also checked my sense of smell by sticking a jar of rubbing alcohol under my nose. Why not?

2) Going to XYZ’s drop-in center for drug users with one of my new co-workers. There I got a full tour of the drop-in center’s services (HIV testing, health education, room for weight-lifting, giant TV, etc.), met some of the “members” who come to the drop-in center – often bringing their small children – and was given a lengthy and animated speech on the history of the drop-in center by one of the head Peer Educators with a heavy Kunming accent. She wore a lacey see-through top, a giant bouffant hairdo and penciled-on eyebrows. (I will leave you to consider what her former profession was.) I understood maybe 10% of what she said – don’t tell anyone.

3) My first awesome meal in Kunming: Mushroom Hotpot. This is a Yunnan specialty, but hotpot is a China-wide meal featuring a giant boiling pot of broth/oil into which you throw various things; in this case, all mushrooms. As I was sitting with a few of my new co-worker buddies and trying to flex my Chinese small talk muscles, I couldn’t help but think of how RP would have been in dire misery faced with a meal consisting entirely of fungus – but I was in heaven. Unfortunately, I have no pictures, even though I promised a one Mr. N. Rich that I would take some of my tasty meals here. Next time.

And now to bed. Happy July!

P.S. Camel = 骆驼 (luò tuo). Scissors = 剪刀 (jiǎn dāo). HA!

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