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Scrubs in Beijing Fourth year medical student from Houston, traveling to Beijing to study Chinese medicine and Chinese beer

Even Lazier Sunday

CHINA | Sunday, 20 April 2008 | Views [985]

I was going to go to Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Lama Temple, and maybe see some hutongs today. Was, until I woke up and it was pouring rain and cold. I spent a leisurely day mostly in bed instead. I got up for breakfast, came back, slept through lunch, and woke up this afternoon. I've been organizing pictures and trying to finish some of the older stories on here. I also added titles for every other story I need to complete but haven't. There will continue to be tons of construction on here, probably until long after I've gone home, so keep coming back to check it out. Also, if you find an error, please let me know.

Funny story from today: a small group of students took a side trip to Beidahe, on the coast. They left yesterday morning by train and returned this afternoon. Late last night, our leader received a panicked phone call from one of the guys: they'd been asked for their passports, but several people didn't have them. Henry was able to read their passport numbers off his printed list, and disaster was averted.

This afternoon, the group hadn't returned by 4 like they'd said. Henry was off at the airport, picking up his friend. At some point, Laura received a phone call from the group on the train, looking for Henry, who wasn't here. She heard brief snatches of a story involving a hospital and a train passenger with an injured finger, but the connection was bad. She told those few of us at dinner what she'd heard, and then when Henry arrived she filled him in--after getting him a beer.

Finally, people from the train straggled in--soaking wet and freezing cold, and the story emerged:

One of the guys, Brian, who is fairly accident-prone, had gone to the restroom on the train. He closed the door behind himself, but it was opened by the conductor, who pulled him out and pointed to a female passenger who was holding her hand. Apparently, she'd had her hand near the door, and when he'd shut the door, her finger was smushed in some fashion. He apologized and went back to his seat.

After a few minutes, a group of train officials came to his seat, with the injured party, and began to argue with him. She kept asking him, "What are you going to do about it?", which apparently means, "Pay up". This was being translated through several different people. He kept apologizing, but she kept demanding money. One member of the group called the American Embassy for advice, but they told him it would be wise to just pay up. By that point, everyone was encouraging Brian NOT to pay her, as she was clearly extorting funds. As we are a group of doctors to be, her finger was examined and declared to probably be fine. Eventually, though, it was decided to take her to a hospital when they arrived in Beijing. At one point, an official had grabbed Brian's passport, making him really anxious, but it was returned to him in due fashion, and he wasn't arrested.

An ambulance was waiting at the train station when they arrived. This was utterly ridiculous for a minor injury to a finger, but they complied with it. The rate was 2 yuan per kilometer, making it cheaper than a cab (which is also 2 yuan per km but with a 10 yuan starting fee). They went to Tonghren Hospital, where her finger was x-rayed and declared to be fine. Brian paid the 350 yuan hospital bill, but was mostly pleased that none of the money went to the girl. He eventually came home, along with Roger, our one student who speaks Mandarin (and who went with him to translate at the hospital), and eventually got some food.

A near miss in China.

Tags: third week

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