Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chinese Medicine Massage

Bev and I have been getting a massage since the second day we came to China. Our boss actually set up massages for all the new employees. So now we have tried a number of different locations around our area. You can always tell if you've found a massage place because there will be girls out front in fluffy pink or blue prom dresses to invite you in. Each business has a slightly different slant on massage. I think all the teachers at our school get massages. People seem to have their favorite place. Kind of like your favorite coffee spot.

I have to tell you that Bev has tried a much wider number of places and types of massage, such as full body Thai massage. Ok, so we have our favorite place, and our favorite masseuse. We could not pronounce their Chinese names and so we gave them American names based on what we heard them say their names were. So Bev goes to Jim and Tim goes to Suzy, they are now use to their new names. We think this is better than what the business gives them for names which is "Boy 110", "Girl 100". We laugh a lot and have a good time together.

I could give you a complete description of the whole basic Chinese Medicine Foot massage, but it is better that you experience it yourself. This is the standard massage that I get, and usually Bev is with me. This massage starts at your neck and gets to your feet about 45 minutes later, and then works on your feet for 45 min. When your done you are totally relaxed and ready to go straight to sleep.

Some of our friends have introduced us to the Hair Wash. Great experience. My head never felt better. You have to have some time for this as it takes about an hour. Total cost, under $5.00 the same cost as the basic Chinese Medicine foot massage. I had my ears candled when I had the hair wash. See the pics above of Bev getting a hair wash! and Tim getting his ears candled.

Bottom line this is one of the big benefits of living in China. Bev has increased her massages to two or three a week. I am keeping mine at the once a week for right now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Construction Work

Since we have been in Shekou, just over two months, I have seen lots of building and changes. It is pretty incredible, I have actually seen buildings constructed in under two weeks, only to be torn down for some reason less than two weeks later. "Why?" You just have to say "It's China" . It is what everyone says here when we see things that seem to make almost no sense at all. Building is happening everywhere and with what seems to be few codes to follow and lots of workers large buildings appear very quickly.

Saftey considerations for workers are pretty non-existent. Also as a pedestrian you must alway be aware of where you walk, it may be right through a construction site. Something that in the US would be walled off keeping pedestrians at least 40 or 50 feet away. Not in China. Sometimes they will use a line of plastic caution tape but not always!

Here are some examples, I know my son-n-law Sean will be amazed to see some of these. I have rarely seen saftey ropes, safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection etc. You routinely see welding everywhere. It seems that welding goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, gogles are very rare.

Light pants, short sleeve t-shirts, and plastic flip-flops, with a straw hat our the clothes of choice for the construction trade. There seems to be few rules with as many workers as there are available, someone is always waiting to get your job. Shenzhen has people coming to the city at a rate of over 600,000 per year!

Tools! The main tool of choice is a heavy metal bar or rod. It can be used to do almost anything. Power tools if used are usually surrounded by 4-6 men. I saw a sledge hammer being used from afar. What was amazing was that evey time it when above the worker' head that was swinging it, it seemed to bow backwards. I couldn't figure out why I was seeing this optical illusion, until I got closer and saw that the handle had been replaced with a piece of bamboo! Somebody may be headed for a splitting headache.

The man above that was painting had on street shoes and no rope or safety gear of any kind. He was doing touch-up four stories above an all concrete sidewalk! If he refused to do this job someone else would have his job.

One think that is very amazing is that the materials used are absolutely wonderful. Lots of marble and granite everywhere. Otherwise the construction material of choice is a low grade cement block, that will later be covered with stucco, or tile. I have observed eight foot walls that are 100 yards long built in one or two days. Sometimes parts of them fall down a few weeks later! I saw a sidewalk torn up and built to completion only to be torn-up again the next week rebuilt and yes it happened a third time, in a three week time frame. We could only guess that the buses wanted a little more road on that section of the street and needed the sidewalk trimmed down. Where are the engineers?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Eyeglasses

Not that I needed new glasses but I thought it would be great to get a pair of glasses that I could wear when working on the computer. My progressives force me to tip my head back to use the lower section of the lens. I had read about this place in Kowloon, part of Hong Kong, that was set-up as a high production optical supply company. Were you could get a pair of glasses while you wait. I told another co-worker about it and she got a couple of pair of glasses and was very pleased.

Eric, another teacher at the school, and I decided to make a overland trip to see if we could get to Hong Kong any easier and less expensively than our current method of using the ferry. We found out we can in about the same amount of time and with a bit more flexibility and a cost savings of about 75%. The trade off is all the transitions you have to make. We took a taxi, bus, light rail, above ground subway, below ground subway, and a change of lines with the subway. You have to watch your stops very closely. And of course the reverse of this on the return trip.

Ok, so we found the glasses place located in an industrial area of the city. After entering the building which had an all marble entry, guard and very fancy directory, we went to the 12th floor of the building via a freight elevator that had a attendant to press the button for your floor. Nice work if you can get it. When we entered the space we saw that it had tables in the center area with chairs and lots of glass frames all around the outside edge. We were earlier than the advertised opening time and that was good since it was already open and only a few people had arrived. That changed very quickly. Erick immediately had an eye exam, I had to wait because I had worn my contacts and had to take them out and wait for my eyes to re-adjust before the exam. The entire process was set-up for production. There were four rooms for eye exams. After you had your exam and picked out your desired frame, they sat down with you to review the various lens options. Coatings, UV, etc. You make your choices they give you a price and then you enjoy looking at the sunglasses, wild designs, and enjoy a cold boxed tea. In less than 15 min. your glasses are brought back and the optometrist checks the fit and makes adjustments. They take your money and send you off with new glasses a plastic case, polishing cloth and glasses screwdriver.

Total time about 45 minutes, unless you take extra long making your frame choice. To give you an idea of the cost, Eric had UV coatings and extras, I didn't but I chose a more expensive frame and had a more difficult to grind lens. His cost in US dollars was $29.00 mine was $36.00, the eye exam was free if you buy glasses.

So far my glasses are great. I call them my apartment glasses as they work great for reading, computer work, or just watching TV in our apartment. The picture of me with the blue-dot frames are the ones I ended up with.

Check the link for more info.