Band-Aid Victory

I packed up this morning after breakfast (did I mention there is a full salad bar at breakfast?) and Sun Li came to help me check out of the hotel. The tour driver arrived promptly and took me to the Holiday Inn central plaza, which is so swank, I double checked my itinerary to make sure the cost was included.

After my march around the performing arts bubble last night, I was running short on bandaids so I went out to try and get some. The map on my phone indicated a drug store was near, so walked down the street, first one direction, then the other. (The map is not much use away from the wifi. Google maps would usually work, but they are not on good terms with China, so nothing Google on my phone works.

So here’s the thing. The names are all in Chinese, and there is not always a clear window display, at least not on this street that is more residential. So I was really relived when I finally saw the English word: pharmacy. The word Band aid seems to be universal and I bought two boxes for about $1.60. They didn’t have a nail clipper, or at least they didn’t have whatever they thought I wanted when I made my nail clipping motion, but the lady pointed down the street and said “supermarket.” Feeling strong with this first success, I went on down the street and found a convenience store and made my little clip clip motion and got what I needed. It was only 8 yuan, and I offered a 10, but even though the register was right there, the clerk called outside to a man who came and reached behind some merchandise elsewhere in the store to get me the change. I felt pretty triumphant about my little shopping expedition, and even crossed a major intersection with confidence, although crossing streets has been where my guides were very protective of me. I think the lights and lines are more guidelines than laws, and cars, motorcycles, bikes, rickshaws, and little motor carts do not yield to pedestrians.

I’m not sure my day of rest is going to pan out. My student, Jack and his family are in the way here and there might be touring, and certainly: dinner. It will be nice to have someone to ask some questions about life here, like: does the sun ever shine here? Every day has been cloudy, and I don’t know if it is clouds or pollution. I mean there is clearly pollution in the air, but everyday has been overcast.

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