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Nanjing, Day 12

Nanjing, China



In the morning we were able to visit an acupuncture clinic. The clinic was much smaller than the hospital but they were especially welcoming and friendly. There was much more room to observe as a group as well. We were able to see patients being treated with acupunture, e-stim, cupping and tui-na massage.

In the hallway I talked with a local farmer who travels to the clinic weekly. He said that he used to go to the hospital that we visited yesterday but hates it there. He said that they just gave him the same patent pills over and over to treat his back pain. The results weren't that great. He said, "That place isn't a hospital, it's a shopping mall! they don't treat you as a patient, your just a number in line there." He enjoyed going to the clinic and said his treatments were getting results now. We later said thanks to the doctors there and stopped for a quick group picture before heading out.

After lunch a few of us went with Robert to hike Zi Jing Mtn. with our local guide Sean. We climbed most of the mountain and got to see several medicinal plants in the wild before the rain started to come down. We then hustled back down to ahve the bus pick us up.

Dinner was at the same restaurant as yesterday, only we had a special meal cooked with medicinal herbs. While there were some novelty dishs such as Bitter Mellon (pretty spicy and darn bitter) and Pig Lung Soup (actually really tasty), the meal was really good. We had fun guessing some of the herbal ingredients before Yulien was kind enought to translate to menu to tell us what was really in the meal.

After dinner Sean arranged Tui Na massages for those interested. The clinic we went to had mostly blind therapists giving 1 hour massages. They were great and we all appeared an hour later glassy eyed and sleepy. We thought how in the States the session would have cost $80 versus the $8 that we spent.


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 26, 2005 from Nanjing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Herbs, Medicine, Nanjing, Hospital, TCM, Acupuncture, Clinic, Doctor, Tuina, ZiJingMountain and Mountain

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Nanjing, Day 11

Nanjing, China


Today was a well-needed slow day.
The morning's plan to visit a large TCM Hospital was rejected due to some miscommunication. The hospital was obviously going through some serious changes and reconstruction. With that came a rather exclusive attitude, especially to foreigners. They were only going to let us stay for about a half hour instead of three. That wasn't the plan and it wasn't good enough. So we canceled and left. However, a few hours later, we scheduled another visit with a different TCM clinic for the next day. We were relieved to find a quick substitute, since many members were excited about seeing medicine practiced in China. It all worked out for the best, since several people were feeling tired and probably needed a slow day to recover.

After a drive in golf carts around the park, the remainder of the group opted out of visiting the nearby temple in exchange for going back to the hotel early or visiting "electronic alley," a place for pirated software and knock off electronics and cheap MP3 players. It was packed and definitely catering more to the local crowd's needs.

After dinner the group Split up to go back to the hotel, out shopping, visit the local Pizza Hut (which is more like a fancy, expensive restaurant in China, not fast food; even though it still is) or out to a nearby nightclub.

For those who went to the nightclub, it was another night of dancing. The dance floor however, was tiny and packed with locals, who were very interested in our presence. After a few beers, many of them were coming over to practice their English on us. It's hard to be hidden in place like that when you're white and 6'3."

After the dancing and bizarre variety show interludes with dancers, crappy live bands and a drag queen, we took taxis back to the hotel in the rain. It was a great night together.

http://www.belila.com/Chinatour/


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 24, 2005 from Nanjing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Botany, Medicine, Golfcart, Theft, Nanjing, Pirated, Chinese, Hospital, Clnic, TCM and Computer

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Nanjing, Day 10

Nanjing, China


We arrived in our new hotel, which was a huge 4 star hotel holding a computer conference. Although the hotel was packed for the weekend, we could tell that we were going to be spoiled here.

After check-in, we went to the Nanjing Botanical gardens nearby. This is where Robert worked a lived fro a few years. We got to meet some of his old friends and teachers and pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. We spent a few hours there going over the many different medicinal herbs, many of which Robert originally planted there in 1997. It was a lovely garden that had a new teahouse built to relax in. After sipping tea for a bit and playing with some of the local kids (balloons are a huge hit with the kids here) we went back to the hotel.

Dinner was in the city downtown, which is a decent drive from the hotel. After the meal we had free time to walk along a promenade. It was Friday night, so all the shops were open late. Here you can find anything... pirated movies or CD's (good quality ones too for $1US), pet stores, silk stores, gift shops, handcrafts, fast food, etc. It was great to hang out with the locals and haggle at the shops. It was barely enough time to even scratch the surface.

After that, it was back to the hotel, where we had to go exploring. The hotel is huge and the nicest one by far on the trip. Some of us wandered around and came across a disco... this disco is like 2 stories underground in what could be the dampest, moldiest part of the city. It looked like nobody even knew it existed! In fact, for a little while, we doubted if it even did. Going down the hallway, everyone was laughing at how surreal the wallpaper and giant mirrors were. The name David Lynch was mentioned a lot when trying to describe it to the others who didn't check it out. Anyway, it was rewarding, we found Coronas and a lit-up disco floor with a video projector behind it. We had the whole place to ourselves, so the Michael Jackson music video marathon began. Who knew we had so many good dancers on the trip?


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 23, 2005 from Nanjing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Botany, VCD, Nanjing, BotanicalGarden, TeaHouse, DVD, CD and Pirated

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Hangzhou/ Shanghai, Day 14

Hangzhou, China


It was a tight day, there was a lot to squeeze in.
We started by hiking up Phoenix Mtn. and see herbs there. This was the last hike, so naturally we had to get separated as a group in order to keep with the tradition. It was a nice day out and the trail was lined with new slate tiles all the way. Robert grabbed a couple of samples to show us on the trail and later on the bus.

During lunch we all decided that while Hangzhou is a niced city, we were ready to move on to Shanghai earlier and wanted to all have a formal, final dinner together.
So we revised the schedule a bit.

Next we visited the West lake tea farm. Along the drive you could see all the tea growing on the hill side. Here we met some of the local farmers who pick the green tea leaves and pan-dry it for 8 hours each day by hand. It's an arduous task and explained why the tea is expensive to produce. Then we met "Dr. Tea" who then explained all the benefits of green tea as well as the various grades there of. He was a total salesman with animated demonstrations. The teas though, tasted nice. Of course, we had to buy some, since it is hard to find good quality tea in the US.

We then had to hurry to catch our boat ride on west lake. The day started off beautifully and continued that way while we were out on the water, the weather was perfect. The ride offered nice views of the surrounded hills which were dotted with pagodas and temples. In the distance you could see the modern city, a drastic contemporary contrast to the ancient buildings. It was a perfect snapshot of modern China.

After the lake, we had about an hour to squeeze in any last minute shopping at the promenade in town. there were lots of paintings, textiles, handcrafts and snacks to be had. So much to buy, so little time.

Then it was our last 3 hour bus ride to our final destination: Shanghai.
The city was all lit up. Shanghai is a city with the height of NYC, the width of LA and the electric light overload of LV. Our hotel was located right on the end of the "Bund," an area along the river where on one bank there are all old European colonial buildings and the other all skyscrapers made during the last 10 years. It was a great drive and a perfect introduction to the chaotic city.

We quickly checked into our hotel, which was all Art Deco and made in the 30's. Then it was nice final dinner together. We were all able to fit at one large table this time. After many toasts and thanks to one another we called it a night. it was great to wrap up the trip together this way. So much had happened in the past weeks, you could barely remember all the events. At this point, the traveling had taken a toll and most of us were exhausted. We had to prepare for the next day, check out and leave Shanghai at noon. A few brave souls walked around the Bund and checked out Shanghai's night life.


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 28, 2005 from Hangzhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Herbs, Medicine, Nanjing, TeaHouse, Mountain, Hangzhou, TeaFarm, Phoenix, PhoenixMountain, Herbal, Tea, Boat, BoatRide, Lake, ArtDeco and Bund

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Nanjing/ Hangzhou, Day 13

Nanjing, China


We checked out in the morning and drove over to Nanjing Pharmaceutical University where we met Dr. Chen and the director there. They took us on a brief tour of the school and a small herb museum while we waited for the herb garden to be unlocked. No pictures allowed.

While waiting a few of us wondered around campus. We saw a few thousand students dressed in military outfits yelling chants and marching around the grounds with rifles. It was strange to see such a presence at a medical school, we wondered if it had anything to do with the upcoming holiday: National Day. Sean told us that it was just a way of breaking in the new freshmen, in an attempt to convince them that school is serious and not a place to party. He thought it was a funny sight too... because the students have little to do with the military at all. Still, it was a frightening to see.

Meanwhile DJ and Patricia were on a mission to buy one of the student jumpsuits that say "Nanjing Pharmaceutical University" on it. The campus store wouldn't sell it to them and thought that something was up, because no foreigners would want such a thing. In the end they were able to trade some stuff from the US with some students there and got the jackets. We were finally able to get into the garden and Robert took us on a tour reviewing the herbs that were growing there.

We only spent a few hours there and most of it was spent wondering around the campus, which is a very different experience then that of any school in the US. Students are 4-8 in single room. Everything is cold concrete communist-style. For fun, there's ping-pong and badminton (only after marching). we then said goodbye to Dr. Chen and our local guide Sean and were off for lunch.

After that we were off for another 3-4 hour bus ride to Hangzhou. This time it was a scenic, sunny drive. We saw lots of farms and then suburban developments; building was everywhere. Along the way was an awesome new rest-stop. We were able to stock up in water and some comforts of home (well, they had Lay's chips.. even if they were cucumber flavor or Italian meat-sauce flavored). We got a kick outta that place. Then it was back on the bus.

We arrived in Hangzhou in the evening. Before checking in at the hotel, we met our local guide Jerry and went to visit a silk factory. It was pretty cool to see how all these tiny filaments are spun into thread and then spooled into what looks like cob webs. It's quite strong when massed together. The guide showed us the way to determine whether silk is pure or not: you burn it.... Umm, OK. If it's white smoke, it's real, black it's not. Good luck trying that one at Macy's. Naturally, there was a silk store next to the factory which had anything silk you could want. Some people bought some bedding, but most of us just wanted to checkin and pass out.



permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 27, 2005 from Nanjing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Herbs, Medicine, Nanjing, TeaHouse, TCM, Doctor, Hangzhou, TeaFarm, NationalDay, University, NanjingPharmaceuticalUniversity, Silk, SilkFactory and Clothes

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In search of the perfect seven dollar meal (continued)

Hoi An, Vietnam


I'm still in Hoi An, halfway through my 30 day visa. It's just that pleasant here. Tonight, I had to avoid another incredible Vietnamese meal, if only to keep my sanity. The food is so good. The food is so cheap! I usually go for two appetizers, a main dish, and possibly a couple glasses of the local beer if they have it on tap. And I still have not broken five dollars!

Went Indian tonight. It was good too, but I fear it will only send me back into the fried wontons and white rose with renewed vigor tomorrow. I may never escape this accursed town!

So yeah, I've found the place in SE Asia that even my mother would enjoy. Clean, nice, four zillion tailors (I'm having a silk shirt made for $8, but only because I didn't bargain very hard.) Hot water, A/C if you want it, good coffee. Everything you could need, and cool spring weather to boot. Book a flight to Danang, and catch a shuttle on down. I'll probably still be here.


permalink written by  Jason Kester on April 10, 2004 from Hoi An, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, the Trans Siberian and Scandenavia
tagged Food

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Eatin' good in the neighborhood.

Hanoi, Vietnam


I just had another fantastic meal in Vietnam. The food here is SOOOO good! This one was slices of marinated, stirfried pork alongside little deep-fried packets of sticky rice wrapped in rice paper. Incredible. Throw in a plate of spring rolls and a half liter of tasty local beer, charge me four dollars, and I'm a happy man.

Vietnam is still groovy. Found a little roll-your-own springroll place on the street the other day, where they give you some wrappers, a bunch of mint leaves, and a giant platter of raw pork. I thought you were supposed to die if you ate uncooked pork, but the place was packed with locals and none of them seemed to care. Still alive, for the time being.

I'm on the train to China tomorrow night, for some climbing and chillin' in Yangshuo. If it were up to me, I'd take the next 2 months to go through China slowly, then maybe another month for Mongolia and Russia. Unfortunately, the Russians are not too flexible with their visas. I committed to the dates thinking that 5 months in SE Asia would be plenty. It seems that no amount of time is ever quite enough.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on April 22, 2004 from Hanoi, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, the Trans Siberian and Scandenavia
tagged Food

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Peking Duck

Beijing, China


I'm in Beijing now, trying in vain to find a restaurant that will serve me some of that famous roast duck. Last night, I was drinking the good cheap local beer and and enjoying the conversation with a bunch of folks from the hostel. At about 4:15 am, somebody suggested that we should walk to Tienaman square to watch the amazing daily Sunrise flag raising ceremony. We barely made it there by 5:00, just in time.

Not at all impressive. But it was nice to see the Sunrise over Beijing, and we found a good restaurant for a breakfast of steamed dumplings and wonton soup. I woke up at 4:30, and am just now getting started with my day.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on May 6, 2004 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, the Trans Siberian and Scandenavia
tagged Food

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Chengdu Immersion

Chengdu, China


AM Herb Market.
PM Tong Ren Tang pharmacy Herb dinner in Qin Shan Fang Restaurant.
We're gonna stay at the 3 star Nine Dragon hotel for 4 nites.


permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on March 20, 2005 from Chengdu, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Spring 2005
tagged Food, Herbs, Medicine, TCM, TongRenTangPharmacy and QinShanFangRestaurant

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Medical Day

Chengdu, China


Full day at Chengdu's Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) college and hospital. In the evening we had the hot pot dinner.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on March 21, 2005 from Chengdu, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Spring 2005
tagged Food, Herbs, Medicine, Hospital, TCM, Pharmacy and HotPot

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