I just returned from a two-week trip - my first to China - and still feeling the affects, sleep-wise. Not used to seeing 1:00 and 2:30 AM on my bedside clock!
My host, Michael Li, a Putt Doctor associate, planned a perfect trip, first class, VIP the entire way into and around this huge country of 1.3 billion people. While we fell short of seeing that many students in our clinics, some interesting situations are worth discussing.
First, the Chinese I was around we’re both friendly and interested. I remember one roadway stop where my host wanted to stop and experience local flavors for me, I was the only English-looking person amongst the hundred odd others, and quickly noticed I was receiving a lot of curious stares.
Many smiled and nodded but most just stared. It was unusual to feel like a ‘foreigner’, but obviously, I was!
We had five stops - two clinic days per stop. Flu clinic days on the amazing tropical island, called Hainan. Another was in Guangzhou, a LARGE city, also Shanghai - an even larger city, and Kunming which reminded me of going to Vail, Colorado as we climbed the mountain next to the city.
Many people could say nice to meet you or welcome to China in English all I could get in my brain was Ni Hou, “hello” in Chinese.
I used Google Translate often, and it was surprisingly fairly accurate. My host spoke good English and understood it so translation was not a problem.
Two observations I thought were meaningful to pass along. First, most every meal with students, the adult males would sit near me and would grab my arm for a picture and state, “we need each other!” This was demonstrated by them holding up two fingers side by side - they would go on to say, “US-China, two great countries must get along!” Of course, I agreed and was more than pleased to hear the people speak of this desire.
On the flip side, the government of China wasn’t discussed in a positive light. Not only was discussions of the waste of the year and by government and banks in particular but also lamenting on the banning of government employees from playing golf.
This made no sense as, to play golf meant; you must take a golf cart - dollars for the establishment, you must take a caddy per person four caddies for a foursome - the caddies rode on the back of the carts - and that meant dollars for the people.