Bloody Pigs

I am not going to post a video of butchering pigs. Yesterday I had an experience that will always stick out in my memory. I was at a friend’s house for dinner and the matriarch of the household, very old (older than me), was watching a video on her cell phone. She was laughing hysterically. This is Ms. Wang’s mother for those of you who know the Wang family. They are charming people.  I have often come to dinner for authentic Guizhou food, very good food.

So I happened to call Ms. Wang about suppertime and she immediately invited me to dinner with her family.  I was quite hungry and I was nearby the Zhongtian Gardens, where Ms. Wang’s mother lives. I was quite hungry and dinner was about ready. Ms. Want’s mother was looking at her cell phone and laughing, a lot.  She brought the phone over to show me and it was a frantic pig, a bloody pig, bleeding from a cut throat and running all over the room. I was somewhat horrified. I kind of agree with this PETA group that wants us to be kind to animals. So I was laughing too, but not at the hurt pigs, at the elderly lady who was enjoying the video so much.  She kept pushing the video in front of me to watch more. I did.

I was very hungry when I showed up for dinner, and I recovered from the trauma enough to have a fine Guizhou dinner, but it really showed me the culture difference.  Perhaps every older Chinese who lived on a farm once has seen the pig butchered. They have also seen their share of screw ups. I like to watch the dog videos where dogs tip the canoe over or push somebody into the swimming pool etc. Funny. Well this was a compilation of pig slaughters gone bad. The common them was they had the pig indoors ready to butcher, and they cut the pig’s throat. Somehow the cut wasn’t clean and  the pig got away. So this was a compilation of pig slaughters gone bad and people were getting knocked all over the room, covered in pig blood.  Trying to catch and kill an angry bloody pig isn’t so easy.

It usually took several men to catch the pig. A bloody pig seems about the same as a greased pig. After catching it they had to cut his throat and with the pig struggling, it took several slashes and stabs. The bloody pigs were eventually caught and killed but every video had all the people in the room covered in blood, room full of blood, and an angry pig. I you are accustomed to seeing pig blood because you have slaughtered pigs before, the video seems quite funny. My laughter was very nervous, that the old lady was having so much fun watching it, and I was on the verge of spoiling my dinner. I just mark it down to a cultural difference, but I won’t soon forget it. Funny.

Tourguizhou Gets “Salute”

The tourguizhou.com web site and tourguizhou wechat group received a “Community City Creativity Award” on December 31, 2018. In front of 400 members of the Guizhou Community Alliance. Jack Porter received a commemerative certificate,trophy, and a picture with flowers and the lovely MC – Yusi.

Jack gave a little talk about his nearly twenty year history with Guizhou Province and the seven year history of Tourguizhou. He explained how to use the search box and menus to find exclusively local information, all English content, about Guizhou Province.

 

 

 

English/Golf Workshop Holiday Special for Kids

Raymond Lo Cohen USPGA Golf Professional

Raymond Lo Cohen, USPGA, is a retired golf professional from Hong Kong. He has 18 years as a USA golf pro. He has retired in Guiyang and is offering a series of golf/English classes. 

Golfing with Raymond English/Golf Workshop is an ideal way for kids to learn English and Golf at the same time. The first five hour workshop will be hour per week sessions will be fun and be a big boost in English proficiency for students. Jack Porter, sponsor of this web site About Tourguizhou, has helped organize the event and will work with kids as a volunteer.

The event is planned for either February 22 or 23, depending on the weather and client response. The workshop  is for grade school age kids (6-13). The first classes will be offered at the new Golden Tulip Hotel in Jinyang, just minutes from the Beizhan Train Station. Class will be from 10 AM to 3:30 PM, including lunch. This is a saturation English environment, five hours. Raymond has several locations throughout Guiyang where he will be able to offer classes. The first class will feature putting in addition to basic swing and golf English. Other classes will be on a golf simulator or at a local driving range.

This English emersion class will be roughly half in the classroom and half outside. The Golden Tulip Hotel has a fully enclosed courtyard and mini golf area. A variety of classrooms are available at the GoldenTulip and the classroom shown here is the VIP room off of the main restauant.

The Minigolf Area

The Classroom

 Raymond has several foreign friends with at least one volunteer English teacher (native English speaking teacher). Foreign teachers (native English teachers) that want to volunteer can get free golf lessons and/or gifts if they participate. Referral fees and discounts can be discussed if you have interested students. Contact Raymond directly at 13984086686 for information about referrals

Raymond is fluent in English, Mandarin, Guizhouhua, and Guandonghua. Although the class plan is flexible depending on student needs, the current class plan is listed below:

Golf Lessons English Lessons

The object of the game
The names of the clubs
The Setup
The Grip
The Swing
Putting

Greetings and Making Friends
Sounds of the Letters
Songs with Colors and Animals
Simple Nouns
Simple Verbs
Simple Sentences

Students will have a good basic understanding of golf and basic English sentences and pronounciation.

Transportation: While the location is easy to get to make sure you ask about transportation when you register. The Hotel is just opposite the Yang Guang Xiao Qu. That location is served by several busses. 

There are several different facilities in Guiyang that may be available to students for specialized instruction. For future classes Raymond will make arrangements for future classes at a driving range or golf simulator.

Please note: When registering make sure to let us know your age, how many years of English you have had, and what special English practice you feel you need.

Contact the Raymond at 13984086686 for details. 

Bangkok Chiangmai Hospital and My Bad Back

Jumping right to the conclusion: whether you go in for a bad back or anything else, review your medical bills carefully before paying and make sure you ask for what you want from the moment you set the appointment . . .

I spent a $100 or so more than expected to address my bad back. The customer service and administration reviewed my complaints and eventually satisfied me. I finally got the exercise tips I went in for, but a lesson was learned.

I followed up my blood pressure issue in Chiangmai this trip (Jan 1- Jan 8) See: http://www.tourguizhou.com/bangkok-chiangmai-heart-center/. Since Thailand is known for it’s massages, I figured the Bankok Hospital therapists might know the best excercises to help my low back. I’ve had this condition (alignment problem in low back) for a good 35 or 40 years. Since Thailand is noted for both massages and kick boxing, this seemed like the place to go. I like massages and probably hurt myself with my Taikwondo kicks when I was young.

Unfortunately time was short the day I visited. All I wanted was to get some pointers on exercises that I should and shouldn’t do, and perhaps have a physical therapy session showing me the best treatments. The doctor insisted that I get an Xray before giving me advice. This was beyond what I really wanted but he assured me that it would only cost between 25 and 50 USD. He also asked about whether I had a back brace. When I told him no, he said he would give me one.

After the Xray he diagnosed my condition as spondylolithsis, a condition that I had already told him about. Since I was late for my bus back to the Hostel I was quickly given a brace by a tech and I paid my bill. It seemed high, but I didn’t really have time to review it. It was for both the visit to the heart specialist and the back issue.

My back doctor made an appointment for me for the following day to see a “consult specialist”. After reviewing the billing I discovered that the heart specialist and blood pressure medication totalled about $26.80 and the back related expenses totalled $185.47 The back brace that the doctor said he would give me cost $53.57 and the Xray related services, which were quoted to me at between $25 and $50 cost $85.71.

I didn’t appear for the appointment the following day out of fear of further charges. At that point I hadn’t received any physical therapy or advice of significance other than don’t do sit-ups and don’t bend the back.

The doctor seemed pre-programmed: Consult, Xray, Diagnose, sell a back brace, refer to the next doctor. I reviewed the entire event with the hospital administrators and I eventually got the therapy advice I needed. It was complimentary. Also, the Xray and brace were helpful, so I can’t really complain about the value. I simply relearned something I should already know: just because somebody speaks English doesn’t mean they listen to English well, or even that they are listening.

There is another point that came up as I talked to the administration and quality control boss. When coming into the hospital, it is important to be clear on what symptoms you have, how long you have had the symptoms, what prior treatment you have had, and what you want in way of treatment/results. Then, get an estimate of the costs.

The Chinese hospitals I have been to seem to have a good system. They bring you in and you pay a nominal sum to talk to the doctor, and then decide what needs to be done. Then you go to the cashier to pay for the treatments in advance. With paid receipt in hand, you go and get your treatment. That’s a Chinese system.

As a foreigner, if it is convenient, it is probably a good idea to sit down with some translation software and write out your issues and expectations prior to your visit. If not convenient, maybe the intake people can handle enough English to perform this function.

One of the leaders in the hospital spoke really excellent English. It turns out he was in the US military and served both Bush presidents, two campaigns, in Iraq. After retiring from the US military, he worked a few years in a US hospital before returning to his native Thailand. I got really good service from him, not only at the hospital, but he defended my country as well. He even went back to his native land and saved Trump the trouble of deporting him.

I can recommend the Bangkok Chiangmai Hospital for your health care needs. As noted above, you need to be clear from the outset what you expect and need, but the pricing is good and the people are competent and quite nice.

 

Chiangmai Airport and Bus to Suneta

Last visit to Chiangmai I had a bad taxi experience. I was charged 300 Baht ($9.26) for a ride to the hostel from the airport. The price should have been about 150. So this trip I used a bus, for 20 Baht ($0.62).

To access the bus system and go to Suneta you leave the airport terminal from Gate 1. That is a left turn out of the baggage area all the way to the opposite end of the terminal. Go out the gate and turn left about 150 meters to the bus area. Bus #3 is the one you want and tell the driver to drop you at the Tha Phae Gate. Follow the directions here: http://www.tourguizhou.com/chiangmai-suneta-hostel/

Guiyang’s Brutal Weather Forecast

One of Guiyang’s most attractive features is its moderate weather, except sometimes in the winter it is downright freezing. A good friend from Montreal has about the same weather as my home town, Traverse City (TVC). He said he has never been as cold as in Guiyang in the winter.

It seems that the occasional brutal weather is a combo of rain, snow, wind, and humidity. If you look at this forecast, note the humidity and wind. It can take your breath away. I live about at the 45th parallel in Traverse City, but no Traverse City winters have prepared me for this stuff.

I just checked Traverse City (Northern Michigan). . . Wind and rain is about the same, temperature is about the same too (Dec 27, 2018). There are two differences: humidity is in the 60s and 70s in TVC while it is in the 80s and 90s in Guiyang. The other difference is we walk more here and wait for buses outdoors. In TVC cars seem to get you much closer to your destination. Oh well, it’s a cold snap, about as bad as it gets here. TVC gets a lot colder . . . 20 below zero is not that uncommon.

Guiyang’s elevation is about 3600 feet compared to TVC elevation of about 650 feet. Even though Guiyang’s latitude is about the same as Miami, Florida, it gets a lot colder here than in Miami because of the mountains. Guiyang’s weather during three seasons is quite nice. The mountains moderate the subtropical climate. From Christmas to the middle of March the weather can be just so, so.

Living on the Great Lakes in Northern Michigan has it’s attractions. Sometimes cars parked by the water get sprayed so bad with water that ice piles up on them. Sometimes the cars get so heavy that it pops the tires. Also, the ice on the lakes can be fascinating. . . http://www.tourguizhou.com/northern-michigan-sometimes-miss/

Hot Night at the Obsession

(Click for full size photo)

It was a cool, late November evening and the usual suspects were gathered at the new Obsession Jazz Music Restaurant and Bar. Things were warming up quite nicely when the Guiyang Orchestra finished their jazz concert. Apparently some of the musicians weren’t done playing because they came to the Obsession. Then the night really got hot. . . .

A Hot Night at the Obsession (Youtube)

A Hot Night at the Obsession (Youku)

(Youtube is best outside China and Youku is best in China)

By the way, I was working with a cell phone — Huawei 10 Plus, which is quite a good little unit for sound and video. Unfortunately there were a few operator errors. You might catch the hand in front of the camera. Also, I accidentally chopped a guy’s head off (sorry about that). Maybe the most annoying problem was with the guy beside me that kept pounding on the table. His table was next to mine and was actually touching. You can see him kind of keeping beat by the disruptions in the video . . . oh well. Finally, the oversized music stands are good for hiding behind if you are a shy musician, but they are murder if you are watching the show or trying to film it. In fact, there are a lot of problems with this video, except the music.