Archive for December, 2006

6 Days in Shanghai

I flew to Shanghai the week after Thanksgiving holidays to visit my dad who had a heart attack during the Thanksgiving week and was hospitalized for about 10 days. He had a angioplasty surgery and was discharged from the hospital next day after I arrived Shanghai. He is doing fine now and I sincerely thank you all for your concern.

This is my first time to Shanghai (and China). During these 6 short days, besides spending time with my parents and brother and sisters, dealing with jag leg and trying to staying healthy (I almost got sick due to air pollution), I also got the chance to experience the local lives and do a little sightseeing nearby. Here are what I saw/ what I heard in Shanghai during my stay:

At the hospital (based on the one my dad was admitted):

  • — There is no cardiologist on shift after hours. My dad got to ER around 9-10pm. The ER doc(s) did a blood test on him, monitored his heart rate, gave him some pain relief medicine and told him that they don’t have the equipments to run more specific test in ER and that my dad had to wait till next day morning for the cardiologist(s) to come to work to check on him.
  • — Oh, cardiologists do not work on weekends!
  • — ICU ward vs. standard ward in cardiology department: ICU ward is twice bigger with 5-7 beds (the 7th will be in the middle of the room) and also there’s a small nurse station inside monitoring patients 24hrs. Standard ward can accommodate 3 beds a bit tight.
  • — Hospital required at least 1 family member staying throughout the night for hospitalized patient for emergency contact. So there are reclined sling chairs in the hallway and also inside the ward.
  • — There’s “No Smoking” sign on the hallway but below the sign there’s ash tray.
  • — Just because the cardiologist who’s taking care of my dad got busy, (s)he didn’t do a routine checkup when my dad was in ICU, and other docs and nurses had that “Not my case” look. Later we required some scanning to find out the damage and were told that they usually scan right before they perform surgery, which is usually performed 1 week after heart attack as the doc strongly suggested to minimize the risk.
  • — The angioplasty surgery took only 40 minutes!
  • — In order to discharge from hospital, we need to take a number and wait to pay for the bills. Someone started taking number as early as 5-6ish am!


Daily local life…

  • — Watch out as you cross the street as vehicles would really hit you if they have the right away.
  • — Right turn is also called small turn and left turn is big turn.
  • — All bikes (traditional and electric powdered ones) have to use the designated lanes and will be fined for using regular lanes for cars and trucks alike.
  • — There’s no sense of lining up and take turn. I had to be aggressive in the crowd or I would be pushed away…
  • — There’s no free maps. All the scenery places I went, besides paying the main admission fee at the outside gate I would still have to pay admission again (in most cases) to go inside individual scenery spots $$$.
  • — Learned a lot about bargain strategies…
  • — Don’t quite know the reason behind it but people there don’t flush away bathroom tissues after use. They threw into the trash bin instead (???…I know!). Although I had never been to one but my sister been to a public restroom that don’t have doors. She freaked out.
  • — I noticed only very very very few people have wedding ring on them… I wonder is it a city full of singles?
  • — Although I had never been there but I heard that sometimes people were waiting for hours to get a seat at Pizza Hut.
  • — There are just way too many people. I’d been to a shopping plaza that people were squeezing each other (and sometimes a little pushing) to get thru. Imagine the subway stations at commute hours!

At the Pudong Airport:

  • — There are special designated boarding gates for US bound flights. After passing security check I thought it’ll be ok to buy bottled water inside the airport but they made us take them out right before entering the airplane (Airport’s bottled water costs 20 Ren Ming Bi (RMB, China’s currency) where it costs 2-3 RMB else where).


This summarized my 6 days in Shanghai. Come to think about it, a lot of problems and issues happen due to a huge population– ie. life doesn’t worth a penny as hospitals never worry about not having enough patients; public facilities maintenance requires visitors paying multiple admission fees; the sewerage systems might be overwhelmed if everyone flushes used bathroom tissues (I guess)… Hopefully some of these issues improve in the future to attract more foreigners especially Olympic 2008 (in Beijing) in coming. If by any chance you’re traveling China, just take it easy and go with the flow rather than comparing to US styles.

Read Full Post »