Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Finally found a new dentist. My previous dentist near where I live had referred me to the Peking University Stomatology clinic. But Bulu had also told me about a dentist he went to that was pretty good. I was busy last fall anyway, so I put off making the decision. The other day I just decided to take a trip to Mudanyuan and size up the place Bulu had told me about. Turns out the dentist he recommended works in a clinic that is an extension of the Peking University Stomatology Clinic.

Not sure why my previous dentist referred me. Could be that there are just so many problems in my mouth that he felt I needed to go to a bigger clinic. Or it could be that things out there were a bit sensitive last fall because of the 18th Party Congress. The Party gets a bit overly nervous at times like that. Last fall during that time period, I was hiking up behind the park, and I came to a gate where the cars are sometimes prevented from proceeding. I'm not a car, so I kept on walking. There was a security guard there, and he told me that I could not proceed because the snow was very deep and it was very dangerous. It was a completely bizarre statement. While we were talking, a couple of Chinese hikers came along. They laughed when they heard him talking and kept on walking. He didn't try to stop them. So I started following them. The security guard came at me. He looked like he was going to take me down. I knew those guys don't make any money, and at that point it was clear that he had probably been told it would be his neck if any foreigners passed. So I backed off, even though I lived in that village several years ago, and have hiked that area many, many times.

But I digress. My former dentist's office was in the Air Force hospital not far from where that incident occurred, so it's possible he had been told to get the foreigner out. It's the kind of thing that happens in this country. Anyway, I did find a dentist, so we're back in Business. Today I went to see her and she asked for my "bijiben." This is the word we use in China to refer to a laptop computer. Strange. I couldn't understand why she wanted to see my laptop. I opened my computer bag and pulled out my IBM Thinkpad. She started laughing. As I said, the word "bijiben" is the word we use for laptop computer. But in fact, "bijiben" does not mean computer. It is a completely non-techical word. I just means "notebook." But who uses notebooks anymore, right? So in China, you just never hear the word used except in relation to a laptop computer. The picture shows what she was actually looking for. In China, your medical records do not reside in a doctor's office. When you go to a doctor, they write in your little blue book so the next doctor can see it.

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