A new Wuhan blog entitled wo zai wuchang has appeared recently. It’s written by an American teaching English at Huazhong Normal University. Aside from a few minor details, the author’s comments and observations are remarkably similar to my own when I first arrived back in 1997. This passage from the September 2 post captures the first-week-in-Wuhan experience perfectly:
The ride from the airport to the university completely blew my mind. I guess I was expecting Wuhan to be similar to Beijing or Xi’an but it isn’t at all. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a more third world city before – everything looks like it’s falling apart. Even entering campus was a shock. I was feeling completely out of place and slightly regretful; however, life can change after a good night’s sleep and a shower. Wuhan seemed better but still not what I was expecting. The girl who picked me up from the airport came by my room to show me around campus and by accident we found out I had to go get an medical examination done with the rest of the new international kids. For everyone’s information, NO ONE wants to get a medical examination in China EVER. It was probably one of the most frustrating events in my life. Total I had to get a chest x-ray, eye test, ECG exam, sonogram, blood drawn, vaccination, and some sort of test to see if you’ve ever had surgery before. There were probably 200 people there for the same things and about 9 doctors total. This entire process took 7 hours. As you may know, there are no such things as lines in China. Things got dramatic every once in a while. While waiting in the epic ECG line about 10 Chinese men cut this Chinese woman and I. She yelled and yelled at them in Chinese and it got pretty out of hand. They ended up shoving her and her daughter around and pushed passed her. I was shocked. To make the hospital experience even more frustrating is the fact that no one in Wuhan except for a small population knows English. Doctors were yelling orders to me all day and I couldn’t understand a single one. I feel lucky that my exam even got finished. I know my parents probably don’t want to hear this but I wonder if any of that equipment was even sterile (save the needles). The hospital was pretty gross. There were cigarettes all over the floor.
Everything at this university is completely unorganized and frustrating. I feel that no one knows what’s going on and if they do they don’t know when and if they have an idea of when it’s only a rumor. I’m sure once classes start everything will fall into place.
Be sure to check out the pictures as well.