I haven’t blogged for a few days now because we were out of the hospital. As mentioned I had the last three days off without any treatments so TK and I thought we’d get out of the hospital setting. There is a 5 star hotel located less than 2 km from the hospital; I can see it from my window so we decided to experience some luxury while we could. Patients from the hospital, well at least foreign patients in the stem cell program get a 50% discount which ended up costing less than a night at the Strathmore Travelodge! It really was a beautiful hotel; we actually got 6 TV channels: World CNN, HBO, Discovery, National Geographic, ESPN and another movie channel. Here at the hospital we only get one English speaking channel and it is a Chinese version of CNN that is almost painful to watch.
There were variety restaurants as well; we chose sushi on Friday and Italian on Saturday. Well the challenging food experience continued for me, this was not a regular sushi restaurant that I’m used to at home. TK who’s been to Japan and knows a lot more about sushi than I thought it was quite good. I couldn’t get a dynamite roll or some of my other favourites but the sashimi was really good! Italian was a different story. First off the only had two pasta dishes on the menu, some other western choices and quite a few steaks to choose from. TK had crab pasta in a cream cheese sauce and I ordered a T-bone steak. Having seen their beef in the supermarkets I was a little sceptical but thought at such a nice hotel it would be somewhat normal. WRONG!! TK’s pasta wasn’t very good but my steak was a different story. It was a T-bone and had the bone in to prove it but it was without a word of a lie maybe 3/8” thick! I knew something was off when the waitress asked me what kind of sauce I’d like with my steak. I’m thinking sauce?? My choices were cheese, wine or pepper sauce; I chose pepper which was the best part of the meal. The steak was not very flavourful or tender to say the least, oh how I miss Alberta Beef! Oh well I give them full credit for trying.
On Sunday we took an adventure to West Lake which is a huge lake in Hangzhou and a large tourist attraction. It was very beautiful and we got to experience some real Chinese culture. We went with Linda and Leah, 2 other MS patients, Leah’s daughter in-law and Linda’s daughter. It is quite difficult sightseeing with all 3 of us in wheelchairs but we did alright. At least I can stand and walk which makes it much easier on me and TK, pee breaks are pretty challenging for the others. We did have a chance to enjoy a Starbucks coffee! After West Lake we went to an outdoor Chinese market which was quite an experience. There were all kinds of artisans, jewellery, a shop for everything and it was totally packed. I bought a knife, well a clever actually but nothing else. The merchants at this market were not into dickering on price much and there are apparently much better markets you can bargain a lot more. It really was an interesting and fun day; thank God we had our Chinese drivers from the hospital to guide us through everything!
I have to say that the most enjoyable part of the day for me was driving around. We learned how large Hangzhou is, it’s huge! We saw a lot of different culture and a lot of American culture too. Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, The Disney Store, The Ferrari Store, Haagen-Dazs, Toys R Us, the Rolex Store, Hooters and so much more, I was really surprised! But like I said, the driving was the best part. We took three separate vehicles and I was having a hoot but I know all of the other women were petrified! It is absolutely crazy, not only the drivers but pedestrians as well! I’m very surprised we didn’t have an accident, see an accident or witness someone getting run over! I’m going to have to take the video camera out next time so everyone can at least get glimpse of an idea what it’s like.
It is now Monday morning, Thanksgiving Day but there’ll be no turkey here so I hope everyone is enjoying their dinner back home. We would go out for dinner with some other patients but my daily routine is about to start and I’ll be receiving my first spinal treatment at 11:00. When it’s over I’ll have to lie on my side and can’t lift my head for 6 hours so guess that’s my day. I’ll let you know how it went tomorrow.