Well, after our adventures at the massage parlor and eating in the alley, the first day arrived with a bang. Or more realistically, a wheeze. J came to my door that morning with her face gray and wheezing away. She could barely speak, and ran to my bathroom sink to run hot water and try to breathe the steam to help. Now I find out that she had asthma, but hadn't had an attach in over 10 years. So....she didn't bring any meds for it. I was terrified, and explained to her that I didn't know if there was the equivalent of "911" there, and if there was I wouldn't know how to ask for help, as I didn't speak Chinese. I had visions of her collapsing right there...then what?
So her brilliant conclusion was that we MUST search for snake venom. Yes, snake venom. When she lived there she said it cured every ailment that she ever had. Ok then. Snake venom.
We pounded the streets looking for a pharmacy. Well, actually she just about slithered, but we finally found one. Snake venom in hand, back to the hotel! Interestingly, we noticed no improvement at all as we sat around all morning. I finally insisted that she find medical help. We went to the hotel desk and she inquired, yet she kept being asked to wait while others checked in and out.
With visions of a dead J dancing in my head, she was able to get an address for a hospital. I was to wait in my room until she called me. Thank God she advised me to pack granola bars, Rice Krispy Treats, etc! Hours later she phoned me, and eventually came back to the hotel looking much better. Asthma, plus a lung infection. The really interesting part was the treatment: she came back with about 10 I.V. bags and a bagful of various medicines. Western medicine, at that! Apparently it is common there for them to send you home with the I.V. bags, and you take them with you daily for treatments in a huge room full of others also being treated. And she brought back some treats!
So we did the next logical thing: went in search of goodies! Yes, meetings with cubic zirconia cutters and places that make the metal castings that get set with the cz's and Swarovski crystals. I'm sure that being locked in very small rooms hours on end with everyone smoking did wonders for her illnesses...