Friday, May 20, 2011

The Shanghai Incident

Here is a copy of Aaron's blog post on the "Shanghai Incident." I've added a few comments in italics. And I've learned my lesson.  Really, if someone in China falls down in front of you, throw them a few hundred RMB and walk away.  WALK AWAY!
  Today I managed to survive the worst ordeal I have ever been in. I learned never under any circumstances to stop and help anyone in China.
My wife and I were taking her cousins to the Airport in Shanghai so they could return home to Japan. We had left the hotel about 10:45am and were entering the subway. We had already bought our tickets and were turning to go down the stairs to the train. My wife’s cousin was pushing her kid in a stroller, and she crossed paths with an old Chinese woman. The woman fell down and didn’t move. I actually saw her foot connect with Ellie's stroller, so I knew that I had done something.  Aaron and Crystal had kind of tongue-in-cheek warned us about scams that people try to pull by falling down in front of you and then blaming you and trying to extort money off of you. My wife told us not to touch her, and that we needed to leave. My wife’s cousins looked like we were heartless, and tried to help the lady. I don't really think either of them were heartless, I just felt like I HAD to do something because I really believed that I had contributed to the accident. From my wife’s point of view, neither the old Chinese woman nor her cousin was paying attention. The old woman’s husband was way up ahead of his wife, and came back when he noticed she wasn’t beside him. He said that we were driving our cart too fast and that we ran his wife over. How the devil was he supposed to know! He was about 20 yards in front of his wife! They called security, and eventually the police came. The police said that we had to go to the hospital with them to pay the medical bills and make sure the woman was okay. We explained that my wife’s cousins had a flight to catch in 2 hours to Japan, and there was no way they could go to the hospital with the injured woman. They gave us 500 RMB and my wife and I ended up going to the hospital with the old woman and her husband. This was  where we exited the scene, feeling incredibly guilty, and sick to our stomachs.  I've never had a more nauseating trip in a taxi or a plane.  Both Ben and I physically felt ill until we talked to Crystal and Aaron the next day.
While we were at the train station, the police never filled out an incident report. It seemed like they were blaming my wife’s cousin for everything. I tried explaining what happened, but the old man yelled over me, and they would not be convinced. They had no proof one way or the other as to who was at fault. We also told the police that we didn’t know my wife’s cousins. We were afraid that they would miss their flight, so we said we were witnesses and would stay and help.  After agreeing to what we said, the police let my wife’s cousins go, and we were supposed to stay and help in their place.
            My wife and I rode in the ambulance with the couple to the hospital. We ended up paying 750RMB to cover her bills.  When we arrived the old woman was put on a gurney and pushed upstairs to X-ray. The doctors took two x-rays of her chest, and one of her pelvis. This whole time she was not willing to move. While I was downstairs paying the x-ray bill, my wife saw a doctor come and move the woman’s lets up to her chest to see if she was okay. The doctor said that she was fine and didn’t know what the problem was. When I came back up stairs, I found out that we were still waiting for results of the x-ray. It was about 12:15 by this time.
I asked the doctor why we had to wait so long for the x-rays. He said that the doctor who looks at the x-rays and fills out the report was busy. I asked him if the doctor was eating lunch. The  doctor I was speaking with looked a little embarrassed, and then said that the other doctor was resting, and then assured us we could get our results at 2. (In China they have this thing were everyone has to rest from 12:00 to 2:00) I said no way! That was unacceptable. We came in the emergency room and we wanted results now. He told me to wait a minute and then went back behind a door. After about 10 minutes of him not coming back, I followed him into the door.
When I opened the door, I was shocked to find that there were 4 or 5 doctors sitting around a table playing poker. This is where I lost it. I started yelling at them saying that there was an injured woman out in the hall, we were waiting for the x-ray results so that they could sit in here and play poker!?!? What kind of hospital is this?!? Immediately all of the doctors stood up and got upset. They said that the person I was looking for was across the hall. I went to the other room and then the doctors started yelling at each other. Apparently, the head doctor really wanted his nap. Anyway, we got the results 5 minutes later then went down to see another doctor.
When we got downstairs the old woman was sitting in a chair. The doctor was holding her x-rays up to the light and staring at them, not using those bright white boards that you see in normal hospitals. He said that he couldn’t know for sure if her ribs were broken or not. I asked if it is because they took a bad x-ray or what. He said that we would have to come back in 30 days to take another x-ray to make sure nothing was broken. (I think he was just over prescribing so he can make more money, which happens often here.) I went with the old man to the pharmacy to buy a brace for the woman’s arm. While I was paying the bill, the old man told the woman behind the counter that I was driving my cart to fast and plowed his wife over. The cashier looked at me like I was a puppy killer. It was an accident, and I was just the witness.
The doctor said that the woman had to come back in 30 days for another x-ray to make sure she was okay. I told the old man that it was his wife’s fault just as much as the other woman’s. I explained that we paid today, and he would have to pay the next visit. We were going. He called the police on us. After the police showed up we realized what he had done. My wife lost it at this point and started yelling at them. How could they call the police on us? We didn’t do anything. We stayed to help and now they are treating us like criminals? We ended up getting into a big yelling match with the family. The old woman’s daughter had shown up and kept saying “tao yan”, which means “disgusting, disagreeable or repugnant”. She also said that our kind acts were turning into trouble because now we had to fix this problem.
The police escorted all of us back to the train station where the original police officer was. We all got taken to the police station at the train station and were there for about an hour. They said that we had to give the other party more money so we could settle the matter. By this time, the old couple’s daughter and grandson were there too. They were demanding that we pay 5000 RMB in compensation ($750 USD).
We ended up calling the American Consulate. We spoke with 3 different people who told us to leave. We tried leaving after speaking with the first guy but the police still wouldn’t let us leave. Finally, the third woman negotiated with the police officer. He said that he didn’t have the right to detain us. It was a civil matter and had nothing to do with the police. He was just afraid that if he let us go, the family would chase after us and try and hurt us. He was also afraid that if we left the family would give problems to the police. Eventually we left, and the family did chase us. The old man came up and pushed me and ended up scratching my hand. We didn’t want to fight anyone so we ran out of the subway station and got into a taxi and left.
The woman was probably hurt a little, but it seemed like she was milking the situation, especially because she was walking around and came back to the subway station with us after we left the hospital. We ended up spending about 4 hours to deal with this situation. It was the worst thing we have ever had to deal with in China. The police were of no help at all. They were telling us to just pay money. The only thing that the police did was act as a negotiator between us.  We originally offered to give a little extra money for the next visit’s x-rays, but they wouldn’t take it. They wanted more. So we told them that we weren’t going to give them anything else, and if they wanted more they would have to sue us in court, and we would counter sue them if they took us to court. 

Aaron King

Monday, May 16, 2011

Catching up in China: Going home

After the "Shanghai Incident," we arrived at the airport without any problems.  We spent our last few RMB buying lunch and let Ellie play in a pretty cool play area we had set up.  But mostly she loved going on the moving walkways with Ben.


We were so grateful to land back in Japan and take our shuttle home without incident.  There were some other teacher friends of ours waiting for the shuttle as well (they had gone back to visit Germany for their Christmas vacation), and we had them snap a photo for us.   

We can't express how thankful we were for Crystal and Aaron.  They were wonderful hosts and so much fun to hang out with!  China was an incredible experience.  The culture is so different from anything else I've experienced, but the people were friendly (for the most part; there were always grandmotherly types telling me that Ellie was not bundled enough).  It was definitely a Christmas vacation to treasure!

Catching Up in China: Shanghai Part 2

We went on a date our second night in Shanghai to see the circus there.  Crystal and Aaron were awesome and watched Ellie for us.  It's nothing like an American circus.  It was more like Cirque du Soleil-Chinese style.  We had a blast.  The geo-dome behind us is their theater.  We were particularly impressed by the 8 motorcycles in cage act (WOW!).  And I really liked the couple that did an acrobatic dance/act with the fabric hanging from the ceiling.
Our last day in Shanghai we knew we had to "walk the Bund" and take pictures of the financial district on the other side.  It was FREEZING.  We didn't do too much walking.  Ellie loved running around on the Bund, and trying to climb up on the railings.  Until she fell and knocked her head pretty good on a sharp corner.
The gang in front of the financial district.  There were some seriously cool looking buildings, but we never had time to go over.

The Huangpu River

I'm not sure who is taking who for a walk.


 We left the Bund and walked the few blocks to our hotel and gathered up our things.  Our plan was to take the subway all the way to the airport, because it was cheaper, and we're cheap frugal.  However, what happened next was this (name that movie!):  the Shanghai Incident.
Frankly, I don't want to get into the particulars of it here, because I know that Aaron already blogged about the whole story, so as soon as I have a link (here's the link) to it, I'll post it.  The short version is that as we were heading to the escalator to catch the subway, Ellie's stroller made contact with a very old Chinese woman.  Obviously I didn't do it on purpose.  Whether or not she did is up for debate (seriously, read the link when I post it and you'll understand).  Security got involved, then the police (which they didn't really need to), and eventually Ben, Ellie, and I had to take a taxi to the airport and leave Crystal and Aaron to work out the particulars, which got pretty hairy, and cost us about $200.  It was a mess.  I was sad to leave China on such a bad note.  We had so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and hadn't had really any negative experiences up to that point.  Oh well, nothing can be perfect I guess.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Talented Ben

Ben sang in Kinnick High School's talent show last week and did a magnificent job.  Everyone said so; it's not just my biased opinion.  You can even see for yourself!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Catching Up in China: Shanghai Part 1

We spent just two days in Shanghai before we flew back home to Japan. We took a bullet train from Nanjing to Shanghai.  Ben got really excited about how fast we would get going.  I think we reached 300 km/h (which is about 186 mph). 
Shanghai was definitely the most westernized city we stayed in, and for that reason somehow more comfortable to be in.  We stayed in a nice, but inexpensive, hotel just one block from the Bund.  The most amusing thing was that there was some confusion in our booking and Ben, Ellie, and I ended up in a room that was most likely a honeymoon (or something) room.  It was round.  Yes folks, complete with a round bed, lurid pink wallpaper, and a mirror on the ceiling.  It cracked us up! The hardest part was finding a place to put Ellie pack-n-play.  
Anyway, the first place we visited was the China Pavilion. Shanghai hosted the 2010 World Expo but we arrived a few months after it had closed, so the China Pavilion was the only one still standing.  But true to Chinese culture it was outstanding. Because we had Ellie with us in a stroller, we got bumped to the front of a lot lines.  YEAH! Because the lines were enormous!

One of the decorative sculptures outside of the Pavilion

Can you tell how HUGE it is?  Because it's massive, with 13 stories I believe.

Inside, each floor highlighted something about the past, present and future of the China.  The coolest thing was a video presentation that was in this huge round room, projected on the most of the wall space and the ceiling.  It was pretty impressive.

We are fashion gurus.

This portion about nature totally reminded me of Avatar, with glowing trees and whatnot

They had pictures from around China by kids displayed.

Ellie zonked out by the time we reached the halfway point in our tour. We were constantly telling Chinese people not to touch her, even after we put the blanket over her.

And she's still out going down the escalator to the subway.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Favorite Cake

I was sending this recipe to a friend and thought I ought to share the love.  This is honestly my favorite cake.  I make it for my birthday every year, and every other chance I can get.  A wonderful woman on my mission in Alaska introduced me to it (thanks Sis. Deland!).  So without further delay, Summer's Favorite Cake

Here is the recipe for my favorite cake, I have no idea if it has a real name, but that's what I call it.

1 box chocolate cake mix prepared (whichever kind you prefer, or make your own cake batter)
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. shredded coconut (I get sweetened coconut)
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1/2 c. butter (definitely better than margarine)
some powdered sugar ( few cups probably)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle pecans and coconut on the bottom of the pan (truthfully, I don't really measure these, I just cover the bottom of the pan till I think it looks good). 
Pour the cake batter over the top.
In a medium sized pot melt the butter and cream cheese together.  Slowly stir in powdered sugar and mix well. (I don't measure the sugar either! The recipe I have calls for 1 lb. of powdered sugar, which always seemed like too much to me.  So I add powdered sugar until it tastes good to me). 
Dollop the cream cheese/sugar mixture onto the cake and swirl it in gently with a knife.  Bake for 45-50 min.

Enjoy! It's great hot or cold.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Catching Up in China: Nanjing Part 5

While in Nanjing we celebrated both Christmas and our 3rd Anniversary!  It was so good to be with family for Christmas.  We skyped all of the parents (both our and Crystal and Aaron's), and went to a LDS branch party with Crystal and Aaron.  Just to clarify, yes there are LDS branches in China.  They are only open to foreign passport holders and if you bring someone Chinese you'll get in big trouble.  Anyway, they have a pretty good sized branch because BYU does a study abroad program there and whatnot. So here is Christmas!

Crystal and Aaron gave Ellie a Chinese suit for Christmas.  We opted to leave the bum hole sewn closed.
Quite possibly my most favorite picture of Ellie, because it is SO her!
 It was especially fun to celebrate our anniversary with Crystal and Aaron since we had our weddings together.  We went to a funny restaurant that served various cuisines "Chinese style." For instance, I had fajitas.  And for some unknown reason the restaurant (called Tacos) was all decorated in hearts.  We loved it.

Catching Up in China: Nanjing Part 4

The Xu Garden and Presidential Palace were very beautiful, though we had a little trouble trying to get in.  We showed up the first time just after they stopped allowing in visitors. So we had to come back the next day, and though cold, it was worth it.  The garden was first constructed in sometime the in mid-1300's.  But it is most famous for being the place were Sun Yat-Sen was inaugurated as temporary president of the Republic of China in 1917.  It was the headquarters of many government groups when he Republic of China was officially established in 1927.
We sat at Sun Yat-Sen's desk and tried to look serious.  It's very hard for us.

On top of one of the bomb shelters

She was cold. And sad but cute.
The garden is most famous for these stone boats.  They are pretty cool.

And some more shots of cool things in the garden.

I don't remember who this is supposed to be, but he's not nearly as dashing as Ben