When we moved to Wenzhou we knew that pollution was going to be constant in our lives. We accepted this. We even felt somewhat prepared for this having lived in Hong Kong previously.
That is seriously how bad the smog gets
Now that the Dr. and I are feeling like we are on the final stretch here in Wenzhou we are examining the good and bad of life here. And there have been good things, many good things. We have made great friends and the opportunity to live in another country and learn the language is nothing to sniffle at. But when asked if we will miss Wenzhou we always say- “Wenzhou will be with us forever…in our lungs”. People laugh- Some give a nervous laugh, because they know the truth in the statement.
This winter, and I fear spring, the PM2.5 index is awash in “unhealthy…very unhealthy…etc” warnings. And you are breathing those particles into your lungs. Even inside your home you are hardly breathing a better quality of air. We leave the air purifier on at all times. It makes a difference, but isn’t problem correcting.
One of the first things you notice when you get out start exploring Wenzhou is the cars, the parking and the very lack of convention. The cars in the above photo are not in a parking lot. The are parked on a wide sidewalk on a busy street. Yes, parked on the sidewalk.
This seems to happen regardless of whether there is room on the sidewalk and with little regard for someone being able to use the sidewalk for activities like walking, strolling or jogging. Those crazy cats get to use the road, along with the drivers!
It hasn’t been easy. I don’t just mean a stranger in a strange land- not easy. I mean, holy canolie what else is going to fall apart!
We hit a bump straight off the plane in Wenzhou. As you walk into the arrivals hall and proceed to have your passports & visas checked there are little devices that detect your body temperature. I generally understand the need for this after the whole MERS and Ebola outbreaks. I was very understanding until I spent 16 hours on a plane and about 19 hours in the Hong Kong airport on the longest layover. I was pulled aside to be checked for a fever and the clerk in very broken English indicated I had failed at life. He deemed me to have a fever.
I did not have a fever by most accounts, 99.1 F. I had to go to a little room and have my temperature taken two different ways; both indicated just the slightest elevation in temp. I repeated more times than I can remember that no, I don’t have a headache, no I don’t have a stomach ache, I AM TIRED, VERY VERY TIRED.
We managed to get though that chaos and out the doors to the taxi stand where the miniature cars just barely managed to contain my husband and I, with our 8 bags. Naturally we were charged more for the taxi driver getting to watch my husband load all our luggage while he and his friends smirked and laughed.
After all of that we were dropped off at the guard house of our apartment complex, having paid about 3 times more than we should. The same place the husband lived at last year, just a different floor this time. We were told, and assured, that we only had to give the guard our apartment number and he would hand over the keys.
Alas, this didn’t happen. He barely understood what we needed and kept telling us to go away and come back tomorrow. That’s right, as we stood on the street with 8 suitcases we were told there was no room at the inn and to try our luck tomorrow. Finally a maintenance worker managed to get us in the apartment for the night, still no keys.
Wenzhou – Kean University has some huge issues they need to overcome in regards to bringing faculty in and helping get them set up. What we experienced was all around neglectful and showed no signs of a thoughtful plan. I am beginning to understand the running joke and unofficial motto of WKU.