I’m still aggravated from spending over 1,100RMB (US$185) this afternoon to try and get a filling done on my tooth at a nearby international clinic, but at least I was able to enjoy the snowfall, Beijing’s first for the year and season, and a few online links.
First, the reason I had to get a filling is because my previous filling just flat out came out. It got dislodged on Wednesday in the Nanjing South train station as I was eating a salty duck jianbing (pancake) which was particularly chewy. The reason why I said I tried to get a filling done is because the dentist failed to do so, having spent over 10 minutes prodding into my mouth with a needle to apply the anesthesia without any success. She even used a second needle, as at one point she asked her assistant to change it. Admittedly the tooth is the furthest back in my mouth, but it is disappointing that a supposedly qualified and highly paid professional can’t carry out such an ordinary task.
The only good thing is because the filling wasn’t actually done, I didn’t need to pay a further 1,000 RMB. I will visit Taiwan in a few weeks so hopefully my former dentist there can help me. I’m not wealthy but the reason I went to this clinic is because I wanted to deal with an English-speaking dentist. Back in Taipei, I saw my dentist for years, having first gone with my mother, so I trusted him.
I was doing some random blog browsing earlier in the day, and I came upon a surprising bit of news about Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister, who was also PM in 2006 but only for less than a year. The blogger claimed Abe resigned the first time around, because of a seriously upset stomach. Basically, he suffered from chronic diarrhea due to ulceratis colitis, a bowel disease caused by ulcers and which results in frequent and bloody bowel movements. At first, I thought the blogger was just saying nonsense to be mean, but it turns out he was saying the truth – Abe did step down as PM because of chronic diarrhea. Now I’m no fan of Abe, his policies or Japan in general, but when I read the piece, I can’t help feel some sympathy. As someone who has longterm bowel issues myself, the thought of someone suffering from a serious bowel disorder and still becoming prime minister is kind of admirable. Coincidentally, ulcerative colitis is also what forced Manchester United player Darren Fletcher to be out of football for some time. Fletcher, a Scotsman, has come back as his condition has improved.
The NY Times has a list of 52 places around the world to visit, and number one is … Cape Town, South Africa. It’s a great choice – the city is scenic, boasting the impressive Table Mountain which looms right over it, historic, and has a fair bit of culture and of course, glamor. For me, it is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to. Of course, I’m sure many of the other places listed are pretty good to visit too.
Meanwhile, here’s something about Scandinavia, specifically some negative stuff about countries that we often only hear good things about. A British writer wrote in the Guardian about problems with Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, half tongue-in-cheek and half serious, and not surprisingly, he got spirited responses from people from those countries, with a bit of banter thrown in. Here’s what they said, as well as the British guy’s defense. The Brit actually wrote an entire book about those Scandinavian/Nordic countries as well as Iceland that was recently released.