a healthy check.

The next step in getting my Z visa turned into a work permit was a getting a health report, or a healthy check according to my hosts. They scheduled an appointment for me at the Shanghai International Travel Healthcare Center in Puxi (the west side of Shanghai).

The night before my appointment, it was realized that I would need 4 photos (visa style) to take with me in addition to lots of other papers and applications. Around 8:30pm, L and I set forth to find somewhere that could take care of that. After stumbling around our neighborhood (new to both of us) we come across quite the ramshackle operation that dealt in all matters of photography. After L explained what was needed, a man instructed me to sit on a plastic stool, while he changed out the sheet behind me from blue to white. Then he pulls two stands out from behind a pile of stuff. Both were made from the handles of what were once mops or brooms. One was the “stand” for his camera that also involved a finagling of cardboard while the other provided the proper lighting. Proper lighting in this case meant a lightbulb strung against the foil side of a noodle package.


This is so typical of China and one of the things that anyone has to admire, that they just make it work. My little pictures turned out just as great as if I had gone to some “professional” outfit in downtown. TIC.

Now on to the actual health check-up…

We arrived at the scheduled time and I was given a number. I waited in a reception area with lots of other expats from around the world while numbers were called to proceed to the paperwork office. I was shuffled from the paperwork office to the cashier (yes, payment always comes first with Chinese healthcare!), then to room 113, the locker room. I turned to go into a narrow hallway which had about 10 rooms all clearly numbered. I saw many people, men and women, mulling around waiting to go into the various rooms, they were all barely clad in short white robes and smurf-like blue plastic shoe covers. I cringed and went into the locker room to change. From then on it was an hour and half of slightly traumatizing procedures by Chinese doctors, waiting beside an elderly Canadian man and a German teenage boy, while trying to make sure my robe was tied securely. Finally all the tests and procedures were complete and I have never gotten dressed so fast in my life.

The report should be here in a few days and then I just have one last step to complete at the police station and then my work permit should be final.



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