We got up the next day, absolutely exhausted but happy to be in what are becoming familiar surroundings.
I spoke to the hostel manager, who speaks a little English about seeing a doctor and he told me the only place I'd find one who spoke any English was at the Kunming Medical College Hospital. Our travel Insurance then advised us that this was the only place they recommended in Kunming, so we headed off to the hospital.
Out the front and we walk into a swarm of people, cuing (pushing each other and trying to get an advantage on the person next to them- believe me, if you've been to China you'll know what I mean...) in all manner of places.
Where do we go I wondered out loud. We both had no idea what to do so we stood there, dazed, looking around and wondering. Deciding we had to do something we attempted to cue at a counter, but no-one would talk to us and when it came to our turn, others pushed in front.
But luckily, after some wrangling we managed to find a nurse (I think?) who took us up three flights of stairs through the masses to a big hall were people were swarming to get there blood tested en masse. After some pushing and shoving to hold our place in one of many queues, it was finally my turn, but it seemed there was some sort of problem and the nurse was no-where to be found.
They pointed to the paper's I had given them and yelled something in Chinese, whilst pointing that I go someplace else. Where or why I didn't know. The nurse had already taken us to the payments desk were we had forked out money for the privilege to get jabbed. Everyone was looking at me and after seeing me hesitate decided I was fair game. One person pushed up to the side of me, jabbed his arm out on the desk in front of me in preparation for a little blood letting. In amazement at the audacity of these people I hesitantly got up and left, figuring my only chance was to find the nurse that had abandoned us.
After only a couple of minutes we got lucky, bumping into our nurse lady. Not understanding what had happened she took us back to the blood letters where we were told (in Chinese) to go back down stairs and pay more money.
Half an hour later my arm was seized and within seconds (so fast I didn't realise they'd done it) a vial full of blood was taken. As the needle was removed I looked down and saw old bloodied, large cotton buds used to mop up excess blood from freshly opened veins scattered all over the floor, and a cockroach looking bug clambering over them.
The blood was analysed almost on the spot, very efficient, then I was told I had to give a stool sample (I know you all wanted to hear that, haha). This was bizarre, walking into the bathroom was like walking into a public train station toilet (ala Ringwood station), it looked, and smelt as though it hadn't been cleaned for days...
I'll save you any more detail and skip to the part where we were ushered past the masses to see a doctor who spoke a little English (think Chinglish). I was told to come back the next morning for another blood test, and then four days after that for the results.
In the next week we ended up visiting the hospital four times seeing and communicating (with varying degrees of success) with six different doctors, taking four different types of medications- so far none of which have worked. and learning that the hospital treats over 6,000 patients per day! The results showed that there was blood and a high level of white blood cells in the sample (the best word I could think of for poop) and I was told on the last visit that I should go back home to Australia.
So we're headed to Beijing in a couple of days via a 40HR train journey, and then we'll fly straight to Turkey. We have decided that leaving Asia is the best plan, and instead we'll change our route through Europe to cycle through Switzerland and the Alps with our friends Severine and Francois and then ride up to Norway to sail with Rune to Scotland.
We'll chuck up another couple of posts over the next few days about our adventures in and around the city of Kunming, most notably our visit to the Zoo where we saw some major animal rights abuses (particularly of bears and monkeys). And I'll tell you how I had a spac attack at the people responsible.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia