We had a very constructive consultation with Dr Lianlian Wang, a gastroenterologist with a clinic at the International Hong Kong Medical Centre. It was different to yesterday's consultation in that she asked a few pertinent and answerable questions, listened to and apparently believed the answers, made comprehensive notes and gave Freda a thorough physical examination. She concluded that she had no concerns about Freda's abdomen or organs down that way and ordered a few blood tests. The gluten intolerance test, which she agreed was worth investigating, will take a week. Meantime the quicker tests have ruled out any bacteria infection and her blood cell count is normal. Great news. We're still not much further on than we were in Simao, except that we've been able to talk to someone about Freda's health in English and feel happy that all likely avenues are being explored. What's more, she didn't come up with any suggestions that we hadn't yet considered. The burning question now is what we do for a week. Should we snuggle up in our hotel room, work and study in the VSO Programme Office or head off on a train journey round the North. A month or two later and it would be perfect timing for the Harbin ice festival. Enjoyable as it would be to see the giant ice sculptures in real life, let's hope we get some answers before then.
It's not a great photo but it's the best 'evidence' we could get that we were within a stone's throw distance of the the American President. As we emerged from the Metro to return to our hotel we noticed that both sides of the main road (6 lanes wide) were closed to traffic. There have been police, guards and 'volunteers' patrolling this section of town since we arrived but uniforms had quadrupled for this evening. A few minutes later the first car in the entourage [see photo for some representative vehicles!] passed, followed by about thirty others, either black or white, with the Presidential limo near the front flying a Chinese and an American flag. The latter was on the right. Is that symbolic? For a moment we panicked he was heading for our Seven-Eleven store, preventing us from picking up a Chinese takeaway. Fortunately he was opting for a Sizzler steak. Why not good old Beijing baozi (steamed dumplings)? Either Hu Jintao is looking for an excuse to go Western or Mr Obama also has a gluten intolerance.