Ping An and PM
|Near Coco Park|
As well as the physical discomfort and the embarrassment, she has found it difficult to plan anything, as she never knows when these swellings are going to come back. For a long time, we thought that perhaps the swellings were caused by some sort of allergic reaction, but we really did not know what was causing the problem. Irena does not have much faith in doctors anyway and she had already been to the clinic once about this problem. Finally, this morning I managed to persuade her to give the medical profession one more go.
|The Ping An skyscraper. It's big.|
Green Oasis School gives all of its teachers and their families free medical insurance through the Ping An group, so our visit to the Chiho clinic did not cost us anything. More importantly, the doctor was able to tell Irena the cause of her problem: the air pollution.
|Bikes at the bottom|
Air pollution is measured in terms of Particulate Matter (PM), how much muck you are taking into your lungs. (I suppose you could say that the PM level does for pollution what the Richter scale does for earthquakes.) Shenzhen’s PM levels are nowhere near as absurdly high as Beijing and Shanghai, but that does not mean that there is no pollution at all in SZ. In the five years that I have been teaching at GOS, we have had several occasions when the PM level was so high that we would not let the children go outside at break-time. The doctor told Irena that these pollutants can be absorbed by the body for some time without any noticeable effects, but gradually they build up and then the symptoms emerge.
|Steve McQueen in China?|
|Santas climbing palm trees|
|Diudiu on Christmas Eve|
And for all of you doggy lovers, here is a Christmas photo of Diudiu, the naughtiest little poodle in the Middle Kingdom.