A Jersey Guy's Excellent Adventure in China

Chill Pills, Snake Oil, Fake Money Under Xmas Tree


My proclivity for getting into strange, frustrating and sometimes dangerous situations was the theme of the presents I received from my colleague Jennifer at our office Christmas party.

Jennifer gave me box of knickknacks, along with a booklet of written instructions on their use and purpose. The items included:

  • “Chill Pills’’ – Two bottles of flavored chewing-gum pellets designed to calm me down when I “take a cab in a Zhengzhou traffic jam, or your Internet goes out or you have to talk to the building manager.’’ I’ve taken a few epic, rush-hour taxi rides and had a running battle with my landlady over getting Internet service and a shower curtain in my apartment.
  • “Snake Oil Cream’’ – A packet of skin lotion that “can ward off any kind of questionable woman you may run into.’’ A con woman in Beijing tried to stick me with a $1,400 bar bill.


  •  Monopoly Money – A stack of Monopoly bills so “you won’t have to go to a bank machine or anything like that to get money to pay anyone who tries to con you.’’ To settle with the Beijing swindler, I had to withdraw 1,000 yuan ($164) from an ATM.
  • “Adventure Kit’’ – A package with a flashlight, wooden spoons, a first-aid kit and a bottle of aspirin for my “next mountain adventure.’’ Two friends and I were forced to descend a narrow mountain trail at night after we miscalculated when the sun would set. I walked into a tree, gashing my head and getting a serious concussion. Next time, Jennifer said, I can use the flashlight to navigate the trail and bang the wooden spoons together to “alert all trees’’ that I’m coming.
  • Sunglasses: According to Jennifer, they can help me “borden my eyesight’’ and “stare at China in a poetical way’’ – both references to some unusual phrasing we’ve encountered from our English writing students.

One thing Jennifer overlooked was my encounter with a naked janitor when I got locked into our office building one night. I’m not sure what gift could prevent that from happening again. But maybe the sunglasses would make it more bearable.

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: Adventure, Beijing, China, Henan University of Technology, Zhengzhou

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: