So I've been in China for about a month and a half. I've had a rather interesting experience, that is somewhat out of the norm. So I ended up contracted through one of those agencies that they warn you about, because I was stupid and trusted the non-profit organization that I went with.
So the way that I got here is I went though a non-profit organization in the states, who contracted with a company in Jinan, Shandong China. The people who work at this company are kind, but clueless. The visas everyone came in on were student visas, with 90 days on them. The state department specifically advises against teaching with any type of visa, other than a work visa. So we spent about a week in a hotel in Jinan and were slowly sent out to schools through out the country.
So long story (filled with headaches, and most of the other teachers leaving the country) short, I was taken the other day to get my health certificate in order to get the proper visa. This was a trial to begin with. I was suppose to go the day before, and was likely only taken on this particular day because I told them I would be leaving if it wasn't done in the next week. So the next day I am driven with another teacher into Wuhan (the capitol of the province I am in) and he drives us up to the building to get health certificates. I don't see any English anywhere when walking into this building, then we get to the desk to fill out the appropriate forms, and they never ask for my passport only my photos. Then they can't put my English name in the name slot. So I am immediately thinking we are clearly in the wrong place, and say so several times out loud.
We walk out with our form to go to another office to pay or something, and this woman comes out of exam room with a lab coat and mask on. She explains that she can do one portion of the exam now. She asks the teacher if I can speak Mandarin, then asks me to enter the adjacent exam room (all in Mandarin). So there is a small desk, with plastic long q-tip like sample sticks. Next to that are one or two test tubes with the top of these sample sticks broken off in them. Somehow I already know what's coming. The woman tells me to take off my pants. I put my bag on the desk, and take my coat off. She tells me I need to face away from her and drop my pants. Damnit, so I do what she said, alarmed but quickly. I figure this can't be any worse than the army exam (that was a humiliting experience, but gave you a good idea of how you would be treated if you joined.) She says "underwear too, now grab your buttcheeks and pull them apart." I'm thinking, I knew it! She gives a swift poke with the sample stick where things are designed to come out, but never go in. I exclaim "ai you!" and put my pants back on very quickly. She put the top of the sample tip in a vial, and tells me I speak Chinese very well. I agree considering I gave that exclamation without even thinking about it.
Then teacher comes up to me clearly flustered and explains we are in the wrong place. I tell her I know (not that she ever listens to me). And we leave for the correct location, where I got blood drawn, a chest x-ray, height and weight, BP, EKG (all the things I was expecting), and an eye test. China lesson one- if you let people push you around it can be easier than pushing back, but you'll have to be patient and deal with the ocassional completely unnessary stick.