Day Six: Chengde City

Hospital in ChengdeOur Saturday morning presentation was at Affiliated Hospital of Chengde Medical University, which is about 200 km northeast of Beijing. This was another very new facility, less than a year old. And because it was a Saturday morning, we had representatives from other area hospitals in the crowd of about 300.


I will update this post later with some additional commentary and stories, but now we’re off to The Great Wall.

Day Five: Travel to Chengde

We departed Beijing after spending the morning watching Game 6 of the NBA Finals on CCTV and having lunch at another local restaurant. Each of China’s 34 provinces has distinct culinary offerings, and as the capital city Beijing has restaurants that reflect these unique menus.

Picture requestI’ve had several Chinese people come up to me and want to take a picture with me, and that happened again as we left our hotel in Beijing. I’ve decided that from now on I want to reciprocate and ask them to use my camera, too. I don’t know whether it’s being American, or tall, or some combination, but I suppose most Chinese people don’t see someone who looks like me very frequently.

Road to ChengdeThe drive to Chengde was beautiful, with mountainous terrain. We arrived about 5 p.m. at our hotel for the next two nights, Jiahe International Hotel.

This morning’s post is a short one because our lecture this time is at 9 a.m. instead of afternoon. Later we’ll tour the hospital and take a tour of the Summer Palace.

Day Four: China-Japan Friendship Hospital

China-Japan Exterior

AuditoriumOur final day in Beijing took us to China-Japan Friendship Hospital, where we had the largest audience so far. Our hosts had invited colleagues from some other hospitals to join, and the large auditorium was fairly full.

Before the lectures, we had the opportunity to walk through the hospital’s garden courtyard, which we were told is the only one of its kind among the hospitals in Beijing. It reminded me of several places on our various Mayo Clinic campuses.

Garden Courtyard

We also met with the hospital leaders and had a good discussion, in the hospital’s newly renovated and restored boardroom, and then did the traditional exchange of gifts.

MeetingGift Exchange

Then it was on to the presentations and an extended Q&A session, facilitated by our excellent interpreters, Natalia (left) and Stephanie (right):


As I mentioned previously, Kent’s book has sold more than 350,000 copies in China. After the program the book-signing line extended across the front of the auditorium:

Book-signing lineup

At our traditional formal dinner, Stephanie encouraged me to try a dish which she said was quite tasty, but that I would not want to eat if I knew what it was:


It was in fact good (especially with cream and honey), but then I asked her to tell me what it was:

While Stephanie will be continuing as an interpreter for a couple additional stops, this was Natalia’s last day with us. Friday is a travel day, and another interpreter will join us in Chengde.

Many people have contributed to make this tour possible, but without our interpreters it would be very close to meaningless. So we said goodbye to Natalia with our thanks for her good work:


Day Three: Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital and the Chinese Table

I will start and end this post with some culinary observations: As I went through the breakfast buffet at the hotel I spotted something familiar and delightful:


I have fond memories of these sweet oranges, which I now know grow in the northern part of China, and which Americans call “Mandarin” oranges. One of my favorite treats was when Mom made Mandarin Orange Jell-O. I rarely got to eat the oranges by themselves, but on occasion I would sneak a small can. Seeing a self-serve bowl in the buffet with this delicacy was a real treat.

BTCH ExteriorOur lecture tour’s second “station” as our hosts call it was a new hospital in Beijing, which has been in operation for less than two years. Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital (BTCH) is located in one of the most densely populated areas of Beijing; more than 700,000 people live within three subway stops of the hospital.

IMG_0421BTCH was created through a gift from a wealthy Taiwanese benefactor who wanted to bring an advanced management model for hospitals from Taiwan’s Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to mainland China.

While we didn’t get to tour the hospital, the conference facility was state-of-the-art, and we had a great audience that asked some very perceptive questions in our extended discussion.

It also has been interesting to learn of connections these hospitals already have with Mayo Clinic. For example, in our conversation with leaders before the lectures we learned that Dr. Win Shen, who is the Chair of Cardiology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona (and with whom I worked occasionally on news releases when he was in Rochester back in my media relations days), also has a formal role with BTCH that brings him here twice a year.

The formal Chinese Dinner has been a fascinating culinary and social experience. After both of our afternoon programs so far we have gone with hospital leaders and our hosts to dinners in local restaurants where the variety (and amount) of food has been amazing.

Formal Dinner TableEach evening we come into a room with a round table. Dr. Seltman and I typically are on either side of the hospital president (with our interpreters also nearby) and then everyone else has an assigned seat as well. Even with the assigned seating, however, everyone seems to spend a good amount of time standing, as participants move around the table to toast each other.

The inner ring of the table is a motorized glass conveyor that brings an endless supply of amazingly various food, as you see in the Tweet below:

One of the dishes at this meal was squid jellyfish:


In my three days in China I have developed some dexterity with chopsticks, and have tried most of the dishes (at least the gluten-free ones) that have passed in front of me.

And while it might not be the most flattering, I’m pretty proud of this photo, a left-handed selfie while I use chopsticks to taste squid jellyfish:

Squid Selfie

It doesn’t taste like chicken.


Day One in China: Tiananmen Square and The Heavenly Temple

Because my hospital presentations don’t start until today (Tuesday), I was able to do some sightseeing yesterday.

First stop was Tiananmen Square, where highlight included:

Sentries who stand motionless for several hours at a time:

SentryChairman Mao’s Mausoleum (which wasn’t open on Monday)…

Chairman Mao Mausoleum

…and beautiful flowers (see this tweet for a panoramic view):

Lee by Beautiful Flowers

Then we went across the street, where I posed for a picture with Chairman Mao.


The view from above Mao’s photo was spectacular:

Tian an men Square

After this we went for lunch, where I had the universal beverage:

Universal Beverage

Because the Forbidden City also was closed on Monday, we instead went to The Heavenly Temple. Here are a few more pictures that show the intricacy and elegance of the buildings:

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
Imperial Hall of Heaven
Imperial Hall of Heaven
Heavenly Centre Stone
Heavenly Centre Stone

The Heavenly Centre Stone is interesting in that it is surrounded by a ring of nine stones, which is surrounded by a rings of 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72 and 81 stones. Then you take nine steps down to the next level, and the pattern continues.

Finally, I ended the day with my first Hot Pot experience, which I tweeted this morning: