My ear is infected where I have my tragus piercing, so I asked one of the graduate students who has been going around with us and helping us where I could find iodine. He told me to go to the school clinic and that it is very inexpensive - 1 yuan (which is about 17 cents). Since he had class, he sent me with two girls who speak English, but they didn't speak very well, and my room mate Kate came with me. When we got there, we felt like we were in a zombie apocolypse hospital. It was dark and eerie.

The girls paid 1 yuan to the lady at the desk (I tried to pay, but she wouldn't let me) and I thought they were getting me the iodine, but then they had us walk back to a room where two doctors were sitting at desks. The girls spoke with one of the doctors rapidly and at this point I wasn't sure that anyone understood that all I wanted was to buy some iodine, I didn't want to be seen by a doctor. Kate (who speaks Chinese much better than I) spoke up and explained that I just wanted to buy iodine, and they continued to speak.

Then the other doctor got up, pulled out a bottle of something, got some Q-tips and came over to me. He wasn't wearing gloves, but I recognized the color of the liquid as being iodine and he wiped my ear with the iodine - all the while another student came in and was discussing her ailment with the other doctor. I explained that what he used was what I was looking for, and the two Chinese girls who were there to help me spoke rapidly in Chinese again. Then we left.

The two girls explained to me that for whatever reason, the clinic is not permitted to sell iodine, and that we would have to go to the drug store to buy some. The doctor had perscribed me to buy some and put it on 3 times a day. So we walked to the gate to leave campus and go into the city to the drug store. When we got to the gate, the girls stopped us and wouldn't let us go any further. They explained that it was not safe in the city and they would be responsible if anything happened so we would have to stay there. It was very strange. Once again they wouldn't let me give them any money. Ten minutes later they came back with the iodine and some Q-tips.

Today, I went to use the iodine for the first time, and when I opened the bottle, it wasn't sealed. It wasn't even full. I put some on the back of my hand with a Q-tip. The color stained the Q-tip the color of iodine, but my hand didn't stain. It sort of smells like iodine, but it almost smells sweet. If it is iodine it is extremely watered down. Now I am at a loss. This is quite an experience.