Blogs from Chengdu, Sichuan, China, Asia


Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu August 24th 2019

Dear Blog Readers, The people have spoken and both readers have commented on the lack of toilet thus far. I was going to save it for the the stomach issues faced in Guilin (spoiler alert) but I'll comment on thoughts so far on the bog front. In general, very impressive facilities - numerously scattered about the towns, especially in Beijing, where the houses in the hutongs rarely have their own toilet so the public ones are used. Often clean and we must have experienced some shockers as sometimes it was the locals that were disgusted with the facilities rather than ourselves! You must bring toilet paper - it's a luxury if there is some provided (often at the entrance rather than in the cubicle. Talking of cubicles, it wasn't uncommon for there not to be door, ... read more
Pandas chilling out after some breakfast
Trying a 'mild' hotpot
Chairman Mao overlooking Starbucks & KFC

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 29th 2019

Chengdu, Sichuan, China (May 25, 2019) Following our team’s final presentation at the meeting we met with the hospital VP and Chair of the Ophthalmology department to discuss how to advance the eye hospital. The consideration was given to do it in an existing facility that is owned or under the SPPH control, but not actually in the main hospital as space is highly sought commodity. There were two suggestions: one a recently built (6 years old) nursing school in the Tianfu region of Chengdu, which is the high tech, high growth area. It was a ten story building on a campus setting with other dorm and cafeteria buildings associated with it. Some of the space was well suited for some inpatient services, but there would need to be a general remodel of the space. Access ... read more
Nursing School Building
Campus where Hospital is Located
Railway Allied Health School Hospital

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 26th 2019

Chengdu, Sichuan, China (May 26, 2019) Sunday morning we had a planning meeting in the hotel’s tea house with one of the SPPH hospital's leaders. The purpose of the meeting was to give him feedback on the two buildings we'd seen and come up with an action plan for moving forward. He expressed there was strong support and that the opportunity to advance it was now. We debated the pros and cons of both locations and decided that the northwest location was likely the best to get started quickly and could always be moved later if the patient flow was a challenge. I pitched a high-level business plan as a starting point, refreshing one that we’d presented five years ago and there was consensus that the approach was still solid and we should move ahead with ... read more
Pitching a Plan

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 24th 2019

Chengdu, China (May 24, 2019) It is Friday and I've been delinquent in keeping up posts on the blog. I'll fill the details in later. After day 1 of the Sino-American Ophthalmology Conference today, we were invited by the SPPH Hospital's VP and Dean of the Medical School for a legitimate Sichuan hot pot dinner. It was a busy place, loud and boisterous and we had all the usual traditional hot pot choices. Twin cauldrons of boiling bullions - one red because of all the hot peppers boiled into it for flavoring and a whiter one in the middle for those with a milder palate preference. Prior to starting, we mix a bowl of sesame oil, vinegars, garlic, herbs and spices to dip the boiled meats and vegetables in and add more flavors and cool down ... read more
Hot Pot ready to boil
Our Table

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 23rd 2019

Chengdu, China (May 22, 2019) Each year we come over, there is a major regional ophthalmology conference where now about 200 ophthalmologists from Sichuan attend. It has grown substantially from the first years, and the venues have become increasingly impressive. This year it was held at Sichuan University campus, where they have a five star hotel and an amazing conference center. Was blown away with the size of the screen for presentation - just shy of Texas Stadium's! It must have been 40 ft high. Some leading ophthalmologists and researchers from other parts of China participated in the first day and the two talks preceding mine were a perfect set up for my topic on artificial intelligence in ophthalmology. Our hosts arranged a speaker's lunch at an exquisite restaurant inside the hotel where a charming hostess ... read more
Elegant presentations
Hostess in Traditional Han Outfit

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 22nd 2019

Chengdu, China (May 22, 2019) After the quick flight from Kunming, we took the SPPH hospital bus back to the Tian Chen Lou Hotel - a familiar place for those of us who've been coming to China. Its a mid-range hotel that has been remodeled since we initially used to stay here and is quite nice. The beds are much softer than they used to be, the Internet more reliable, and the breakfast has more variety! Wednesday morning was spent with the ophthalmology residents at SPPH presenting clinical cases on the hospital's 12th floor conference room. The residents have come a long way since our initial years here - disciplined in structuring a case presentation, systematically working through a differential diagnosis and justifying the tests they order to get to a final diagnosis. We were having ... read more
Dr. Liu and Berlin - one of the residents
Game Show Hosts Drs. Melson and Tan
Health Economics Lecture by Dr. Melson

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 17th 2019

Chengdu, China (May 17, 2019) After a reasonably restful night I got up at sunrise to go for a walk and explore a park near the hotel. The Huanhuaxi Park has beautiful flower, lush vegetation, a river and large pond with plenty of egrets and ducks. A nice peaceful place where quite a few people came out for walks, runs and tai chi exercising. The morning temperatures are in the mid 60's with some humidity as it rained last night, but quite comfortable even working up a sweat. Its quick packing, another adventurous breakfast and off to the airport to meet our colleagues from Kaiser and the Chinese ophthalmologists and we'll fly south to Xichang. More from there!... read more
Huanhuaxi Park
Huanhuaxi Park
Huanhuaxi Park

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 17th 2019

Chengdu, Sichuan, China (May 17, 2019)) Meilan, a spunky petite sales rep for Santen Pharmaceuticals came to meet me at the hotel with a driver to take us to the airport. There we met up with Drs. Yun Liu and Paul Chen, colleagues from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. Paul is a big Warriors fan, so we get to hear a lot about their deserved greatness! We had a little excitement since my ticket was purchased with an incorrect passport number, so after a little back and forth someone figured it out and I made it on to the flight. A short one-hour flight was fully booked with only one blond, blue-eyed person on the plane that I could tell. Xichang looks like a different geography than Chengdu – mountains surrounding a valley, quite dry and ... read more
The team at lunch
Lunch is served

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 16th 2019

Chengdu, China (May 16, 2019) Hainan Dreamliner flight 7966 couldn’t have gone any smoother. Boarding on time, leaving JFK on time and getting to our destination about an hour earlier than projected - a 14 for flight. My original seat wasn’t working and wouldn’t recline so they promptly re-seated me. I was able to sleep about 7 hours. Sat next to an interesting man - the former head of R&D for Regeneron (maker of Eyelea - a blockbuster drug in ophthalmology). He’s young, but retired now and mostly travels for enjoyment. It is early morning here and trying to get checked into the Tien Chen Lou hotel - you all know the fire drill. I think 5 am is before check-in time! One of the residents (Vincent) is working the phones... read more
Hainan Air has its own preflight mocktail

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 16th 2019

Chengdu, China (May 16, 2019) The people from the Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital are always gracious in hosting us. In spite of arriving an hour early, there was a resident I'd not met before who met me with a car to take me to the hotel. Vincent (his English name christened just for our arrival) took me to the hotel where it was way too early to check in. After a dozen phone calls there was an agreement that I could check in early, but it would take some time. I visited with Vincent - he with his broken English and me with no Chinese. He's from Chengdu, married another physician (pulmonary medicine I think) and is doing his Master's level training in cataract surgery. He doesn't get to do independent surgery, but has done some ... read more
Tien Chen Lou Hotel
TCL Room 6503

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