Saturday, June 25, 2011

The missing story

A summer ago, I wrote that I could never go back and work in China and there would be a story to come to explain. Here it is, a bit late, but it relates to my current situation this summer as well.

Waiting in line for the UK pavilion, I was full of anticipation. Even from the outside, it was already better than all the other pavilions at the expo; but it was also humid on the verge of raining, hot on the verge of suffocating, and the line was an estimated four hours long.

A little while before getting into that line, it had actually been raining. And at least for a brief while, it had been raining on me. It started at my scalp. I got this itch that literally made me want to tear my hair out. I was doing the best to not flail and grab at my scalp like a mad woman. I stuck to the usual running my hand through my hair every now and then for slight relief, but after half an hour, I couldn't take it. I ran and stuck my head in a sink and scrubbed away. To my delight, my scalp responded with a sigh of relief.

So back in line at the UK pavilion, my entire body started to itch. I ignored it for a bit figuring it was the even spread of 8 or so mosquito bites I had received when someone had left our hostel room door open. But ever so gradually, the bites began to grow in a strange web like fashion and soon enough I was covered in hives. I didn't actually know what hives looked like, never having had them before. The friend I was with kept telling me I should go to the clinic, and I could probably get someone to let me back into line. We were about two hours into the line, and I was not so willing to leave if that meant those had been two hours wasted. Of course, I was not allowed to leave and come back, so I stuck it out in that line for another two hours. I wrote a wonderful review of the UK pavilion as a guest blogger for SHIFTboston, but the actual experience of being inside the pavilion was a torturous mix of 'I want to stay and really take this amazing space in!' and 'I need to leave immediately so I can go somewhere and tear all my skin off'. I still feel a little bad about rushing my expo companion off and away.

So long story short, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to acid rain, and China, I'm sure, is full of it. Terrible experience. Never want to do that again.

Unfortunately, ever since then, it seems my skin has been more sensitive than it was before and it gets a lot worse in the summer. Not really sure what it is. Humidity? Air pollution? UV? Heat? It was difficult to sleep last night. Help.

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