Thursday, April 23, 2009

Viagra in China

Wan ai ge! Chengdu 090424 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Many Westerner's believe that China and the Chinese are shy and squeamish about sex. Not so I think, they have a much more healthy attitude towards sex and the body than say that prudish and many times hypocritical of all nations the United States. Sex shops can be found all over China, staffed by matter-of-fact grannies in drab-gray doctor's coats willing to explain every sex aid in excrutiating detail, never blinking an eyelash. The body and its natural functions and ailments are treated quite matter-of-factly and a good example is this quite large advertisement for Viagra at the front of a drugstore on the First Ring Road in Chengdu. (The young man in the picture is selling cosmetics and has nothing to do with this story ;-). 

Viagra is well-known all over China and can even be bought over the counter in bus stations and airports. Fake Viagra exists of course and a Chinese equivalent is also produced (much cheaper but clinical tests...who knows? ). On tours some of my Swedish travelers ask for it, thinking it would perhaps be much cheaper to buy in China than in Sweden, but the cost is about the same and I would be very careful about recommending anyone to use the fake pills, who knows what the Chinese put into those! Even though millions and millions of Chinese men supposedly use Viagra today (Pfizer must be raking in the dough) since it is still so expensive most men here can't afford it. Traditional medicines exist aplenty but seemingly don't do the trick like Viagra - Chinese scientists even feed it to pandas (they also let them watch x-rated movies). Besides putting the tickle back in your pickle it can also be used to prevent flowers from wilting and a more recent discovery is that it works well combating high altitude pulmonary edema associated with altitude sickness. Hey, if that's true I'm on! 

The ad above offers a 145 yuan reduction/savings on the standard price and the three large characters are its official Chinese name (chosen I guess because it sounds roughly like "Viagra"): Wàn ài  万艾可 roughly translates as "10,000 - beautiful (or more commonly - mugwort (Artemisia vulgris) - possibilities", Below this in red is its more popular colloquial name wěi  哥 ("great elder brother", or even better "Mighty Brother"), Supposedly in Taiwan Viagra is known as wei er gang, "fierce and strong". All right already, strong is fine, drop the fierce! 

In traditional Chinese thinking "like is cured with like", thus you can find snake skin in Chinese apothecaries used for curing skin conditions and unfortunately all those rhino horns, dried penises and tiger bones, causing the eminent extinction of many animal species. The poor little seahorse is racing on its way to complete elimination because of the belief that eating it in a wine or rice porridge can cure impotency. In Beijing there is even a restaurant that serves penis of all shapes and sizes from almost any animal (with a penis) you can imagine.  (Paddy's comment: "Did you know that there's a worm whose reproductive organ is half his body length?")

Sad that all this isn't as easily fixed as flicking a light switch!

At anytime of the day or night  this lamp will "rise to the occasion" and wake you. "Viagra" blue lampshade included!


Chengdu April 24, 2009 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Today's flower purchase, five bunches of cornflowers for 20 yuan (22 SEK) from a farmer lady walking the streets with a basket backpack. The color combination is incredibly beautiful with different shades of blue, pink, purple and vermillion. They are just too beautiful!

Cool girls

Click on image to make larger! Wuhou Hengjie April 23, 2009 Chengdu ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Met these wild girls on the way to dinner today. They were just too irresistible to not photograph. Reconfirms what I have said so many times before: I live on the cooooooolest street in Chengdu!