May 4, 2009

Mexican roundup

There's been some news reports recently about Mexicans arriving in China being rounded up and put in quarantine as a precaution against swine flu. I suppose it makes sense from a disease-control perspective, but you'd think they'd go the extra mile to make it more comfortable for them.

The Wall Street Journal article mentions they've stuck some of these unfortunate folks in the Guo Men hotel (国门饭店) in Beijing, out near the airport (map). I was curious what type of place it was, so I did a quick search. Here's some links to reviews by travelers:
Let me tell you, this sounds like a hotel you'd be sick of after one night. It'd be hard to imagine staying there for however long this quarantine business is going to take.

The first review of the Guo Men hotel on the ctrip.com web site is:
很旧很旧的酒店!旧到我没办法想象,而且很不好找这家酒店。服务也不怎么地。
反正就是觉得不值这个价!
Translation:
"Very very old hotel. It's so old it's unimaginable, not to mention the hotel is difficult to find. Service is so-so. Anyway, it's not worth the price."
The tripadvisor.com review is sort of funny:
"in all 5 continents I visited the last 50 years I have never been in such a run down and dirty shack, not even in Africa or South America."
Seems like a bad place to be stuck for a quarantine. I would bet good money they don't have HBO and ESPN in the rooms. Definitely no Telemundo or Univision either.

The thing is, Beijing over-built hotels for the 2008 Olympics, and there should be many places with extra rooms these days. You'd think they could find a wing in a nicer place to seal off and accommodate people.

Next time you're traveling and you get stuck on the runway for three hours, or your flight is weather delayed to the next day, think about this story. It could always be worse -- you could have sat on an airplane for 12 hours, been evaluated in a foreign hospital, and then sent off to a hotel that's ready to be condemned for an unknown period of time.

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