Jul 29, 2009

Swine Flu Diary: Caught in a Beijing Dragnet

I've been following many of the news reports in the past few months about student groups and tourists from the US being quarantined in China. This report in the New York Times is by far the best written and touching of them. Check out this excerpt:
Saturday. They didn’t have an ambulance so we took the bus to Tiantan hospital, just me and the driver. I got to see the slums of Beijing, which I would never have seen otherwise. The houses were made of patched-up straw and metal. There were kids running around barefoot who looked like they needed more to eat. Everyone was tan and dirty, and there was laundry hanging everywhere.

When I saw my room, I was, like, “Uhh, this is a hospital?” The paint was peeling and the pipes were exposed. But I was so happy to see a bed. I just wanted to go to sleep.
I feel for these kids that are getting caught in this unfortunate mess. Navigating your way through all this ridiculousness would be challenging even for us expatriates that have spent a number of years here and are fluent in Chinese. I can't imagine the way these poor students are feeling.

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