This morning I received a call from Ted at the embassy inquiring as to my well-being. Ted said that they expect to receive a list of all Americans but had not received it. I gave him a description of the situation and some estimates of the number of people. He also said that the embassy had sent some boxes of books and movies which may still be around.
My estimate is that at least 40 people are in quarantine here; we had 7 people in our ambulance, and there were at least 5 ambulances. A few more people have also arrived today. The procedure for meals is that we walk down a buffet line and indicate the items we would like. The masked and gowned staff package everything to go, and we return to eat in our rooms. The first meal I had (lunch) was one of the most nutritious I have had so far, with significant portions of vegetables. (My diet for the previous week featured largely rice and meats.)
We have procured playing cards, and those with outside contacts are working to arrange additional supply drops. Our talkative English friend was in this afternoon’s arrivals, and I expect he will take full advantage of what room-service is available. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but included in the books sent by the embassy is a copy of the Worst Case Survival Handbook. I did not see a copy of José Saramago’s Blindness, which is perhaps for the best.
My temperature this morning: 36.6 degrees.
Yesterday afternoon we had gathered to watch some Beijing Opera, only to be told that the even was cancelled and that we must return to the dorms. Word slowly trickled down that there had been a few cases of H1N1 and that we were to be placed in quarantine. To save typing, below is the email I sent to the American embassy.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: XXXX XXXX <xxxx>
Date: Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 9:21 AM
Subject: In Beijing, have been quarantined
To: <embassy email>
I and others of my summer session at Beijing Normal University were
moved into quarantine late last night/early this morning. (We were
finally moved to the quarantine hotel about 2 am.) Current location
appears to be the Yanxiang Hotel at A2 Jiangtai Road in the Chaoyang
District. We are told that we will be kept in quarantine for 5 days.
I believe there are a few other Americans here, but only other name I
know at the moment is XXXX XXXX. (Most of the others I know are
Italian or Polish.) The [rumored] reason for the quarantine is that a
couple of students (Japanese, possibly Korean) from the No. 2
international students dormitory had contracted the H1N1 virus.
Daily temperature tests will be taken at 0900 and 1600; it appears to
be taking them some time to reach everyone this morning as I only just
now hear voices in the hall. My temperature at arrival was normal.
I’m due to fly to Beijing this Friday, and already I have plenty of work ahead of me. Fortunately some of the more urgent tasks have been resolved, albeit only to make room for their successors. The process of preparing not-too-cryptic clues for my colleagues continues apace.
Taking a page from my last trip, I expect to fit everything I need for a month’s stay in a single carry-on, with a briefcase for the tablet and camera. I will check an additional garment bag on the assumption that I will be retaining the services of Senli and Frye. The question remains of which lenses I should bring; I am leaning towards a single fast prime and a zoom. Perhaps the 50/1.8 and the 18-200, though the 35/1.8 and the Tokina 11-16 present compelling arguments. My iPhone will remain at home and in its place will be my Blackberry.
Bob Shiller’s original chart of historic home values back to 1890 was originally published in 2006. The four charts below provide an interesting perspective.
With projections overlaid:
Updated, December 2008:
Updated, June 2009:
I had drawn this channel some time ago, before the June retrace. Isn’t it beautiful?