The summer States sojourn saga

The summer States sojourn saga
JISHOU, HUNAN — As promised, here’s a summary of this year’s sojourn in the USA, accompanied by a few photos to document the adventure. Before I get started, I’d like to welcome Medium readers to Wheat-dogg’s World. Today I discovered there was a WordPress plugin to post to Medium automatically. If all goes well, this post will be the first to appear on my Medium feed. For new readers, I should explain that I’m an American teaching English in Hunan, China. Every year, my university pays for a round-trip ticket to the USA, and I usually go back in the summertime for about four weeks to visit my family and friends, and sometimes even work in some touristy things, like visiting Pikes Peak. (See photo above.) As I live in what you could call flyover country in China, traveling abroad requires a trip to a regional airport and a flight to an international hub, like Shanghai or Beijing. If you factor in all the taxi, bus, subway and plane segments, it takes about a day to get from Jishou to where any member of my family lives in the USA. (As yet, no one lives near an international hub airport.) ...

My Winter Holiday, part deux 4

JISHOU, HUNAN — So, here I was back in China, after three weeks in the USA, and it seemed like I was stranded in Shanghai. (Or shanghaied.) When I left China, I was pretty sure my flight to Changsha was just a few hours after my arrival in Pudong Airport. No shuttle bus trips, no worries. But I had no idea what flight I would take, since my foreign affairs officer had worked out the details. So, as soon as I disembarked from United 835, I connected to China Mobile and sent him a message: “When is my flight?” His reply: “Bad news, it’s been canceled” Turns out I had to go to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport after all to catch a different flight. No biggie, I thought, Another 30 RMB bus fare with plenty of time to catch the domestic flight. Puh-lenty of time. Due to stormy weather around Changsha, my flight was delayed not one, not two, but five freaking hours! My 9 pm flight from Hongqiao Airport eventually left at 3 am! At one point, I fell completely asleep across four chairs, only to wake scared shitless I had missed my flight. I hadn’t. There were still two ...

Flu flies the friendly skies

JISHOU, HUNAN — It should not come as a big surprise that the swine flu (H1N1 influenza virus) has spread very quickly. A lot of people fly internationally now. But epidemiologists in Toronto have found convincing correlation between air travel from Mexico during the early stages of the H1N1 outbreak and the number of reported infections in the destination cities. Their findings are summarized in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine First, here’s their map showing the destinations of air travelers from Mexico during March and April 2008. [Click on the image to see it full-size.] The vast majority of those destinations were in the USA and Canada. The researchers tabulated the number of reported cases of H1N1 infections. The USA and Canada lead the list. China has seen relatively few H1N1 cases, since air travel between China and Mexico is not too common, but reported cases have either involved travelers who had been to Mexico and traveled through the USA, or travelers coming directly from the USA. By comparison, soldiers returning from World War I apparently spread the so-called Spanish flu around the world, leading to a major pandemic in 1918. In response to the pandemic, ...
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