No more theaters. No more KTV karaoke. (Almost) no faces on Guangzhou’s streets that are bare without face masks. Welcome to the new World Virus Order, courtesy of the kind of unsanitary health practices your mother has been warning you about for the past thirty years.
We’re about 1500 kilometers (that’s about 932 miles/Freedom Units) from the Coronavirus epicenter in Wuhan, China and as far as we can tell this disease has nothing to do with the Mexican beach beer. We’re also now in the middle of Chinese New Year, the single largest annual migration of people (~400 million), so the chance of the virus continuing to spread as family and friends come into close contact; hug, kiss, “gān bēi” their beers, drink from “fallen soldier” mystery glasses (“Pretty sure this is my glass”); sweat together in small apartments, soak together in rooms steamed by steamed “bāo zi” bun baking; swim through memories of the months past, of the years gone, of relatives long buried or burnt but never forgotten; grandpa gleefully retelling stories you’ve heard 40 or 50 times; grandma blurting something indecipherable while drooling out dinner, eyes vacant, lost and questioning; aunts and uncles and cousins and neighbors and babies and best friends and Dom-named-bunnies (“It is!”) and ugly “too-many-legs!” buggies; arthritic busted knees and shirts with stains and creases; lucky red New Year money meticulously counted and particularly divided so it can be forcefully and uninhibitedly spent; all the bits and pieces smashed together for a CCTV 7pm headline news report edited-for-content-and-to-protect-your-fragile-mind of something the magnitude of which nobody quite understands – (well, they probably do, but they aren’t telling just yet). *Gasp*
Welcome to the new World Virus Order – Chinese New Year 2020 Edition!
Over the past month that Manchit and I have been together in Guangzhou, the virus news has grown from a handful of indistinct, unimpassioned bulletins to a constant barrage of updates: new confirmed cases, new confirmed deaths, new confirmed methods of prevention, new levels of panic from the general population (though also an ever-present strain [heh] of citizen apathy and government distrust), new cities being shut down and quarantined. With only three days left until we are scheduled to fly out of China to the Middle East, we should be fine in regards to that last aspect. It seems unthinkable that the government would begin quarantining one of China’s premier cities that is so far from the virus starting line in Wuhan. Then again, if the question had been presented last week about if it would be remotely possible for China to shut down an area containing ~40 million people, the answer would have seemed hilariously obvious. Now that China has already embarked on a quarantine of the before-mentioned immensity, nothing quite seems so impossible now.
In any case, we plan for our upcoming trip to the Middle East (~2 weeks in Oman to start, then… somewhere!), and also must take a look back at what the hell we have been up to for the past year because *gulp* this is our first post in about 10 months! (Sorry!)
2019 was a blur of traveling, work, a Valentine’s Day proposal on top of a mountain in Yunnan, China, more work, more traveling, a COURTHOUSE WEDDING in November, and lots of love, lots of laughs, lots of family and friends and food and fantastic moments! We will do a few of these posts, and hopefully some day we will actually make our posts to be chiefly concerned with our present activities and not those of a year ago! Onward the highlight train chugs as we enter the Lunar New Year 2020 – the Year of the Mouse/Rat.
We started off 2019 much as we did this current year (and 2018 if we’re counting), with a few weeks in China before and after the New Year. After celebrating the New Year with Manchit’s family in Guangzhou, we sped off to China’s Yunnan province for ten days in February…
Much more on the way. (And hopefully us too on the way and not quarantined here!)
D + M