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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/21/2020 in Posts

  1. 29 points
    We got back to the UK And it was a crazy journey. First off, massive respect to the UK foreign office and local constituents for representing us, they managed to get a coach arranged only one day before the last flight out of Wuhan, which drove around 700km to pick up 4 British nationals in the far reaches of Hubei province and take us to the airport in time for the flight. I had completely given up hope, but was amazed to receive a phonecall only days ago saying there was a chance they had found a government driver that would be able to come find us. And he did. sort of. as is always the case in China, the smaller the town, the less contact with state and central government there is, and this was no different. when the coach arrived at the exit to come into our town, the police refused the driver entry point blank, saying he didn't have the right papers to enter the town. If we wanted to get on the coach, we had to come to them and walk across the ETC area by foot. okay. how do we get to him? there were three police checkpoints to get through, and the only thing the police would accept was their 枝江通行證 (turned out to be a torn in half A4 sheet with the above characters on it and a stamp…). I showed them all the embassy papers, the official notices from the provincial and city governments, but they just weren't good enough. I even called the foreign office, and was again told 'don't you have any guanxi?' In the end, it took over 2 hours, 5 pages of forms, 9 official stamps, a visit to the hospital and two government bureaus and a long argument between a yichang official and a zhijiang official who refused to stamp the final form (even though zhijiang falls under the jurisdiction of yichang). Seemed like noone wanted to be held responsible for letting us go... But more interestingly, this ordeal required us to run all across town to different departments, and it was our first time out of the house in three weeks. Cant really describe how eerie and quite frankly scary the place looked: familiar busy streets completely deserted, police cars driving around slowly, blaring messages to cover your face and stay indoors at all times, the hospital had people screaming hysterically at the entrances and (not even joking) doctors running inside with boxes with blood slopping down the side (i can only hope it was emergency blood transfusions). Nobody about except police and military, and the occasional government car. No word of a lie, it looked and felt like something straight out of I Am Legend or 28 Days Later. I really wanted to take pictures and videos, but all the police were not looking like they were in the mood for such antics. Once we finally left the city it was as expected: completely empty motorway for 3 hours. Only one month ago I day on the very same stretch of road in gridlock. Empty fields too. The whole province really is a ghost town. And it was so sad to see, because for me, Hubei is China. We made it to the airport after many police checkpoints and temperature checks, to find hundreds of passengers from a number of countries all trying to get onto three different flights leaving at the same time. It was one massive queue that lead into a single health check area. If your temperature didn't make the cut you couldn't get on the plane - found out later two of the Brits on our flight weren't allowed on and were sent back to Wuhan because their temperatures were checked five times and 1/5 times their readings were slightly above average. Terrible feeling. All in all, queued in a room full of facemasks and hazmats for about 7 hours. But thankfully for us we made it out, through the storm in the uk at the moment and landed in galeforce headwinds at a military base in the uk (scariest landing of my life). We are now in quarantine. Phew, cant believe it. As for family back in Zhijiang, we are happy we managed to get out for our own sakes, but also as it is two less mouths to feed over the next few weeks, which will make things a bit easier for the rest (still six mouths to feed all in one house now we've gone). The hoarding has already begun in many cities, and I know rations-style food distribution started in some of the 小區 near us started today. The local university has been converted into a quarantine centre, where student bunks are now hospital beds. Online classes also began today. A friend can't return home, as while they were outing buying food, someone in their building got diagnosed with the virus and now the whole block has been quarantined. People are saying infection rates are dropping, but at street level, I can say from first hand witness, the state of things near the centre of the outbreak is pretty dire to say the least… Cant believe I'm in the UK writing this right now, surreal. Just been swabbed for the virus, have to wait 48 hours for the result. Wish me luck!
  2. 18 points
    Hey ABC, if you don't know yet, there is a chance of snow in Dallas for the next couple of days. The TV weather report is saying travel is not recommended. (Just what you want to hear...) Yes, you are right, that's not what I was hoping to hear. Got to DFW (Dallas) last night from Los Angeles. Good flight. But this pilgrim is weary. Feels like I've been on the road forever. Lost my large checked suitcase somewhere along the way. Filed a "lost baggage" report. Chances are it's back in Hong Kong. Have rented a car, and in a couple hours will drive home. Should be able to lay my head on my own pillow tonight. A big thank you to all of you here on the forum who have been pulling for me to make it!
  3. 14 points
    update from quarantine here: - first lab test results are back, and the whole group has tested negative, which is obviously great news. - were going to be tested again this saturday, then again two days before the 14 day period is up, because apparently some symptomless carriers don't show up on early tests. - i am closing in on completing my written memorisation of 千字文, I have written it out so much now I am starting to really hate it…which is always a good sign, shows I'm definitely reciting it enough - hit the 30 mark for classical poems learnt by heart… - so bored ive ordered a neo geo to the quarantine centre so i can play metal slug. I literally never get bored of studying, but damnit if my brain doesn't need to unwind sometimes
  4. 14 points
    Im certainly no expert, but seeing as the title reads "what do you believe", I will share my opinion based on what I saw in Hubei in the last few days. Ive never seen anything like the level to which the cities have been locked down before, it was very extreme to the point where I was wondering, why are there so many roadblocks everywhere, when nobody even wants to go outside? People have been saying a lot about how the amount of flu deaths far exceeds this virus, even if it is super contagious, no need to panic blah blah. But we all know the Chinese govt puts economic development before pretty much everything, so shutting down a whole province all the way down to the movement of people out of their neighbourhood streets onto the main streets, which will inevitably have a deep impact on the economy long term, surely indicates that this is not only a serious problem, but the govt knows just how much more serious it might become if it doesn't put measures in place. But they can't really state this outright, otherwise the whole place will go into panic mode. So yes, I personally think numbers are being underreported and downplayed, judging from the actions bring taken at street level, and to me it makes logical sense as to why.
  5. 14 points
    I’m bailing out. Bought a ticket late last night that has me leaving this Friday, 31 Jan. Will fly via Hong Kong. Flights via Beijing and Shanghai are subject to long delays or cancellations. "Hub" traffic jammed up, especially in Beijing, where they are “breaking in” a new airport. In Hong Kong I will remain air-side if possible. I will have completed exit formalities at passport control prior to boarding in Kunming. I should be in Dallas by the afternoon of Saturday 1 Feb. Lock-downs and travel bans are becoming more widespread. Inter-city bus routes have been suspended, as has all group holiday touring. Most points of interest all over China are closed. The government has officially extended the holiday, so people don't need to be in a panic to get back home to their place of employment. Once people reach their actual homes, where they have jobs, I wouldn't be surprised if all (or most) domestic travel is halted. When no one is sure how much is enough, official over-reaction becomes the norm. Schools are suspended, all gathering places are sealed. Even the movie theaters have shut down. People are stockpiling groceries, especially non-perishables like rice and cooking oil. Canned goods were flying off the shelves when I was at WalMart this morning. If I were not to act now, I would face a real risk of being stranded here 3 or 4 more months before being allowed to exit the country. At least that is my main concern. Of course, nobody has a crystal ball. A second concern is that even though I am healthy, were I to get a benign ten-cent winter cold, the cough, runny nose, and slight fever from that would wind me up in some mandatory locked isolation ward, shoulder to shoulder with people who are "really" sick. I see that as a recipe for disaster; my policy is to stay far away from hospitals at times like this unless I’m on the caregiver end of the equation. So it's bye bye Kunming. I will definitely miss you. Promise to return as soon as it's safe.
  6. 13 points
    Graded Watching is a website I've created to make watching Chinese TV series more approachable for Chinese learners. It offers mainly two things: a ranking based on the number of words, to find TV series at your level a list of words for each show that you can import into Pleco for studying Currently there are around 60 shows listed. I hope I can add more shows in the future, but since the analysis is done based on soft subs the selection is limited. I selected two easier shows for myself to start with, "On Children", a show on Netflix which reminds me of Black Mirror, and "Memory Love", which I use for practicing listening comprehension together with the Chrome extension Language Learning with Netflix. It will stop after each subtitle and I can check whether I understood everything. Before watching an episode I study all the words using Pleco flashcards, so I hardly need to look up anything while watching, which is very motivating. If you have soft subs for more shows I'd be happy to include them.
  7. 13 points
    Haha, with families and couples suddenly forced to spend a lot more time together than they are used to, I'm sure China will see a spike in both births and divorces in the coming months (just a general comment, not talking about your personal situation) The situation in Harbin escalated a notch overnight, and I'd say we're at DEFCON 3 now. Apparently, there have been a few infections around my area (within 1-2 km), so the situation feels a lot closer to home, rather than just being something on the news. It also seems that many residential apartment complexes have begun requiring permission slips in order to leave, including mine: I used one of the three slips issued to me for this week to go to the local supermarket to stock up. I pretty much bought a weeks worth of supplies, so I suppose I could now sell the other two slips on the (probably already thriving) exit slip black market. Surprisingly, the two guys who run a nut and seed street stall just outside the supermarket decided to open today. Just as I was walking past and thinking about whether or not to buy something, one of the men let out a massive sneeze. While I appreciated the effort he made to turn his head to face slightly back over his shoulder as he did it, it was far from the recommended "sneeze into the inner elbow" technique, and I decided to carry on walking. At the entrance to the shopping mall was a man taking everyone's temperature. He said something to me as he was aiming the small thermometer gun at my wrist, but I was daydreaming and didn't hear what he said, so I just smiled and asked ”正常吗?“, to which he replied ”零“ and showed me the result. He had a slightly confused look on his face, as if unsure as to whether those strange 老外 just naturally had a much lower body temperature to normal folk, and that maybe he should just let me pass anyway. Fortunately, I already had already experienced this issue a couple of days before and therefore knew what to do. I said to him “零?怎么可能, 我还没死呢!” and pulled my jumper and jacket down a bit from my neck so that he could take the measure again, this time around my collar bone area. This time I got a ”正常“ reading, and could continue on downstairs to the supermarket. Everyone seems pretty calm around here, in spite of the new measures. Even the people taking temperatures and controlling the flow of people are generally in good humour. The only nervousness I've encountered was when I was walking around my 小区 a little earlier today. My apartment area is criss-crossed with walking paths, and as I was walking towards a small crossroads, a woman a little ahead and to my right suddenly shouted “别动!”. As I looked to my left I could see who she was telling to stop - a 10/11 year old boy who had seemingly fallen behind his parents at the other side. The boy stood perfectly still with a scared expression on his face, as if he had just been told by Dr Grant to freeze so that a nearby T-Rex wouldn't be able to see him. I carried on walking and the boy ran to join his parents as soon as I had passed the little cross-section. This afternoon I decided to take a leaf out of @abcdefg's book and actually try my hand at making some Chinese food. I generally like cooking, but the food is so cheap that I tend to eat out most days, and when I do cook at home I usually make western food. I decided to make a Dongbei favourite of mine, 锅包肉, but realised when I go home that I had forgotten to buy any Chinese onion. It's at this point that I had to decide whether or not buying it would be worth using one of my two remaining exit permission slips for (#justcoronavirusthings, as @vellocet might say). I decided that I could make do with the western onion already in my fridge instead. The dish turned out ok, but I couldn't quite get the water to 淀粉 ratio right, so the batter didn't turn out as well as it could have. I was satisfied how the sauce turned out though (a delicate balance between the sugar, vinegar, ginger and onion). Oh well, I'm going to have plenty of time to perfect the recipe over the coming days anyway.
  8. 13 points
    http://www.bilibili.com/video/av85901845?share_medium=android&share_source=more&bbid=XYFB5CAF698EEE335B6147082A959F8C857D9&ts=1580454870665 started a video diary for anyone thats interested in getting a realistic perspective of what things are like here at the moment. as you can see, things are calm and quiet. the sun is out, everyone is going about on the street as normal, feeling happy. but tbh it does feel like a calm before the storm kind of atmosphere here, little bit eerie, this street is usually buzzing with neighbours washing clothes, smoking meat, chatting and playing cards and chess
  9. 12 points
    Update: Made it as far as Hong Kong. Flew out of Kunming yesterday afternoon (Friday 31 Jan.) It was an on-time departure with arrival in Hong Kong about 6 pm. Good flight, even had food and beverage service. As you know, China is taking this epidemic very seriously. Everyone wearing a face mask, wiping down surfaces, using hand sanitizer and such. Compliance was 100% at the airport, complete with temperature checks. Still, I was not prepared for lots of passengers on my flight to be wearing those cheap plastic raincoats with hoods. They had the peaked tops pulled up over their heads in addition to face masks. Odd sight. Reminiscent of a KKK rally, since most were light colors, pastels and off-white. (I have only seen these in movies.) The young lady sitting next to me was additionally decked out with disposable vinyl gloves and eye goggles as though she was preparing to do battle in the ICU. She was exquisitely well informed on the subject of this health crisis, and in fact would not shut up about it. My flight out to the US, scheduled for this afternoon (Saturday 1 Feb) was delayed a couple times and ultimately cancelled. Am now re-booked on another flight leaving Monday 3 Feb. Nothing was available tomorrow. The flight from Kunming to Hong Kong was on Cathay Pacific, but now I am at the mercy of American Airlines, and they are a less stable player. I've read that their pilot's union is suing the carrier over assorted grievances, real and imagined and this has further compromised their performance, their ability to deliver the goods, which is getting passengers and freight from point A to point B. I don't really know or care whether their cause is just. I just want them to take me home. Not a big deal. I'm in a good hotel, healthy, well fed and watered, and was able to simply extend my stay by two nights. Have adjusted reservations on the Dallas end of the trip and notified friends and family. Beats the hell out of being locked up in some quarantine gymnasium or warehouse, eating instant noodles 方便面 and sleeping on a straw mat.
  10. 10 points
    we're basically screwed - FCO called this morning to say last flight out is this Sunday, again from Wuhan. Again, no way for us to get to the plane. There are no cars to rent, or buy, yet to find a driver willing to do a 500k round trip to the centre of the epidemic. FCO are not able to guarantee the driver will be able to return after dropping us at the airport. Helpless, govt telling us to get out asap, but when I asked how, I was told, you should use your 'connections'. I dont live in China anymore, and even when I did I didnt live here, and the people here are old just old farmer folk, what connections are we meant to have? Currently speaking with a bbc reporter, see if they can put some pressure on, raise some awareness… At least im in a great place with great family.
  11. 10 points
    Things are fine here in Harbin. The streets are a lot quieter, there are very few cars driving about and many shops are closed, but the supermarkets and 便利店s are all open and full of food, and the air is clear and the sky is blue (probably due in no small part to the lack of traffic). I managed to buy three tubs of fresh fruit for just 10 yuan this afternoon. I've just come off a 3 and a half day water fast, so I dread to think what all that fruit will do to my digestive system! We had our first lesson today via wechat. Luckily there are only 3 students in our class, so we can make it work. All things considered life is pretty good here at the moment - it's all quiet on the Dongbei front. Now I have to send an email to my family to stop them from panicking (I hate the sensationalist news sometimes)
  12. 9 points
    Err...No thanks! Flight out of Hong Kong on JAL was on time, as was the flight onward from Narita (NRT) on JAL to LAX was also on time and without drama. Both were full planes. Just arrived Los Angeles LAX this morning. Took 2 hours to accomplish entry screenings. Hugely disorganized. It was like they were inventing the process as they were going along. No supervisors in sight. Just the foot soldiers trying their best to kind of play it by ear and figure things out. "Hey Bertha, why don't we screen families over here, and people with connecting flights over there." "Sounds like a good idea, Chester. Lets separate out the US citizens from the non-citizens." "OK, that makes sense to me." At first they just had us all sit in a large room. Everyone who had passed through China. Only when the chairs all got full did we begin to form lines, queues. Very few face masks in use here. It's like America thinks the whole thing is some kind of a Chinese joke. Most staff members wore masks at the airport, but less than half of the passengers. Nobody at my hotel is wearing a mask, not even the check-in clerks. Very casual.
  13. 9 points
    I"m prepared for a 2 week quarantine: I have a change of underwear and my Kindle. If the health authorities don't impose one, I will impose my own self-quarantine for 2 weeks. Only go out for essentials. Wear mask, wash hands, etc. Keep a contact diary. My plane leaves in a few hours. Will let you all know how it shakes out. Thanks for your support and suggestions.
  14. 9 points
    Yes, I fully agree and plan to do that. When I go back to Texas for my annual visit, I usually hit the ground running, trying to get lots of things done in a short time. Dentist appointment, new eyeglasses, get new supplies of prescription meds, stop by and chat with the folks at the bank, and so on. Visits with friends and relatives to catch up on news, renew interpersonal ties. Take this old pal out for dinner and that old pal out for a drink. This year I will take it slow and easy. Will play the "masked bandit" when out of the house. Maybe I can finally get my Chinese recipes all pulled together into a small but usable cookbook. That would give me a welcome sense of satisfaction.
  15. 9 points
    Well here it is folks: Yichang has been shut, Zhijiang has been shut. In fact it appears that every road, train station and airport out of Hubei accessible from where we are is now closed. So not going to be able to make the flight out from Chongqing by the looks of things. Seems I'm in this for the long haul... on the plus side my fangyan is gonna get a lot of practice. Not even joking, this year is the first year Ive ever been able to hold conversations with my parents in law (was shocked when we got in last week and I could somehow...understand what they were saying! My wife speaks in fangyan at home all the time when were in the UK, and it has clearly had some deeper passive effect on my listening abilities). Its honestly the best feeling to be able to keep up with jokes in the local dialect, feel like I'm finally a part of the family.
  16. 8 points
    For people old enough to have been a child in the 90s, I think the NeoGeo has an almost mythical status. I could never afford those games back then, so had to make do with the Sega Megadrive. Speaking of which, the mini version of that console has been helping to keep me entertained throughout the semi-quarantine I am currently under. I went on one of my weekly adventures out of my 小区 today. The set-up at the entrance/exit has become more elaborate since last week, with some tents now set up. The dreaded "caronavirus pen" awaited me there, however I was well prepared this time and had brought my own so that I didn't have to use the same one as everybody else in the apartment complex. Unfortunately, as I was half-way done writing my phone number, the pen ran out of ink. It was kind of like one of those cliches in a cheesy horror movie where the car won't start at precisely the moment the main character needs to escape from the murderer. I had no choice but to trepidatiously pick up the communal pen and fill in the rest of my personal info. I had to do the same twice more, once at the supermarket, and again when re-entering my 小区. The supermarket itself was the same as it has been ever since the crisis started, with people buying much more than usual (the few people you see outside are invariably carrying at least two full bags of shopping each). The only difference from last week was the extra protection worn by the staff (what looks like a basic, cheap plastic rainjacket for the counter staff, and a more fancy all-in-one white suit for the lady on the left). Although only a fraction of the normal amount of traffic, they were noticeably more vehicles driving about, to the point where I actually had to look before crossing the road. Apart from the cars, another familiar menace has also returned to Harbin - falling icicles. This sign was part of a barrier chain in front of one a few of my local restaurants and I initially thought that they had been sealed off due to a virus-connected incident. It was only as I walked up to the sign and read it that I realised it was warning about another danger (at which point I quickly 远离ed my way back a few steps). The daily 确诊病例s in Harbin are now down to single figures, so I wonder how much longer they will keep the travel restrictions in place here? I've been pretty much just staying in my apartment all day, every day, except for when I need to buy groceries, but starting from tomorrow I am going to start taking little jogs around my 小区 area every morning. Although I have been doing daily yoga and "prison workout" videos, it doesn't quite make up for the lack of fresh air and natural sunlight (and the air has been unusually fresh since the clampdown). At this point I think that is a bigger danger to my health than the tiny chance of contracting the virus.
  17. 8 points
    I really wish I had been a bit braver and subtley taken some videos, because it really was so surreal. When we were indoors for those few weeks, despite reading all the shocking social media posts, I really didnt expect anything once we were outside, and tbh once we were off our little alley and onto the main road, it really wasnt anything remarkable, just an empty street (although that is fairly remarkable in china i guess). It all got all bizarre and apocalyptic-like once we had to go to the centre of town, where all the govt buildings and hospitals are. As long as you were on foot and passed the temp check, police were letting anyone walk in and out of the areas cordoned off to cars in the city centre. In two hours we must have seen around 20 people in total, mostly queueing up to scream at govt officials who were locked in rooms with an open window to talk to people about whatever problems they were having. We had to go into the hospital body check area, and thats when it got scary, bad timing on our part I suppose: we were being tested by a guy in a hazmat in one of those outside tents when a man started hysterically screaming at a doctor across the road from us. Then an ambulance pulled up and a bunch of doctors jumped out in a panic and started unpacking coolers and boxes with blood on them. We immediately jogged off without trying to look in a panic ourselves. It was one of those moments where you just kind of look at everything as if you arent really there, almost like it was too weird to really be happening. Presumably large parts of Wuhan, Yichang, Huanggang, Jingzhou etc. are the same right now, ie. understaffed and overinfected. I would hazard I guess that many people living in Hubei dont know what its like outside because they haven't been outside nor do they want to. The only people that are outside are those who absolutely have to be out for some emergency reason, causing a concentration of panicked people to all be congregating in one place. edit: added a photo I took of one of the 'windows' where people were shouting, this one was for applying for the 通行证 permit that would get you out of town. Also added one of the many signs up at the entrance to every road
  18. 8 points
    Yes, that was us on the news, we are now in the milton keynes quarantine facility. Still not allowed out of our rooms, test results for the virus have apparently delayed until tomorrow. Still, its fairly nice here, and almost certainly miles better than any of the quarantine centres back in Hubei right now, so we're happy to slowly count down the days until the end of our two weeks.
  19. 8 points
    It felt great to leave my apartment, have a walk around and breathe some fresh air after almost a week of being stuck inside. The air is noticeably fresher than usual without all the cars, and without the usual background noise of traffic and people I even managed to hear some birdsong while walking back to my apartment. The general experience of being outside, listening to the birds sing, letting the sun shine on my face and breathing in the crisp, cold air was so nice that I decided it was worth risking staying outside for a little while so that I could enjoy it for a few minutes longer. I had a funny interaction with the 保安 on the way out. As I was filling in my details, I thought he asked me about my 属性. I usually come across that word when using my computer (file "properties" etc), so I was a bit confused, and thought that maybe it was being used in regards to my status or something. A couple of sentences later and I realised he was asking about my 属相 (Chinese Zodiac) and whether or not we had this concept in my country. He then asked “你们是不是都很有钱?” followed by some comments about the strength of the mighty 英镑 (he doesn't seem to have been following the news these past 3 and a half years). I'm sure most people here have had similar conversations countless times before, and it can be a little boring to go through the same old routine, by today it felt different. With all the virus stuff turning everything upside down, it was oddly reassuring to be having one of those typical foreigner/old curious Chinese man interactions. Here's one of the temperature checking stations that have become a regular part of day to day life in China (taken at a shopping mall): Now for a little about Wechat. The screenshots below are from a popular 公众号. It basically tells you how many newly confirmed infections there have been in the city that day and who the infected are. They give a surprisingly large amount of info about each case, including the person's occupation, address, etc. The thing that seems of most interest to people is each infected person's 活动轨迹 (basically their movements before being admitted to hospital), which is set out in remarkable detail. My teacher was particularly worried when she saw that one of the infected people had eaten at a certain market on the same day she had went there with her family. You'll notice that many of the recent descriptions state 无武汉出游史, meaning they contracted the virus in Harbin, not Wuhan. There is even a map showing infected locations relative to yourself, if you really feel like scaring the bejesus out of yourself (I'm not quite surrounded by red infection marks just yet!) : I know many suspect the official figures, but in Harbin at least, things appear to be being handled with great deal of transparency. We're down to 10-20 new confirmed cases per day here, and many seem to be appearing in clusters. Today especially, many of the new infections appear to have resulted from people ignoring official advice and still getting together with extended family and friends, much to the consternation of many: The few business that remain open are trying to adapt tot he situation, as this 无接触 pizza delivery service from Pizza Hut shows. I take it that they just drop off the pizza at the entrance to your 小区. I wonder if picking up a pizza means having to use one of your exit passes? And finally, some light-hearted humour from my 朋友圈:
  20. 8 points
    The problem with reporting something stupid that someone said, is that then we end up discussing something stupid.
  21. 8 points
    And in today's news, I wanted to go out today and spend the day on my ebike, riding around town, taking photos, videos, and generally being outside the house. I wake up and find that my wife has already used the permission slip to exit the apartment complex and buy water. Now I'm stuck in here until Friday. 1. We can buy water from two shops inside the complex. 2. We already have water. #justcoronavirusthings
  22. 8 points
    I'm still in Hong Kong as of this morning, Sunday 2 February. My flights have been delayed and then cancelled so many times that I'm beginning to lose track. Am currently confirmed on a JAL (Japan Airlines) flight tomorrow, Monday 3 February, to Tokyo NRT. Am also confirmed onward from there, connecting with another JAL flight to LAX (Los Angeles.) Gave up on trying to get straight from Hong Kong to Dallas. Will spend a night in Los Angeles and fly out to Dallas on American Airlines Tuesday 4 February if all goes according to plan. Found some flights leaving today. Tickets were selling for over $8,000 each in business class, over $2,000 in coach. That's US Dollars, by the way. This is about 4 times the normal rate. Too rich for my blood. It seems the airlines believe strongly in the rules of supply and demand, about like the guy selling face masks from the back of his car for a price that's as high as the traffic will bear. My credit card companies are raising red flags and questioning my purchases because I have had as many transactions in the last week or so as I usually do in a whole year. I have so far convinced them that these charges are legitimate. Hope they don't freeze my accounts. Have an alternative plan in my back pocket in case Tokyo falls through. Fly Hong Kong to Vancouver and to the US from there. My brother was in Europe on a business trip right when 911 happened. They locked down the US, but he was able to get back home via Canada. So, I am borrowing a page from his play book. It has been an adventure, not the kind I would seek. (And I'm not home yet.) Have wasted lots of time on the computer making and changing reservations. Each time the airline announces flight alterations, I must change hotel reservations and rental car arrangements, and so on. But at least I've had comfortable accommodations at Hong Kong's Sky City Marriott. It's a very good place to be marooned.
  23. 8 points
    Previous coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS originated in animals and initial information also suggests animal origin of this virus (the technical term is zoonotic viral disease) . The current virus could have escaped from a lab, but I doubt it (I have a health risk sciences background). Animal origin of viral diseases is common. The yearly flu is zoonitic (usually from birds). Chinese origin of zoonotic diseases is common due to the close proximity between humans and animals. New flu strains often originate in China due to close contact between farmers and their ducks & chickens. (And numbers: large #s of chickens and farmers increases the probability) For a detailed discussion with references: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/snakes-could-be-the-original-source-of-the-new-coronavirus-outbreak-in-china/ (The authors question whether snakes could be the origin and i would as well, since a snake to human jump for a disease is very unusual.) While the current virus is a coronavirus like SARS, the genetic overlap is only 70-80%. A researcher noted that this is less than the genetic similarity between pigs and humans. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3047114/coronavirus-weaker-sars-may-share-link-bats-chinese-scientists I like it when those on this forum offer info that I didn't know. To illustrate the complexity of human susceptibility to zoonotic diseases, consider the simple flu. If you have the flu, you can cough on your dog, cat, mouse or rat, they won't get sick. But if you cough on your pet ferret, it likely will get sick. Why ferrets and not rats & mice? Somehow ferrets & humans share a similarity regarding the flu virus. The positive side to this is we can test flu treatments on ferrets (as lab animals). Also, ferrets are rare in the wild and humans rarely contact them, so neither species presents a flu risk to the other. In contrast, chickens in a barn can have much contact with humans. Hence, a zoonotic origin for the current coronavirus is not unexpected. More studies will be needed to confirm this.
  24. 8 points
    Took this picture on the way to IKEA this morning (doing my usually salmon run). To be fair, I would've been pretty similar last year, too. The roads are usually empty on New Year's Eve. I think people living in China are really experience this whole coronavirus differently. While a lot of people will say about people are just lying and spreading rumours on WeChat, what a lot of people don't realise is, we aren't seeing messages, we are seeing videos and government reports. When you see a video of hundreds of people screaming and crying in a Wuhan hospital, because they all have a fever, and there aren't even enough doctor to check them all, then it's scary. When you see a government issued report that before the shut down of Wuhan, 19,000 people from there travelled to Hangzhou, then it's scary. A guy in my housing complex in Hangzhou turned himself in because he had been in contact with people from Wuhan who had the virus, but luckily he was cleared. If you're in China and want to get a clearer picture, you can contact your local districts office. They're all up to date and pretty honest about everything that's happening. I keep seeing a lot of 'it's all lies' and 'it's not a big deal' online, especially in places like Reddit, but for us living in China, we don't use papers and journalists to see what the situation is like, we get to see real people's videos and photos that they've posted on their moments.
  25. 7 points
    This is why we never let you place the bets, @roddy
  26. 7 points
    I’m in Texas now, but my thoughts are still with my friends in China, many of whom can’t leave the house freely to have a big bowl of noodles at Mister Wang’s and can’t count on the Meituan delivery guy to bring a hot box of fried chicken and corn on the cob. What to do? In thinking over my days in Kunming, when I really didn’t want to fuss with making a conventional meal, had limited ingredients, and wanted easy cleanup, I turned to the rice cooker. What a good friend the rice cooker is. No surprise that it's the first electric appliance most young Chinese buy after getting out from under Mom's wing. A one-dish meal like this is usually called 菜饭 caifan, or more specifically 电饭煲菜饭。The beauty of it is that you cook a meat and a vegetable together with the rice. Seasoning can range from minimal to exotic. Let me show you a “template” recipe today, one showing a method you can easily adapt to what you have available. Please excuse me for using photos shot when I was back in Kunming. 1. The rice I use ordinary medium-grain white rice 大米。Start by washing it gently three times, until the rinse water runs off mostly clear (no longer milky.) Cover the rice with water and let it stand most of an hour (minimum 30 or 40 minutes.) This lets the individual grains of rice swell with water and “plump up” so as to cook without falling apart. Use less water than you normally would, because the meat and vegetables contain some water that they will release while cooking. I cannot tell you exactly how much to water to use, but you won’t go far wrong if you start with about ¾ of your usual amount. 2. The meat My first choice for meat is a high-quality sausage 香肠。I avoid the stuff selling for 25 or 30 Yuan per kilo, and spring for the top of the line sausage that goes for three times that much instead. The stores I use always have at least two kinds. If you like it spicy, choose the 麻辣 mala version; if you like it gentle with a slightly sweet note, chose the 广味 guangwei (Guangdong style.) You can also use smoked sausage 熏腊肠。 Slice the sausage into thin rounds. I usually cut them on a bias, so the pieces have an oval shape with greater surface area than if they were cut straight across like a stack of coins. If you can’t get sausage, you can use Chinese ham 火腿肠 huotui chang. It’s a processed meat product, tubular like hot dogs, and quality can vary. Easy to find. Buy the good stuff. 3. The vegetable Nearly any green vegetable will do. Ask for 青菜 qingcai when shopping. It can be a leafy or non-leafy green vegetable. I often use 苦菜 kucai (slightly bitter leaf) or small cabbage 小白菜。Sometimes I use 儿菜 ercai, which works very well. Ercai is in season now, and it is what I have shown in these photos. 4. The extras I add a couple of spring onions if available, sliced fine. Use the white parts only, not the green tops. I don’t add ginger, since it won’t cook thoroughly and can give you an unpleasant surprise if you bite into a chunk of it. Finely minced garlic is optional. 5. The process Lay the thin slices of sausage on top of the rice. As the sausage cooks, the fat will drip down, seasoning the rice. My rice cooker takes 30 minutes to make plain rice. After 20 minutes, I open the lid and add the vegetables plus spring onions. Don’t need to stir them in; just lay them on top of the sausage and rice. Sprinkle some salt onto the vegetables. Close and continue cooking. It will take longer than the normal time for plain rice; usually an extra 5 to 10 minutes because the meat and vegetables have introduced extra water. When the rice signals that it is done (the rice cooker beeps) open the lid and stir it all up with chopsticks. If it still looks too wet, let it cook another 2 or 3 minutes with the lid open. A golden crust will have formed in the base of the rice cooker. This part is extra delicious. As the cook, I try to sneak a mouthful of it before serving the rest of the dish to my friends. I don’t always get away with it anymore; they watch me like a hawk. 6. Cook's tip (小提示) The most frequent place where people go wrong when making this is not letting the rice soak long enough before turning on the heat. 7. Residuals If there is any left over, it keeps well overnight in the fridge and will make a tasty lunch tomorrow. 剩菜。Just nuke it in the microwave for a short time. Nothing much to clean up afterwards. Just the rice cooker and a couple of serving bowls. It’s easy to vary a recipe like this to suit individual preferences. Hope you will try it and see what you think. Would be interested in hearing your individual variations. Also, if you have other ideas on simple meals for good home-made eats during quarantine, or semi-quarantine, please pitch in. If there are enough, we can start a new thread.
  27. 7 points
    Let's just assume for purposes of discussion that the outbreak did originate at that research facility in Wuhan. (Perhaps a worker there contracted the disease due to some sort of equipment malfunction not noticed at the time and unknowingly passed the disease on to the community before developing symptoms.) Raise your hand if you believe the Chinese Government would admit this, if it happened. I'm looking. Looking way way in the back, too. I still don't see any hands raised. And of course that's the point here. Maybe the Chinese Government is in fact being open and truthful with the public. But who believes that?
  28. 7 points
    With some types of food beginning to run low, I left the apartment for the first time in days this afternoon. Whenever you enter or leave the apartment complex there is a security guard who registers your name, address and telephone number. People do the usual thing of describing the exact characters that make up their name (祥瑞的瑞 etc), but being older gentlemen the security guards often don't know how to write them, so it seems that they mostly just ask people to write their details into the log themselves. I tried to keep my gloves on while jotting down mine, but it turns out that it's pretty difficult to write Chinese while wearing thick woollen gloves and also while trying to balance a clipboard on the edge of a metal railing. I ended up removing my gloves, and needless to say that I thoroughly disinfected my hands as soon as I got home. I hope others are doing the same, as everyone using the same pen can't be good for limiting cross-infection. Speaking of disinfectant, our 物业 distributed bottles to everyone last week. Someone knocked on my door while I was in the middle of taking a lesson over Wechat, and I was a little taken aback when the lady at the door quickly shoved a bottle of clear liquid into my hands and left without saying a word. You don't get many people knocking on your door in China and my mind was still on the lesson. For a few seconds I thought that the lady was a neighbour and the clear liquid was a bottle of baijiu that she was giving me as a late New Year gift. It was only when I noticed the 75% alcohol content that I got a clue that it wasn't for drinking. . They also left left some masks outside of everyone's door, so they are taking good care of us. Less fortunate are the people in the two buildings which have been completely sealed off for 14 days. Apparently, a lady returned to our apartment complex after a trip to Wuhan in late January. Unbeknown to her, she had contracted the virus and subsequently infected her adult son, who has an apartment in a different building within the same complex. Since they were confirmed as having contracted the virus last week, the two buildings have been completely sealed off, and no one is allowed to enter or leave. One of the victims lived in the same building (栋) as me, but fortunately their apartment was located in a different unit (单元 - technically the same building but different entrance, elevators etc), so I'm still free to come and leave as I wish. For the unlucky people in the quarantined 单元, they have to order supplies via the 物业. The mother and son are both in hospital, but I guess they aren't taking any risks and have decided to keep everyone they shared an entrance and lift with under lock and key. I took a look at one of the sealed properties on my way back from the supermarket and I half expected to be met with a sealed metal barrier and maybe even a soldier with a gun guarding the entrance, but all I could see from the outside was some thin barrier tape and some signs on the door: The red sign says “新型冠状病毒感染感染的肺炎 确诊病例封闭单元”. While I feel lucky now, I realise that it only takes a single instance of infection from within my unit, and then I will be a prisoner in my own apartment for the next 2 weeks.
  29. 7 points
    You referring to me? Did I really help. If so, glad it did so. I also studied epidemiology and public health at postgraduate which helps quite a bit filtering through the mass of information that comes out.
  30. 7 points
    https://b23.tv/av86696259 did another short video blog today, keeping us in good spirits. Thought it might be interesting to share what its like out in the countryside here in Hubei - a mishmash of factories and vegetable patches. According to the news here, Yichang was sprayed with disinfectant (is that the right word for this sort of scale?) by helicopters yesterday evening. Our area is meant to be being sprayed this evening. Ive never seen a helicopter or plane ever here, but one flew over yesterday evening, then heard another one this morning. Have no idea what sort of effect it is meant to be having, perhaps just to show everyone the government is trying? also, as expected, all the middle aged and above here still not wearing facemasks, the logic being, they never leave their street and drink loads of baijiu, 10/10 爺們兒 edit: So just as I finished typing this, one of those water lorries just came down our street spraying disinfectant. It was manic trying to get everything in from outside, screwed up the filming, heres some screenshots of it spraying though. Luckily its street by street, not from the air, so the vegetable patches should be fine.
  31. 7 points
    The two flights I took today from Hong Kong to Tokyo and Tokyo to Los Angeles were both on JAL. At the start of each, the Captain made an announcement about the airplane's filtration system. He said that it was cleaned before each long flight and that the recirculated air was doubly filtered, through a mechanical millipore filter that had 2.5 micron pores and a second time through charcoal. He just said it fast. I have not seen it in writing. Furthermore, it's not a subject about which I know very much. Both planes were older Boeing wide-body models, one a 777 and I'm not sure about the other. Didn't think to look at the seat-back information sheet. . I'm in Los Angeles now, Monday evening 3 Feb, and it is pretty much business as usual. Very few face masks. Seems so strange, coming from China.
  32. 7 points
    From HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport.) JAL (Japan Airline) which is the carrier I'm flying, shares a lounge with Qantas for its long-haul business class passengers. Breakfast, tea and snacks. You can even take a shower if needed. But gaining admission was a bit of a trick. The courteous ladies at the check-in desk understandably wanted a good deal of information. When did I enter Mainland China, when did I exit, where did I go while I was there? They called over a supervisor and we went through all the recent stamps in my passport. Reassured them that I had not been to Wuhan, had not even been close. Did my best not to appear anxious. My flight goes from Hong Kong to Tokyo (Narita NRT) and changes there to another JAL flight to LAX (Los Angeles.) Supervisor pulled up a list of US cities on her iPad and let me know that LAX was OK as of right now. She said more and more US East coast cities are "locked." Read a few at random. It was a patchy selection. New York JFK was still open as of right now; she wasn't sure about Newark. Detroit, however was closed. Chicago O'Hare was OK. She said Dallas (DFW) was also closed, which might explain the cancellation of previous flight. I mentioned nothing about Dallas being my ultimate destination. HKG to LAX is one ticket. LAX to DFW is another ticket the next day. I will worry first about setting my feet firmly on US soil and then deal with other issues as they arise after getting in the door. I'm willing to think a couple steps ahead, but I'm not willing to share all of my thoughts and concerns with eager young ladies in positions of authority unless I must. Pretty sure that the prevailing mind-set is that if there is doubt about a passenger's eligibility, err on the side of caution and tell him no dice. Refuse him entry and sort it out later. That would be easier to explain to Mister Lee in management than an error of judgment in the other direction. "Ms. Cheong, how could you? You have let Typhoid Mary evade the noose on your watch? You are suspended for three months without pay."
  33. 7 points
    No effect. In fact I've developed a new wrinkle. Am exploiting a new opportunity. Everyone wears a facemask when out and about these days. I do that too. So now when I talk to people they are deprived of a visual cue to my being foreign. I make a point of trying to pass for a local. Works over half the time. They generally peg me for someone from another part of China 外地人 since I don't use Kunming dialect well. Seldom do I get "busted" as a foreigner 外国人。
  34. 7 points
    update 2: so far everything that weve been told earlier by a relative who works in pharma here in china has been extremely accurate. Today he said that the disease has now been proven to be contractable via the eyes. Wuhan is shut completely now, but luckily not yichang. Were going to the countryside tomorrow for new years then gonna try and fly out via chongqing asap. Today the fear is real, nobody leaving the house, nobody outside on the streets, its weird being in such a quiet China…
  35. 6 points
    Seriously, congratulations. I've been following that since you started, and have enjoyed the "Here's what I already worked out, can you help me with the rest" style of the questions. Well done.
  36. 6 points
    A Students Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese by Paul Kroll, strongly recommended. Dont be deceived by the 'student' in the title, get this dictionary (either on pleco or in print, as its a very nice print edition) and you will be referring to it for years (decades I would imagine, unless a better dictionary displaces it at some point in the future). The MoE dictionary from Taiwan is also a good free C-C classical dictionary and is also on pleco. As for software, aside from pleco and wenlin, I think you'd be hard pressed to find anything better.
  37. 6 points
    HK is in quite a state. Carrie Lam has an ability to take personal hatred of her to an even higher level. Many believe that her decisions in controlling passage of people from the mainland haven’t gone far enough in limiting numbers. At the same time of the limited border controls, she announced free healthcare for mainlanders and this created a stampede at border controls. You can probably imagine that your public healthcare facilities will get totally swamped and overwhelmed by mainland Chinese with such a policy. That gave fuel to calls for a healthcare worker strike because people felt used and abused. The decision for free healthcare got roundly spanked and reversed really quickly. Healthcare workers have voted in a strike to force the government to close the border. Carrie Lam does not want to close the border citing “discrimination against mainlanders“ and other evidence based measures. Local HKers are going WTF about us then? She also advised civil servants to work from home which added to resentment. On the other hand, there are many cases of mainlanders in HK with fever who have denied visiting the mainland affected areas. They have not been compliant either. One mainland guy was screaming and shouting refusing to be transferred to the infectious disease hospital and then tried to escape. Another case a six week old baby was admitted to hospital ill. The parent didn’t disclose until much later that they had worked in a coronavirus affected hospital in mainland China. This has fuelled distrust of mainlanders who are described as “world class tricky liars” and selfish because they will deny being in Hubei and only visiting other parts of China. Schools are closed. During SARS, schools were closed for just over 50 days. Indoor public facilities are closed. This is reviewed on a two weekly basis. What’s the point of having local control measures if you don’t stop the source? This again goes back to the closing the border issue. The protests have died down a lot though are still around. They trashed the railway at lo wu checkpoint at Carrie Lam’s lack of closing the border. Once this crisis is over, I reckon there’s going to be an overwhelming mother of all rallies against Carrie Lam. We shall see next week if the healthcare worker strike will go ahead. The vote for a strike was overwhelming in favour.
  38. 6 points
    well my 2020 goals have pretty much been thrown out of the window, time to revise: Cangjie is still going strong, i do the majority of my typing with it now, unless it's a particularly urgent situation and i have to go back to pinyin as im still not quick enough without. This goal stays All my cantonese stuff is back in the uk, pretty much back to square one. Considering how much time and progress has gone into my hubei dialect since being barricaded in here, I am thinking scrap canto altogether and just run with being that guy with putonghua + obscure dialect instead. Pretty much all calligraphy exhibitions have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, so this goal is also out the window too it would seem. There is actually an 'online' calligraphy exhibition bring held by Hubei calligraphers association, with the theme of 'wuhan coronavirus'. Not really sure what kind of inspiration that will draw, but interesting nonetheless. Revised goals: finish learning to write out 千字文 in full, and cursive too if there's time. be able to recite 100 poems. Im currently on 12.
  39. 6 points
    Outside the gate of my apartment complex at 9:30 a.m. this morning. (This is mainly because of CNY, not because of the virus.) Stores all closed, minimal traffic. Yesterday in WalMart, nearly everyone was wearing a mask. The nearest shopping center has a movie theater. When I checked this morning they had a full roster of films showing today. Was planning a short train trip (to Jianshui 建水) for the holidays and had already bought tickets. The (Chinese) friends with whom I was going decided that fighting the train crowds during this current health business was nuts and we all cancelled last minute. Made dumplings at one friend's house instead. Am glad to not be involved this time around. Glad it is someone else's headache. During SARS I was on full time active duty in the ER as well as being in charge. We didn't see much actual SARS, but saw thousands of people who were worried that their cold might become fatal. Had to stay alert while doing lots of careful testing and heavy duty reassuring. Staff was spread thin, since all the other stuff never stops. The "maybe SARS" just piles in on top of the car wrecks, heart attacks, overdoses and shootings. Had breakfast this morning with the elderly night watchman 看门人 and his wife. It was 汤圆 (glutinous rice balls in a sweet soup) and a poached egg, together in the same bowl. It's cold, and in a few minutes he will build a "hobo fire" of scrap wood in a ten-gallon paint drum outside by the gate. Their two grown children left town for this part of the holiday and they sort of took me under their wing. We will have hot pot tonight.
  40. 5 points
    A major goal for me is to become more familiar with seal script. I think this will help my calligraphy and seal carving immensely. I'll start with memorizing the 540 說文 radicals. Then I'll memorize 篆法百韻歌,a rhyme about the rules of seal script. Not sure how long this will take me, but the sooner I start, the better.
  41. 5 points
    Not exactly. When I memorized it orally I did it by breaking the text into five section, then did a memory palace for each and completed the text in about 2 months roughly from what I remember. But I noticed that once I didnt have time to do daily recitations in the morning, the memory of what characters I was saying, then the meaning and precise tones all faded relatively quickly, only leaving behind vivid memories of the stories and locations in the memory palace. This was really different to when I learnt Sanskrit about 15 years ago, where I sat with a pandit every morning and recited texts by rote for months on end. It was a pretty excruciating process, but to this day I can still recite verses in Sanskrit that I haven't practiced for years, and remember their meaning. I decided to try going back to this rote method to do the written memorisation of 千字文. Im doing the same with the classical poetry too, and have found that in both instances the results have been great. Slow, yes, time-consuming, yes, but definitely doing the job of going deep into my long term memory. In my opinion, you have to think about why you are memorising something: is it for a competition or performance coming up? Memory palaces, mnemonics, all very effective for time-constrained learning. But what if you just want to remember lots of texts/one really long text off by heart, to be able to recall at any moment for the rest of your life? No time constraints? I can only say I have found that, for me, the only thing that really sticks long term in this kind of way is rote recitation and repetition. It is the only method which actually takes in every little detail of the text and sears it into your memory. You can be kinder about the process and split up the text into manageable bitesize chunks, but you cannot let any mistakes slide: one stroke out of place? Back to the beginning. I couldnt recommend it as a good study technique as it isnt 'fun' and certainly requires more time than other methods, but personally I believe it is the most effective way to memorise. It unfortunately requires a lot of discipline too - as I said in my earlier post, once you start disliking the text and you cant get it out of your head, you know its working…
  42. 5 points
    Why? Contraction from wild animals is plausible enough. Raise your hand if you believe the US government would admit this? I believe the death toll may be much higher than officially reported. I believe so, because China is taking this virus very seriously. My Chinese friends also remarked that there is a surprisingly (comparatively) little involvement of the military. They speculate that the last thing China wants is the virus weeping out their military. So they keep the military uninvolved as much as they can. Regarding reporting correct numbers/statistics. Truth is important, but not creating a mass panic is more important. If it takes a white lie to do so, I can accept this. From an outside perspective China is already doing as much as they can. I guess, they could not do any more if the death rate was higher than officially reported.
  43. 5 points
    finally I can live out my 抗日 fantasies
  44. 5 points
    Well, Zhejiang is the worst-affected area outside Hubei (Hebei? I always get them mixed up) and Wenzhou is the worst-affected area in Zhejiang. I've been outside today and there are still cars on the roads, taxis, etc. The train is still operating, someone said she was on the way to Shanghai this afternoon. There are checkpoints all around where men, I suppose CPC members, check your temperature before letting you in. It's pretty slipshod though, last night I went into an area in a taxi and they just checked the driver's temperature. Supermarkets are still open, but you have to have a mask on, have your hands sprayed with alcohol and get your temperature checked before going in. They've started issuing permits only allowing 1 person from an apartment outside the gates once every two days, to buy food. Not at my complex, though. They were building a wall with cinder blocks to restrict access so that you'd have to go through their checkpoints and that led to many merry jokes about "Mogorians always try to tear down my shitty wall" from Southpark. The fast noodles section at Wal-Mart. Kologo still has them, though. But when I went today the butcher counter was almost completely empty. No chicken, fish, pork, etc. I got some Beijing duck and already-cooked pork ribs instead. Vegetables well stocked.
  45. 5 points
    At this rate, you might be quicker flying to Wuhan and getting on an evac flight...
  46. 5 points
    A funny conversation I had with my in-laws this week: ME: [Points at a home-cooked dish] 这是什么菜? MOTHER-IN-LAW: 是gū! ME: 什么gū? FATHER-IN-LAW: [Lifts up the mushroom dish] 这是大菇(大姑)! [Lifts up a second dish] 这是二菇(二姑)! [Lifts up a third dish] 这是三菇(三姑)!
  47. 5 points
    So most of us in China are all stuck at home with not much to do... What a fantastic opportunity to study! I've never had so much free time on my hands before! I went through my bookcase last night and thought I'm just going to finish some books before I go back to work. One goal of mine is to improve my reading speed, so I just want to do some casual reading at home. I found my collection of Graded Chinese Readers which come in 500 words, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500 and 3000. I remember reading the first story in the 1500 word book, but that was about it. I picked up the 500 words last night, and I finished the whole book of 15 stories this morning. Of course, it's way too easy, but at least that's one book done! They do add some interesting vocabulary, too! It was pretty interesting learning words like 电网 (electric fence),放风(prisoners exercise time)and 越狱(escape prison). I feel like you get to understand Chinese culture a bit better, too. I'm just about to start book 2 which is 1000 words. We'll see how long that takes to finish. On another note, I'm still studying Chinese online. It's been about a year now and have just started my third semester. I'm quite looking forward to March as I'll start a Chinese linguistics course. I'll keep you all updated. Stay safe!
  48. 5 points
    NIOSH air filtration rating From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia NIOSH air filtration rating refers to the publications of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of US government pertaining to respirators and masks worn to filter contaminated air, regardless of cause. NIOSH Ratings[edit] The first part of the filter's classification uses the letters N, R, or P to indicate the filter's ability to function when exposed to petroleum. "N" = not resistant to petroleum "R" = somewhat resistant to petroleum "P" = strongly resistant to petroleum The second part lists the percentage of particles that the mask is certified to block (such as 95 or 97 percent). The most common is N95,[1] which is recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for most cases of air contamination. These filters are designed to seal tightly around mouth and nose and are made of material certified to block 95% of particles 0.3 μm or larger in diameter, roughly the size of a single virus[2] and include PM2.5.
  49. 5 points
    The Universities are currently delaying opening indefinitely. I would advice not coming here until this is over. If possible, delay a whole semester and start afresh then. I’d recommend against all travel to China. It’s not worth coming.
  50. 5 points
    Unbelievably I flew into wuhan for new years this year on the day this hit the news. Im now in Yichang to the west and the panic is starting to hit here. Most of my wechat is filled with sars related advice. Went to walmart this morning and would say about 1/10 wearing facemasks, by the evening it was about half, and people have already started panic buying facemasks, medicines etc. This evening there were reports that wuhan is being 'shut', none allowed to leave without good reason (don't know if this is just a rumour or is actually happening, we'll see tomorrow). anyway, i guess i am unfortunately pretty well placed to report on how things develop near the epicentre in the coming weeks…
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