There are four of them waiting for us, tottering about the hotel parking lot in yellow biohazard suits.
"One question," says the translator, before he lets us out of a government van that's locked from the outside. "Would you like separate rooms or a room together?"
"We're married," we say.
"Yes," he replies, sweating under his plastic safety goggles. "Separate rooms or together?"
My wife and I are in perfect health, but after flying to China for my college friend's wedding we're being quarantined in a remote hotel for seven days. The reason: Our flight from our home in Havana included a layover in Cancun, and China is taking no chances with swine flu.
Pleasant women in biohazard suits and old-fashioned, underarm thermometers take our temperature every day at 7 a.m. and noon. They giggle when we try to speak with them in Mandarin. We think they are different women each time, but it's hard to tell behind the suits and masks.
"Temp-reach, temp-reach," they say. Then, after the thermometer has done its thing: "OK. Normal."
Every morning, a man with a tank on his back fumigates the hallway carpets. Workers come into our room to scrub the floor and furniture with disinfectant. They give us disinfectant pills for the toilet: You throw in 10 before using it and 10 afterward. The garbage can has a mustard-yellow bag inside, marked "Warning! Infectious Medical Waste."
We all know the expression "Pictures or it didn't happen!" This is truly one story I would have never believed unless I saw pictures for myself.
BIOHAZARD SUITS? Taking temperatures? Locking people up for a week? Does China have any doctors with a fucking clue? It's THE FLU not some flesh-eating disease where you need protection from head to toe. Cause apparently, you can get swine flu through your toes.
Don't you find it ridiculous that the people doing the testing are in biohazard suits and the reporter is in SHORTS!? What kind of ass-backwards medical testing procedure is this? They should be able to test someone and find out in a nanosecond if they have the flu or not.
The flu came from Mexico and I assure you there are no biohazard suits in Mexico. Seriously if we didn't know any better, we'd think China was in 1909 not 2009.
I hope more stories from people mistreated in China come out to show the world what a joke that country is.