July 15th – July 27th 2009
If you try to remember, this was the time the H1N1 virus (swine flu) became “trendy” and people still thought that healthy people can die from it. Of course when the vaccines were sold and millions of dollars/euros/any currency were made, we forgot the virus.
Warm and kind of tropical weather. Meaning it will rain, but better wear open shoes (they dry faster!). Short sleeves and umbrellas!
I don’t remember how many we were. More than 15 people (not everyone is in the photo).
Our teacher of Mandarin (in Greece) arranged this trip and many people from different levels signed up. That time I was going once in a while in the class (I was busy finishing my bachelor) so I only kind of knew some of the people on the trip.
To attend mandarin courses in Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).
Half the people signed-up for the 2-weeks course and the other half (including me) for the 1-month course.
Our teacher brought H1N1 from Greece. She gave it to one of the students and also her young daughter that came with us on the trip. They were all hospitalized and we were all quarantined for one week in a special hotel. The worst part is that we were kicked out of the university because people got scared.
The Chinese government was very serious about H1N1. When we arrived in the airport we had to go through a weird thermometer (it looked like a camera) that took our temperature and write down in which seat in the airplane we were sitting. That way, if we were infected, they could find the people seating next to us and quarantine them(although I don’t think that worked).
This all sounds so ridiculous now… It is just a heavy flu!
joking around in the quarantine-hotel… but that’s how we felt with all the overreaction, like criminals (paper says “Quarantine” in greek)
Anyway, our trip was cut short, but it was an experience of a lifetime.
Which one of you can say they were quarantined by the Chinese government? 🙂
Two of my friends and I went in Beijing again the following year. One other girl (the mandarin-star of Greece) went multiple times with scholarships. But for the majority of the group, that was their only chance to visit China and they spent a lot of money on tickets etc, so for them that is a situation they probably do not want to remember.
Yes, we managed to do some sightseeing, mainly the last day, when we were out of the quarantine and before we leave for Greece. We saw all the main attractions, so stay tuned for a quick tour to Beijing!