SARS has hit with a vengeance here now. Actually the disease hasn’t, but fear and paranoia of it have. There were two suspected cases of the disease in the southern part of the country where the train from Hohhot, China stops, but they were later proved to be nothing more serious than a bad cold or flu. That hasn’t stopped the population from going disease crazy. Half the population is wearing surgical masks, and a lot of buildings will not let you in if you aren’t wearing one. In fact the State Department Store has a guard in front who won’t let you in unless you show him that you have a mask…not that you have to actually wear it, but you have to have it on you.
The strangest thing about the scare is the way they are treating incoming flights to the country. My friend Steph who I spent a lot of quality time with in Vietnam and Thailand has come to visit for a while. When her plane landed, no one was allowed to get off until they all had their temperatures taken and filled out health questionnaires. The funny thing was the outfits that the people who were doing the screening were wearing. You’ll have to look at the picture, because I can’t do justice explaining how dumb they looked!