Overnight in the taxi
Overnight in the taxi

So Christie and I make it to XuZhou, China and are greeted by “Coops” (Christie’s new employer). He is paranoid about SARS as much as the rest of them and quickly gives us masks. I had enough but I wore the stupid thing just to be polite (well until we got to the taxi). He mentioned that no one in XuZhou had been SARS infected yet so they were all taking percautions. Here’s when the fun started. We pulled up to a pretty nice hotel and Christie and I are eyeing eachother jokingly (“I can’t believe we are going to stay in this fancy joint!” “Shut up and act formal!”).

After a bunch of chinese argument between Coops and the receptionist, I finally caught enough to know that we were not allowed to stay there and we had to leave immediately. I guess when they looked at our passports and saw we just came from GuangZhou and Hong Kong that they wouldn’t let us stay the night. So we tried somewhere else, and then somewhere else. Around midnight we had checked almost everywhere in XuZhou and no one would take us. Coops was having a heart attack and was so sorry for putting us through all of this. Finally he told us that we were sleeping in the back of the taxi for the night and that he would sort everything out by morning.

Chrisite was freaking out because she had been in China for less than a week and didn’t realize that nothing is easy in China. I was as calm as could be. I just knew everything would work out and I knew that every day in China was an adventure. Next morning things get worse – Coops tells us that the first case of SARS was found the day before and that the government was in an uproar. He told us that the government has asked us to leave the province as well as any chinese on our plane. All the borders were shut and all the incoming travellers were told to return too.

Basically, they didn’t want to have to deal with any problems if a foreigner broght SARS to their province. This was true for all the chinese coming into XuZhou and especially important for us, being foreigners to XuZhou and to China. So we find ourselves on a bus to NanJing to catch the first flight out (XuZhou had none for a couple days). We end up flying to GuangZhou.

Christie’s hopes are crushed because now she had no job. In the end, I found christie a modelling job and a place to stay with Sherry. Phew.. So the trip is saved – Christie gets a job and a place to stay in China and I get a really cool adventure.

-steve-

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