First, I should say that the orientation (at a hotel in the city) and the annual conference (at a resort outside the city) that we’ve been attending in Thailand has been great. We’re learning a lot and meetings tons of really interesting people. There’s about 200 people here counting kids, and from all over the Western world. Lots of Kiwis and Aussies and Brits, Germans, even a French guy, and a few Yanks. The really cool thing is that almost everyone has tons of overseas experience in different parts of the world doing all kinds of stuff, especially all over China. Sexual health education, water development for villages way out west, doctors working on the Tibetan plateau, and of course, people teaching and working in the coastal cities from the high frozen north to the tropical south. One British couple coming in with us lived for 14 years in Hong Kong, then 17 in South Africa, and now their starting language school with us in Tianjin.
You can see from the photos that this resort is beautiful. The most immediate downside to all this is that for over a month, for every group that has come to this resort (lots of groups use this for conferences during Chinese New Year), they’ve had dozens of people get really bad diarrhea and/or vomiting on day two or three. Yesterday we had 50 adults listed as sick, and I don’t know how many children. One of the singers threw up on stage. Jessica, who got sick and spent most of the day in bed, saw a lady suddenly shove her baby stroller in another woman’s direction and say, “Watch my baby I’m going to be sick!” before throwing up in the bushes. Our general meetings are less than 2/3 full. And these are all seasoned ex-pats, too. Jessica’s doing much better today, and although we both feel yucky, she’s been able to eat some at breakfast and lunch. So it looks like we’ll be mostly OK by the time we fly out for China on the 21st.
This may or may not be the last post from outside of China. Depends on if we manage to get online again or not.