Day 31: UNSHAKABLE
We awoke to rainy weather at our gassy-smelling Changbai Shan hotel. My cold symptoms remained and seemed to be the same as they were yesterday. Not good.
We had another locals’ breakfast at the hotel with Susan. Since she noticed that the service at this hotel was lacking, she was sarcastically joking with the manager that she was “great.” But the manager smiled also and seemed to take it in stride.
After breakfast, we lugged our luggage onto a smaller shuttle bus taking us for a few minutes to the gate. It was kind of raining a little harder down here and the guard wouldn’t let our driver through the gate (since Susan wasn’t with him this time) so we had to walk some 5 minutes in the rain. That ended up wetting things a bit, but nothing was totally soaked.
So by 8:30am, we embarked on a supposed 4-hour drive to Yanji, which was a Chinese city of some 400,000 people not far from the North Korea border.
I had expected to have a little bit of a nap to try to shake off this cold that seemed to have gotten worse in the last few days. It had been about 2.5 weeks since I had come down with a cough back in Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong (seemed like ages ago). I thought it was getting better while we were in Shanghai and even Ha’erbin, but with the sudden increase in symptoms with a stuffy noise and even a little bit of a temperature, I started to suspect that I must’ve caught another virus while still fighting off the one I caught awhile ago.
There could’ve been a whole host of things that I could point to from the stuffy 5-hour train ride where some people thought it was OK to smoke and spit inside the train. Or all the cigarette smoke in both the elevators and hotel rooms in the hotels in both Ha’erbin and Dunhua (though this was nothing new). Or some guy sitting behind me coughing without covering his mouth as we were riding a shuttle bus into the Changbai Shan area.
All told, it was clear that this virus (or series of viruses) seemed to be unshakable so long as we were traveling in China (where hygiene and manners seem to be deeply lacking).
It better not be the H1N1 Virus since our symptoms were completely caught while in China when we arrived well before the outbreak reported in Mexico.
By 11:30am, we arrived in a rainy Yanji City. We went to some Korean BBQ place, which was a welcome change after some 30 straight days of Chinese food (though we did have a little Russian food in Ha’erbin).
I don’t think the food was quite as good as Julie had expected (the galbi was a bit tough) considering it’s authentic, but it was a nice change of pace. Besides, the Bi Bim Bapp (mixed rice bowl) was pretty good.
By around 1pm, we checked into our Yanji Hotel. There, we just chilled out and rested. I certainly needed it, but Julie complained that she started coming down with symptoms and she wasn’t happy.
A few hours later, Susan called the room and told us that someone was going to deliver dinner to us at 6pm. And sure enough, we got a full dinner of rice, eggplants, and kung pao chicken. She really didn’t have to do this.
Wow, Susan’s the best!