Monday, June 16, 2003

My son Julian, 18, and his 50-year-old dad are Colorado residents who have agreed to work 6 weeks this summer for a company we know only from the Internet that hosts English language immersion camps in China. Our host city is Shenzhen, pop. 4.6 million on the South China coast across the bay from Hong Kong. According to the Chinglish info I've gleaned on the Internet "the name "Shenzhen" means "deep drains" because this is a sub-tropical area crisscrossed with rivers and rivulets and there are deep drains in paddy." Kind of like the Everglades, I guess. It's also nearly Ground Zero for SARS, but boasts "723 medical and health care institutions, among with 80 are hospitals" hopefully none of which are stacked with wheezing, dying SARS patients.
On the plus side it also boasts as tourist attractions "Minsk Aircraft Carrier World," the "Fairy Lake Botanic Garden," and "Happy Valley Theme Park." We're just hoping for real toilet paper and free surgical masks.
We leave July 13 from LA and are scheduled to return on Aug. 17, three days before Julian is due to start college at Drake University in Iowa. The clock is ticking already as we just got the word to go and his passport is expired. I spent most of the day writing sensational fodder for a supermarket tabloid and he handled the passport details. One of my stories was about "Irish built Great Wall of China." I'll confirm the details when I get there, though I've already filed the exclusive.
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