So the flu panic season is upon us and the airport security is on guard. I wonder if it will affect Threat Level Orange back in the States? Actually, I wonder if ANYTHING affects Threat Level Orange. It’s been orange since as long as we went Star Trek at the airport. So China is full on flu alert threat level red. With 1.3 BILLION people living in an area not much bigger than the US (and we have 300 million) and density being what it is (both population and personal – note the guy next to me coughing endlessly and just turning his head to do it into the aisle. Maybe it’s not a tickle in his throat but practice for a trip to the doctor. Guys, you know what I’m talking about.) and considering the general national pastime of spitting (laugh if you want but in three days the gunk running out of my sinuses from the pollution will tempt me to join them), it’s probably a really good idea. We had to complete health forms before arrival, questions about where I have been in the last 7 days, the health of the people I’ve been with or passed in the street, where I could be found in China this week if the guy three seats behind me turned up viral, etc. Several weeks ago some school reps attending an education fair got pulled aside and quarantined for 7 days in a not so nice hotel. This isn’t just for those who are showing a fever, but for those who sat next to a feverish person on the plane! They record your seat number on the health form. Well, my fingers are crossed, but the guy next to me keeps coughing. He was wiping his mouth earlier with a napkin and examining it closely, then spitting at the napkin like he had a bit of tobacco on the tip of his tongue or a poppy seed and looking closely again, wiping it with a thumbnail. (wtf??) Once into the terminal I make fast for customs wondering if working up a speedwalker’s sweat might not raise my heat profile on the infrared scanner. I passed with flying choleras and stopped to admire the video system which looks straight out of Predator as red/orange people blobs moved past the camera. So I now I am in country and free to be as ill as I want to be.