For anyone not in (or going to) Korea, well… this might be of less interest to you, unless you love reading abut amazing restaurants that you’ll probably never visit.
By the way, as the KCDC gotten more paranoid or something? I handed in my health questionnaire form, with check marks on diarrhea and vomiting among my experiences in the last ten days. The guy who was collecting the papers gave me a shocked, slightly horrified look — which suggests a lot of travelers must be lying on their forms, since traveler’s diarrhea is utterly common. I resisted the urge to say, “You asked, pal…” and clarified, “It’s just food poisoning,” but the guy looked at me in horror as he waved me through.
Which is enough to make me wonder whether the guy has ever traveled anywhere in Southeast Asia. I cannot imagine someone traveling there for two months without having gotten food poisoned at least once. Me, I was extremely careful and still got hit three times, each time quite seriously. I’m a bit sensitive, but, really, now.
Anyway, I wasn’t hauled aside for further testing or quarantine, so I guess I should consider myself lucky. I am expecting an odd little phone call in the next couple of days.
It is better to be safe than sorry, of course. I just don’t get how the guy was so utterly shocked by a couple of check-marks which, surely, if travelers were being honest, would probably be not uncommon, if not downright frequent. I can’t shake a sense that there was some ancient-Greek aesthetic at work in the back of his mind. (Illness = contagion = evil carried into Korea by some foreigner.)
We weren’t asked to keep it to ourselves that we’d be going, but I figured I’d wait until the announcement went out, just the same. Also, I’ve been pinching my arm to make sure it’s real. If you take a look at the list of people, you’ll that I’ll be among some giants of the SF field, as well as other creative folks. (Poetry, science-based comedy, video game writing…) Somehow, tiny little me, I got invited to the big kids’ table, and I’m both flattered as hell, and a slight touch terrified. Which fork do I use first again?
For those who don’t know, and are too lazy to click the link, Launch Pad is a workshop (funded by NASA) which aims to teach writers about modern science — astronomy, to be precise — in the hopes that what they learn will inform their writing. Better science in their writing means better science in the public imagination, the importance of which I imagine is self-evident. It’s a one-week summer workshop in Wyoming.
(… which sets me up to being in the Western USA for much of July, before going down East and up into Montreal for much of August, including WorldCon.)
I’m thinking this is going to be absolutely brilliant: I’m even eager to get the textbook so I can start studying ahead! Now if only I would hear back about my air tickets!
Oh, yeah, and an amusing anecdote: I told someone (a Korean) at work about this, and the conversation went like this:
“Hey, I’m going to be visiting Wyoming this summer!”
“Wa Yo-ming? Sounds Chinese!”
Now, I can’t help but imagine some alt-hist Zheng He timeline where Wa Yo-ming is a Chinese astronomical observatory preserve, far from the spaceports of Asia.
Ironically, I made the same kinds of mistakes at the last Astronomy-for-SF-authors workshop I attended (as described here), but then again, it was held in Korean…