All this talk of swine flu brings back vivid memories of Hunan during the SARS crisis of 2003. I lived there from the early days of the epidemic until it fizzled out, and it was a frightening and often surreal time (I wrote about my experiences in the ‘Sickness Enters Through the Mouth’ chapter of Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper).
Anyway, mindful that things could escalate very fast with swine flu, I sent an email to a couple of friends who live in my neighbourhood, reminding them that they are always welcome to ask for help with shopping or cooking if they are ill. By return, I received this message from Sam:
“Actually I have got a bit of sniffle. Could I have Gong Bao prawns and Fish Fragrant Aubergine delivered to my desk?”