“Subtotals $4.50 and $8.80 for XF tax do not match.” WTF, United Airlines?

United Airlines claimed they were offering “future flight credits” for flights booked during a time period before the coronavirus outbreak hit the entire United States. But if you try to use their so-called credits, you might find they don’t work terribly well.

Upon searching for a flight with United’s “future flight credit” option, I was told that United was “unable to process” my request because “Subtotals $4.50 and $8.80 for the XF tax do not match.”

Whatever the fuck that means.

Apparently you can only use your credits for routes where all the random technicalities about taxes and regulations line up perfectly.

United is unable process my request because of a $4.30 difference in taxes.

No wonder United ranks second to last in the Wall Street Journal’s 2019 Airline Scorecard.

Korean season starts!

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) kicked off its season on May 5, which is Children’s Day, a popular holiday South Korea, with a fan-less game between the NC Dinos and the Samsung Lions. NC won 4-0.

KBO games are being broadcast on ESPN 2, and highlights are shown on Sportscenter. Live games begin at 5:30 am EST on weekdays at 1 am EST on weekends. ESPN initially tried to acquire the rights for free but eventually settled on paying an undisclosed sum.

ESPN’s KBO schedule for the first few week shows that top teams like Doosan, the defending champs, LG, Samsung, and Kia are frequently being broadcast.

ESPN’s broadcasters call the games from their homes, and, in the LG-Doosan game I watched, they included many interviews with American players who have played in Korea, players’ wives, and Americans with expertise on Korean baseball.

Pitcher Josh Lindblom, who signed with the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers in December 2019, won the 2019 MVP award while going 15-4 as a starter for Doosan, was among those interviewed. Each KBO team is allowed to have three foreign players.

Not only are there American players with MLB experience playing in the KBO, there are also more than a dozen Koreans who made it to the MLB.

Many players from the older generation of Korean stars did not play in the KBO. The most successful Korean MLB player of all time, Chan Ho Park, who went 124-98 with the Dodgers and other teams, only played the final year of his career in the KBO after a 16-year-career in the MLB. Current player Shin-soo Choo, who made his MLB debut in 2005 and made the All-Star Game in 2018, also started out his professional career with the Mariners. Of the three current Korean MLB players, only Hyun-jin Ryu, who posted a 2.98 ERA for in seven seasons for the Dodgers and now signed with the Blue Jays, started out his career in the KBO.

I will be following the KBO throughout the season and hope to attend some games after I arrive in Korea in July, should the games eventually be opened to spectators.

I publish “Drinking Asian Liquors” compilation

Over the years, I have enjoyed trying out new and interesting drinks from around the world. Sometimes I film myself drinking them. Sometimes I narrate. Here I cut together some of the best videos I have done before of myself trying Chinese bai jiu, Thai Mekhong, Japanese gin, and medicine wine.

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here to see my regular new videos: Mitchell Blatt, Asia Travel Vlogger

Overseas Wenzhounese donate to help Wenzhou compatriots under quarantine

Spain is home to more than 100,000 people from Wenzhou, a coastal city in Zhejiang known for its entrepreneurial spirit. Over 2 million Wenzhou people live outside of Wenzhou, and the a majority of the Chinese ethnic populations of many European countries, including Italy and Spain, are Wenzhou people.

Now Wenzhou is the city suffering the worst from coronavirus outside of Hubei province. Over 400 people in Wenzhou have contracted the virus. And it is under semi-quarantine.

Currently rail lines into Wenzhou are shut down, and people who do come into Wenzhou are made to self-quarantine for two weeks. Wenzhou people who leave the city are put into designated hotels for two weeks upon arrival in new cities. And only one member of each household can go shopping every so often.

With Wenzhou people facing hardship, the Wenzhou overseas network has sprung up. Xinhua reports that Wenzhou people in Spain are organizing to help those in both China and Spain.

The author quotes multiple Wenzhounese Spanish residents donating between 1000 and 2000 Euros (7,600 – 15,300 RMB). Some Wenzhounese who had previously flown to Spain are holed up with family members or friends who are helping take care of them while they “self-quarantine” in Spain.

Hospitals in China ask for donations of face masks, medical goods — Here’s how you can help

Hospitals throughout China have issued appeals to receive donations of protective medical products, including face masks and protective suits, goggles, and masks. Many hospitals are lacking supplies or at risk of lacking supplies in the future due to large numbers of patients seeking treatment. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that many domestic factories that produce medical supplies are shut down during Spring Festival.

Americans, Canadians, and others have already responded to the call to donate goods. Now I have summarized two of the press releases and listed the addresses for other hospitals, should any of my readers wish to donate goods that could be useful. I have contacted some of the contact people at some of the hospitals listed, and they confirmed they would be happy to receive goods from abroad. If anyone needs any help with how to send packages to China or has questions, you can email me or contact me by email or on Facebook.

Probably the easiest thing for most people to send would be N95/surgical face masks (GB19083-2010, which is a Chinese standard) or gloves, but protective suits and other advanced protective products would be extremely useful.

Social Contributions Needed for (Nanjing) Jiangsu Provincial People’s Hospital Announcement

My introduction: Nanjing, the city where I have lived for four years, is the capital of Jiangsu. It is the coastal province of 80 million bordering Shanghai to the west and north. It has 70 confirmed cases, as of January 28, which puts it about in the middle of the pack of severity. It is not the most severe, but medical personnel everywhere need any support that others can offer them. Nanjing has been good to me over the years.

Jiangsu People’s Hospital is on the front line of the fight to prevent the spread of the new form of coronavirus. It has been chosen as the main hospital in the region to receive patients suspected of having the virus.

“Because the number of people seeking medical attention every day is quite high and there are many medical personnel,  in order to better treat the ill and better protect frontline medical workers, our hospital is opening a channel to accept donations, a standardized channel that will accept legal donations from people of all social circles.”

The following goods are needed:
N95 face masks,
medical-grade surgical masks,
medical-grade protection suits,
quarantine suits,
protective goggles,
protective masks

“The above one-time use medical-grade protective goods must come in full packaging and within the listed period of effectiveness. Some of the protective goods must meet or surpass national standards.”

Address to send contributions (copy or print both Chinese and English):
People’s Republic of China
Jiangsu Province, Nanjing City, Gulou District
Jiangsu People’s Hospital
Guangzhou Lu No. 300

Wuhan City Hanyang Hospital is Receiving Compassionate Contributions

My introduction: Wuhan is where the outbreak started, and it is one of a dozen cities under quarantine. Seven hundred of the confirmed cases and most of the deaths have occurred in Wuhan. Hanyang district is in the south of urban Wuhan and was one of the three cities that came together to comprise Wuhan. (The sprawling city of 11 million includes Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang.)

This hospital’s press release reads in part: “Our staff of more than 1,000 are fighting bravely on the frontlines for the health of the people. They are throwing their whole bodies into the work of stopping the spread of the outbreak.”

They need N95 face masks, surgical face masks, single-use medical-grade face masks, protective suits, surgical attire, protective goggles, protective face masks, and protective shoe coverings

Address to send contributions (copy or print both Chinese and English):

People’s Republic of China
Hubei Province, Wuhan City, Hanyang District
Wuhan Hanyang Hospital
Moshui Hu Lu No. 53

Image from nearby Zhushan County

Zhushan County People’s Hospital Lacking Needed Goods News Release

My introduction: Wuhan is not the only city affected in Hubei. There’s over 1,400 cases in the whole province. Zhushan County is located in northwestern Hubei and has a population of approximately 500,000. The county is under the administration of Shiyan city, which has 65 cases of coronavirus.

“Since the spread of the new form of coronavirus pneumonia began, the entire staff of medical personnel at Zhushan People’s Hospital have energetically thrown themselves into the front line of preventive action. The whole hospital is united from top to bottom with one heart, running into the scene of danger, dedicated to winning the fight against the epidemic.”

“In order to do our jobs of prevention well, we urgently need medical-grade caps, medical-grade face masks, protective suits, protective goggles, and other protective goods.”

Address to send contributions (copy or print both Chinese and English):
People’s Republic of China
Hubei Province, Shiyan City, Zhushan County, Chengguan Town
Zhushan County People’s Hospital Yaoxie Management Office
Renmin Lu No. 3
人民路3号 竹山县人民医院药械管理办公室

Other goods cited in some hospitals’ releases include single-use gloves. For technical specifications for the protective suits, they should meet the Chinese standard of GB19082-2003. N95 face masks should meet the GB19083-2010 standard.

Guangzhou Medical University’s No. 1 Hospital

People’s Republic of China
Guangdong Province, Guangzhou City, Yuexiu District
Guangzhou No. 1 Hospital
Yanjiang Xi Lu No. 151

Chongqing City Public Health and Treatment Center

People’s Republic of China
Chongqing Municipality, Shapingba District
Geilinshan Baoyu Lu No. 109

Lists of hospital press releases asking for donations in other regions:

Hunan hospitals needing donations

Anhui hospitals needing donations

More Wuhan hospitals needing doantions

If there are any other regions you are interested in helping and would like to learn information about, then send me a message.