Illness interrupts filming

I awoke feeling bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Obviously holothurian (a.k.a. sea cucumber) agrees with me. (Gustatory hint: don’t meditate on it, just pick it up and poke it in! This is my unfailing advice for eating otherwise dubious food items.) Phil, however, who was fighting respiratory problems yesterday, succumbed to dire alimentary canal issues during the night, and felt like death warmed over, although he didn’t actually look quite that good. We analyzed our food intake from the banquet the night before and I really ate everything he did plus a few other items to boot. Well, truth be told, I do have a reputation as the Badger 5000 food disposal unit! I am rarely flummoxed by what appears on my plate.

Peter and a giant rib

Peter and a giant rib

Further bureaucratic complications arose in the morning, necessitating yet more negotiations with Mr. Wang, the tourism director. Because I had gotten along so swimmingly with him the night before, Pip thought it might be useful for me to come along. I suppose I learned more than I wanted to about this sort of thing. At stake was real money, 50,000 or 100,000. At least the currency is Chinese, and so the dollar amount was only about $14,000. Let us say that an accord was reached and please do not press me for the details, because I will be forced to deny any knowledge at all. But we were driven by Mr. Wang’s driver out to the dig site and filming resumed. Phil gamely joined us. Mainly we filmed me while he languished on our bus. By mid afternoon his condition deteriorated badly. We tried to film one short scene to establish the connection between the two of us, and he came out to attempt it, but was unable. The decision was made terminate filming and seek medical attention for Phil. One option was to drive him to hospital in Qingdao, but it was decided to get medical consultation from an emergency specialist in town. The consultation was made and treatment has begun. The crew is doing in-town filming that does not require either of us. I checked in on Phil in his room on a 30 minute schedule and he slept soundly. This has the potential to wreak further havoc with our travel schedule, but obviously returning Phil to the pink of health is the first order of business. I miss his mirth and joviality!

Phil and bones

Phil and bones

After three hours sleep Phil roused in the early evening and I dosed him the Panadol for pain. He also insisted that I go to the dinosaur preparation lab, where filming was being done. I am glad I went. It was an astonishing workshop, on a fitting scale for the size of the quarry. Several skeletons of the giant Shantungosaurus were already assembled, and several more were in the process of assembly, with welding sparks showering the floor. The quadrupedal Shantungosaurus seemed quite plausible, but the bipedal one reared into the rafters of the warehouse—improbable in the extreme but visually stunning! On the other side was a huge lab for the preparation and storage of fossils. There were veritable petrified forests of standing femurs and tibias and shelf upon shelf of vertebrae. So many bones replicated and replicated again—the scene is reminiscent of the terra cotta warriors, but only of dinosaurs, not ancient warriors. Such splendid treasures will not be viewed by the public for three years, when a major museum will open in Zhucheng. But viewers of National Geographic will see the marvels!

Tomorrow, a travel day.

Peter in the bone shed

Peter in the bone shed

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