Archive for July, 2009

Adventures from “East” of the Pacific

So… yeah… I’m in China.

Thought I’d just share a few adventures that I’ve had in this foreign land.

Not only does China block all of WordPress, but these days I also can’t access Facebook, Twitter or Skepchick without a proxy. Apparently these three websites have the power to overthrow the Chinese government and give Taiwan and Tibet independence and we’re just not using them to their full potential. I wonder if Rebecca Watson knows she’s that capable.

Ironically, I’ve been able to access pleaseblock.us without a hitch.

The twelve hour plane ride across the Pacific was spent reading Bonk by Mary Roach, which I’ve truly been enjoying a lot. At one point the kid sitting next to me (also going to the summer language camp in China I’m at) looked over and the first word he saw was “vulva” which made him freak out. Upon reading the cover he said “I have nothing to say about that book.”

Upon arrival in China health officials made us wait on the plane to individually check the temperatures of everybody on the plane. They were actually quite speedy about it and we didn’t have to wait more than five minutes, but it just goes to show that the Chinese government is more paranoid about swine flu than anybody in the US I know. When I got to the Chinese language camp they would also check our temperatures daily, and take anybody with a fever to the hospital. I still find it kind of weird seeing nurses stationed at the doorway every morning.

By not getting any sleep on the plane but still managing to stay up ’til 10:00 pm China time I was able to avoid jet lag entirely for the first time in my life. The sleep deprivation, however, made everything all the more interesting.

The next two days were spent going out of the campus we were staying on and visiting sights around Beijing. We visited the lovely Summer Palace, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and pandas in the Beijing Zoo.

Theoretically we would have gone to Tinanmen Square and the Forbidden City on the third day had it not been confirmed that 8 kids in the camp had swine flu. They quarantined the campus for the whole day which made me LOL.

The next day the camp dispersed in subgroups to other provinces and I’m currently writing from a hotel near the Shaolin Temple.

In fact, we just got back from visiting the Shaolin Temple which was overall awesome. They also let us pray to the “God of Wisdom.” It was interesting learning the Buddhist way of praying involving incense and such, but I walked away thinking how ironic it was to be praying for intelligence.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. Hopefully I’ll be back to skeptical blogging soon… maybe… actually I probably won’t have time… But whatever.

Also, screw you Great Firewall of China! I should not have to go through a proxy to read my own blog.

Update: Partial fail on my part. This is what happens when you don’t write posts all in one sitting. Halfway through writing I cam up with the above title and I was going to go back to the beginning and link to this so that it would all be “funny” or some sort of subjective value like that. Of course, I was pulled away temporarily before I could move my cursor up and forgot completely about it before returning to my computer.

Still can’t believe Wazza’s the only one that commented on that thus far.

Also, for those that asked, I was in Shanghai for the eclipse and was able to see the sun for the first quarter of it… and then it started raining because Shanghai is the Seattle of China. I was able to see the whole city plunged into darkness.

The next day I heard two women chatting about the eclipse in Chinese. Their conversation went something like this:

Woman 1: What did you think of that eclipse?

Woman 2: I don’t think it was that great. All that happened was the sky went black.

Yup. All that happened was the sky went black as night in the middle of the day for five whole minutes. Let’s continue going about our daily lives, shall we?