Monday, January 07, 2008

"The Great Firewall of China"

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You have to go via a proxy to get to the BBC website! What the heck? Though I'd hope not to the same extremes, surely there is in that something reminiscent of the Second World War, where people on precious stored radios listened to the BBC World Service to get news about the progress of the war. Obviously that's again being somewhat overdramatic, that's just the brief vibe I got upon receiving that particular bit of information.

So it's Day 3, and my interest is still not waning! Woo! Currently sat in a darkened internet cafe surrounded by highly excitable Chinese kids playing Warcraft III and yelling each other in relation to it. It's an improvement on the other night, I suppose, where there was a man sitting in the corner watching porn and... well, he was quiet, and his face intent and his hands not on his keyboard. Ahem.

Not really been doing anything too hardcore at present, nor have I really been trying out the old Mandarin, but I expect that will swiftly change when we get chucked into schools. We're about to start the learning, of teaching skills and basic Chinese language, and that should be pretty useful. I'm feeling a little too overconfident about the teaching part, I guess my Kumon experience and other stuff has given me more than the average amount of exposure to teaching kiddies, but I expect the scale and so forth of what we're about to do is somewhat different. I have at least lost the feeling the small feeling of dread I had just before I left. Everyone is really nice and it's all fairly close knit. It's actually somewhat reminiscent of Fresher's Week: especially due to the communal dining room we all hang out in and spend the majority of our spare time in the building in.

Had a couple of excursions here and there also, taken a few photos, and still a little uncertain how I'm going to get them onto the old facebook but that's not really an issue. The 'Holiday Beach' about 20 drive away is really nice, but yesterday we only spent a little over an hour there... we intend to go back on our day off on Sunday, should be a laugh.

The whole place reminds me a little of the less developed areas of Singapore, the same sense of the urban being plonked into the middle of a tropical rural area, with the (albeit planted) tropical trees around, the villagers around... it's a very varying area though, with the environment changing from mile to mile down the main roads. The locals treat us,mostly the others obviously, with the expected level of awe. It seems as if they'd been blessed the presence of a unicorn or something. Some are friendly and curious and say "Hi" to us, and grin the widest smile when we respond positively.

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