Using the Internet in China

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 24, 2007

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Before we left for China, we were told we would have the Internet at the Dong Wu Hotel. But I left thinking this would not be a sure thing and I was right. The hotel actually does not have the Internet, but a small western style restaurant next to the hotel has one computer with the Internet. The computer works slowly, but the Internet speed is not bad -- equivalent to a DSL. You also have to buy food in order to use the computer and the food is not very good in my opinion. I use this machine briefly a few times.
A better option is a "Cyber Bar" with about 30 computers using Windows 2000 and a very high speed connection. It is also cheap at 30 cents an hour. All this is good, but unfortunately it is a 20 to 25 minute walk from Dong Wu. We take so many things for granted in the U.S. especially using the Internet. Many U.S. public venues now have free wireless. And we don't realize how dependent (or addicted) we become to the Web for news and keeping in touch with family and friends.
I made the trek to the Cyber Bar three times to post for this blog and check email. It was the only way (other than one phone call) in which I could keep in touch with my wife and find out how much my five-month-old daughter has grown. The Cyber Bar is intriguing - dark, dingy and smoky like a honky tonky back in the US. When you enter the establishment, you purchase a card with a number on it. This was your password to use the machine and Web. The Internet Explorer browser is an adventure to use because most of the menu items are in characters. My knowledge of Microsoft products is sorely tested. I sometimes would type Word files on my laptop and then upload them and photos to Ben's jump drive using that to transfer to the computers with the Internet. This saves me much time.
The clientele consists mostly of high school and college age male students using the machines to play video games through the Internet. On one occasion I have a young man next to me who is sleeping. He looks worn out from gaming. Two days later, I could have sworn he is still in that same seat and still sleeping. Chinese youths have much in common with American teens.
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