Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas in Changsha

Today is Saturday - but its a work day- one of those curious times of the year that we work the weekend so we can get a day off - so I'm working Saturday so I can have Monday and Tuesday off for New Year. I think I would have preferred to have the weekend and just monday off but nevermind.

So instead of doing something fun (or more interesting than sitting at the computer being frustrated by limited access to the net and no access to my emails) - I am doing some planning and preparation for the coming weeks of therapy. But since it is officially lunch time at the moment thought I would update my blog.

It seems Christmas is increasingly becoming a recognised celebration in China. This year there were loads of places (shops, hotels) with Christmas displays and decorations up. There were also many Christmas decorations and Christmas themed gifts for sale (admittedly in the american, french and other foreign backed superstores like Walmart, Carefour and Metro) and some of the locals were buying. Even the markets down by the river were overflowing with christmas trees, tinsels and baubels. Many of the big hotels and some nightclubs have special performances or parties but they are held on Christmas eve (24th), in fact, it seems most people seem to believe that Christmas is celebrated on the night of the 24th and they call it "Ping An Ye" or Silent Night.

I had a really busy christmas but finally had a quieter Christmas lunch on Christmas day at one of the fancier hotels in town who do a christmas buffet and decorate with christmassy things. They even had gingerbread houses and displayes all over the place.

It seems Google escaped disruptions

It seems that my ability to access my blog might have something to do with the links Blogger has with Google.

Google is working ok, I can do google searches (but not access the sites it brings up), access google news (well the story summaries anyway - I can't view the actual articles) and people who have gmail accounts can access their email. I wonder if there is going to be a flood of gmail accounts being opened.

The good news is that internet access seems patchy, with different people connected with different providers able to access different amounts on the net.... so i'm holding out hope that the patchiness is going to be in my favour and in the next day or so I might be able to download some of my emails (crosses fingers). Meanwhile, my sources of distractions on the net have been reduced to blogging and one china-based expat forum site where there are a bunch of addicted internet-gamers going through panic and withdrawal.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Earthquake disrupts net

Hmm...typical. Apparently there was an earthquake near Taiwan that broke a whole bunch of internet cables connecting to China. So at the moment I can't access email, chat or out-of-china websites....apart from it blog!

I will however take advantage of this - since I can't access the net outside of china to try and find out how long it will take to fix this and since i can't ask someone to email me the info - maybe one of you would be kind enough to do a google search and find out and then post it in the comments? A few things i have read in chinese sounds like its going to take a while.... wonder how full my email inbox will be by then!

Friday, December 08, 2006

pictorial guide to living in china

I was browsing around the net (procrastinating from the real work that is open in another window) and found this. Funny because its pretty much true.

Blind leading the blind....times 5

I couldn't believe what i was seeing.... I thought it was amazing when a few weeks ago I saw a blind woman lead a blind man through on-coming traffic.

But... the other day, as the bus I was on pulled into a bus stop, I looked out the window and saw 5, yes 5 (five), old people in a congo line one hand on the shoulder in front, every second one had a cane. The old man in the front of the line expertly used his cane and guided the group through the crowd of people and parked cars on the sidewalk. I had to take a second look to make sure i was really seeing what i thought i was seeing. So very interesting!

A few days later after mentioning to friends what i had seen i found out that i had been witnessing a training session for people with a visual impairment to learn how to use a cane. So there you go!

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