Thursday, August 24, 2006

where have I been?

Sorry for the delay in posting.  I was pretty sick yesterday.  I went out for Thai food 2 nights ago and the next morning my stomach was not to happy with me.  You can guess what happened next.    My advice is to be careful what you eat when traveling.   And, if you are not careful, then make sure you bring "intestinal" medicine and stomach medicine just in case.   I was lucky I could just sleep at the apartment all day.   Imagine if I were on a plane or train.  Ugh.  that would be miserable.  (I'm ok now).

Today Ben and I went to the tailor to pick up some pants that I ordered.  The taxi dropped us off in the wrong place, so we had to walk really far to get there.  We went through a working class neighborhood.   It was actually pretty cool.   There were lots of people selling stuff on the street.  Clothes, snacks, dishes, household goods, comic books, videos... just about everything might want.  I always thought this is the way a city should be laid out.  Everything you need is right at your doorstep.  No need to drive.   The sidewalks were filled with vendors, so we had to walk in the street.  Every now and then a bike, motor scooter, or occasionally a car would beep at us to get out of the way.    The thing that impressed me the most about this street was that the people seemed really calm, laid back, and generally content.  No one was pressuring me to buy things.   I felt very safe there.  (perhaps i am naïve?).

In the evenings, the TV is usually on in Ben's apartment.  Their satellite dish is broken, so they only get the approved Chinese channels.  There are about 12 CCTV (China Central TV) channels run by the government.  There are also some mandarin channels from Hong Kong and Taiwan that are available.    One CCTV channel is in English.   The state run channels are heavily business focused with a little bit of international news.   The government's influence can clearly be seen in the available programs.  The international news is almost always negative.  (like the recent plane crash in Russia, for example).  The China news is always positive.    The business news is mostly a collection of short feature stories about successful, well-behaved business people in China.  Occasionally, they have a story about a business person from another country to teach how they became good business people.   There was one story about the new train from Beijing to Tibet.  They were talking about how great it will be for Tibet.  Many non-Tibetan Chinese are now moving there  and setting up businesses to take advantage of the tourist trade.  They are mostly importing good from Eastern China, so the local people don't have to bother to even make goods or work in stores for the expected influx of new tourists.   So, Tibetans are really happy about this. (right!)   The story ends with a quick interview with some old Tibetan woman praying and some statement like, "no one knows what will happen to the Tibetan people and their culture".... Well, it's good thing the Tibetans are happy!

I will post photos soon.  Unfortunately, I am at a café with poor internet connection.   I'll be on a faster one later.


Blogger Bella said...

Sorry you were ill! Your trip sounds great, I can't wait to see the pictures!

5:19 PM  

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