Monday, October 15, 2007

China and the Internets

One morning during my recent trip to China my wife and I decided to get on the internets and do a few of the things people do when they are on the internets. Namely, see why our friends and family in China can't access a secret blogspot site that we set up so that people could see pictures of the youngest member of our staff without our actually having to get photos developed and put in the mail.

No one on the staff knew where an internets cafe was, but my wife knew the way to the library, so after no deliberation we decided to go there. In the computer room of the library there were about 25 computers and it was no trouble getting two next to each other. The attendant logged us into the computer and we were off. I tried to enter the secret blogspot address and after 30 seconds or so, I was redirected to a Yahoo search engine page. The site can't be found doing a search so I did what most Americans would do, I checked to see how the Astros were doing. After about five minutes I had checked my e-mail and had read all the news I cared to. I was trying to use the trip to give myself a break from the media.

For kicks I did a google search on my old blog, The Ebb & Flow Institute. There is nothing new there but I like to use the blog roll. I found a link, and as soon as I clicked on it my computer and my wife's were rebooted. No one else's. Just ours. Within a few seconds the attendant at the front of the room was on the phone. When she hung up she came over and logged us in again, saying she didn't know what had happened.

I just visited PRC approved sites until my wife finished running down her e-mail and then we decided to see if what happened was a fluke. I visited this site without any trouble, but I was only here for about thirty seconds when my wife tried to visit The Onlette's blogspot site.


Both computers again. We got up, quickly settled our tab for fifteen minutes of internets access and disappeared into the city.

I had no intention of trying to get on the internets again, but a week later Chinese television took a break from it's non-stop World Cup coverage to inform me that there was flooding in Houston. The coverage did not mention the Institute headquarters so it was back to the internets.

This time the Library attendant did not allow us access to the internets. So we did what most people would do in such a situation, we went to get haircuts. I highly recommend getting a haircut in China. For about what I normally tip, I got shampooed, cut, styled and a young lady spent about twenty minutes tenderizing my upper body like a cheap cut of beef.

The salon had internet access, so while they finished straightening my lovely wife's already straight hair, I learned that the flooding in Houston had not impacted The Ebb & Flow Institute's headquarters. And thankfully, China is still safe from the subversive influence of blog sites devoted to the children of free market think tank institute chairpeoples.