Wednesday, December 31, 2014

China Travels One

Well so much for live blogging since the Chinese government has done it's best to rob every bit of fun that they can out of the Internet.  I write this passage using a bit of light technical chicanery that allows me to remote on to my home computer.  Otherwise, Google, VPN sites, Twitter, and others are outright inaccessible while other huge swaths of the internet crawl since no one bothers to set up distributed caching servers on the other side of the Great Firewall.  It brings to mind the description that I read of this book where the author puts forward the idea that China will be perpetually bottled up in a no man's land between the third and first worlds due to their government.

Along those lines, one might be afraid of police in America since they're so citation happy, but Chinese police, oof, I don't care for those dudes eyeballing me at all.  It may be better for clueless natives, but I can feel those dudes sizing up my organs whenever I walk by them.  I should point out that one needn't come to the Far East for such a fun experience though!  Before getting on our flight bound for Toronto, (where the connector to our China flight was located), some U.S. stormtroopers stood in the terminal tunnel interrogating citizens as to how much money (specifically) they had on them.  These are the jackasses that shouldn't exist: State troopers who can take your cash for laughs under the guise of trying to stop drug money laundering (something which has obviously been a rousing success).

The flight?  Ah yes, fifteen hours in an aluminum tuna can.  Mrs. Sandmich expected the usual spartan airline experience and packed about ten pounds of food (I exaggerate of course, it was probably only 9.5 pounds).  Little did we know that Air Canada serves two and a half meals along with a rolling beverage service (I sucked down four beers without much thought before my bladder told me that I should probably hold off).  As usual I couldn't sleep, so I hit the ground ready to pretend whatever time it was supposed to be.  So let's make with some photos, presented in no particular order:

$100 water pots, a basic requirement due to water quality.  I remarked to Mrs. Sandwich that we go into our American appliance stores and find inexpensive Chinese appliances whereas in China they have crazy expensive Japanese appliances.  Anyone in the mood for a $200 electric rice pressure cooker, or perhaps a $700, 50 liter hot water tank?  I have the store you then.

A major intersection in town, note the lack of any traffic signs

Part of a typical, Chinese construction production.  I don't know enough about large scale production to know if their approach (which appears to be heavy with the use of wood staves) is good or bad.

Sally's dad's new house.  The construction is glass and concrete.  Even small houses are built this way so I guess cement is easier to come by than timber.

Older ladies exercising in the evening in the city's main square (it's a "town" by East Asian standards, but would be a major metropolis anywhere in America).

Santa is everywhere

A winterized scooter (some are electric jobbies that are completely silent)

The arrival area of the Shanghai airport.  Maybe I don't travel enough but I've never seen that many people waiting directly outside of an arrival gate.

In what at one point in time was probably a fishing village.  Every spare piece of dirt in this area had a vegetable of some sort growing in it and the gardens were quite impressive.

Well that's enough of that.  It took me all day to crank out this post over my painful faux vpn connection and I doubt that I'll have the patience to do more until I get back, sorry!

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