A few days ago my daughter and I were researching options for her study in Holland, freely surfing away over the world wide web from our small and cozy little cabin deep in the endless wild Dutch forest, when we came across the following remark of an anthropology student in Utrecht: “China is a large and mysterious country”. Now that gave us a good laugh! He surely hadn’t done a thorough study or had slept through the lectures and obviously had missed the last developments in China or he is one of those bookworm nerds that never leaves queen or country. Not to mention what all this tells us about his lecturer or at least the university’s marketing head. China is large, sure, but mysterious? (more…)
With more time on hand as long as it lasts, I decided to start a blog site. Not that this is the first time for me to try this though. If you google the different blog names I have used in the past, you will find several unfinished sites of mine that I myself have never seen. So no need to give you these names. Another of those blessings of living in China. Twice I started a blog site and twice our Chinese moral angels thought it better not to permit these blog providers to be seen by the apparently unstable and easily influenced masses and other residents. The Smurfs are not alone.
The fact that you are reading this, however, means I have found a site that has China’s blessings. WordPress.com; these guys probably made some immoral compromises on US’ 1st Amendment but that’s OK: I can now at last freely speak out!
But then, a rapid increase of laptops, iPads, iPhones, iTouches and other I-don’t-know mobile web surfing tools have resulted in a daily web-traffic jam and is reason for more, though different, headaches. To give an example. At 8 pm I start the computer. 3 past 8 the Firefox is up and running. Still loading my blog page though. I check google news in other tabs, skipping the YouTube links since those are branded ‘evil’ and ‘a danger to the state security’ since the Uyghur turmoil, and after about 5 minutes I return to my blog site. Glad to see that the website is already 85% loaded, although it doesn’t show me the complete site, it is enough to enable me to click the link that gets me to the page where I need to make an adjustment. I want to add a photo to the story (or to be more precise: add just a link to that photo) and adjust the page lay out a little. I copy the HTML link and press paste. To see whether it is looking good, I select ‘view’. The new page starts loading and I decide to get myself a cup of coffee from down stairs, read a few pages of the latest ‘More Chengdu’, one of the many free expat magazines where the ads are more interesting then the cover story, and check in again. Half way. I check my emails, cut my nails, gaze outside and enjoy the view of a Chengdu preparing for the night. Ah! 90%, nearly there! -but the page is still blank. Sunrise. A second cup.
It starts raining. In Chengdu, sporadic thick drops are the messengers for the storm to come. No weatherman is needed here to tell the future. I go out to cover the garden chairs and empty the washing line. Just on time. Having a garden is one of the advantages of living on the top floor in Chengdu -so different from most other cities in China and beyond: the top floor comes with a nice roof garden. (Or at least: you get the roof and need to make it into a nice garden.) Where other cities are just gray and boring, Chengdu’s neighborhoods from the last 10 years have interesting architectural designs borrowed from around the world and much green –even on the roofs.
Back on the screen I watch my page being built. Done! But it doesn’t look the way I want it to be. Ages have past and all I accomplished is one adjustment that surely needs more polishing up and much more time waiting.
The time it will take to get it ALL done is enough to write a book and publish it. I look outside and a new 21 storey building is now blocking my view. My nails could use a cutting again. You may wonder why I go through all this trouble; well, so do I. Here in China, overcoming the well known writer’s block is not enough to actually write a blog.