Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Cybercafe

Back when communists ruled parts of Asia and central and eastern Europe shortages of everything was their trademark. In Chengdu my communist era hotel was providing a free communist era Internet connection. It was a 100 megabit Ethernet hookup but I maybe Chairman Mao was standing on the Internet garden hose. I wished I could upgrade to dialup. The solution? I went to the cybercafe. This one In China each user must sign in at the front desk with their government issued ID cards in order to be granted access. The kids running the front desk didn't know what to make of me, I couldn't read the government form and they couldn't read my passport to fill the form out for me so after forking over 3 or 4 Yuan they indicated that I could sit anywhere in the large room that I preferred.

It was a large hot room filled with adolescent youth and and hot computer equipment. It was already a hot day and this place was on the 2nd floor of a mini-mall. It was uncomfortable but I had things to do, such as finding out why I couldn't reach my Hotmail account via my own laptop. The Chinese government never admits to censoring the Internet but supposedly that's just what they did to accessing Hotmail from within China I was by far the oldest person in the cybercafe, probably 3 times the ages of the kids running the place. Grandpa Gweilo had come to town, let's all flash him our best gang signs! I left after about an hour and a half, I had gotten the information that I wanted and I could no longer take the stifling heat or my clothes sticking to my chair and my skin sticking to my clothes. When I went to leave I was surprised to be handed my change for the time unused (I had no idea how much time had purchased, I just wanted Internet access and the price was more than right).

Let's take more pictures with my new best friends!

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