Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wandering around Shaoxing on a Saturday

Shaoxing, China has a very tranquel and subtle beauty to it that really allows a person to get sucked into the atmosphere of the city and the surrounding area.  It really amazes me how I can be in an underground Wal Mart one minute, and watching a boat follow the current of a canal 100 meters away the next.  There is something amazing about how China has kept the feel of the old and mixed it in with the new. 
I wanted to write a lot about that feeling in this post, but I figure that the pictures can do the talking for me.  What I feel like digressing into is the fact that China is and has been nothing like what the news and other "sources" told us it would be like.  We have found some incredibly caring and friendly people, who both love their country and culture, but are very curious about talking to someone else about theirs.  People who have talked to us about our culture have been overly sensitive so that they do not offend, and even gone as far as asking if certain topics were ok to discuss.  I find it quite fascinating that China as a whole is judged based on a few bad apples (such as tourists in other countries or possibly urbanites).  I think that we in the west, with our fear of China and communism have really lent to this negativity rather than trying to see China as a nation of many, and I mean many, individuals. 
I do have some gripes - the wifi speed could really use an overhaul, and blocking of sites can be a hassle, but hey, not my country and not my rules.  I just think it is quite sad that we judge all of china based on our 1950's McCarthy era fears of a Red Menace. 
The only thing that I am slowly getting a bit tired of is being stared at everywhere in public.  Literally, today I watched two people walk into eachother because they were staring at me.  Like... Really?  I know I look funny, but do you need to take a selfie with me?  Am I that amazing?  Doubtful. 
So, back to Shaoxing, I freakin' love it.  I mean, look at the photos, what is not to love?  It is an amazing mixture of 1,000 year old buildings with modern highways.

So, here I type, trying to figure out if the photos can even be seen on the 90's era laptop with a terrible graphics card that make them all look like something out of a Van Gogh painting.  I will try to be a bit better about posting, however as I am working on a laptop that seems to have the processing speed of an Apple IIe, forgive my spelling mistakes and my formatting issues, as spell check is not a thing... at all.  Perhaps one day in the future I can try and fix said issues, but more likely I will just leave them as a stain on the otherwise perfect (hahaha) blog, and keep moving foward. 
Speaking of that issue.  Just to give you an idea of how hard it is to now add photos onto the blog posts.  Here is the process.
1. Take said photo with my iPhone which is not connected to the Chinese mobile network.
2. Wait until I get wifi (usually close to dial-up speed) and send said photo to my email account.
3. Download the photo to my Chromebook which has the fastest connection rate.
4. Transfer that photo to a jump drive.
5. After it is transferred to a jump drive, load it onto my 90's era dinosaur computer. 
6. Upload it to the blog using a mixture of workarounds and other such grey-area techie things.
7. Never be quite certain the photos are even visible as I cannot actually see my blog in this country.
8. Realize that when China and Google get along better, I will be much happier.  Much much happier.
9. Sadly wish that I had chosen a different blogging platform to run off of than Google Blogger. 
10. Consider starting a new blog on a site that China is ok with so I do not need a work-around. 
11. Give up and go back to step 1.

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