We’re in Kazakhstan, which is proving to be a great destination (Borat blew it, I’m tellin’ ya). While I’m working on that post, I had a few leftover thoughts on China.
And, since thinking isn’t my strong suit, I thought I’d air them out so I can go on with my Buddhistic pursuit of a totally empty mind!
So, just to prove that it’s not all lectures and picture taking on these charter jet trips, some of our group took the opportunity to do some sand sledding while we were in Mingsha Dunes in Dunhuang a couple of stops ago. I shot some still sequences and pasted together the timelapse above.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the Chinese juggernaut; cities popping up overnight, real estate bubbles, tons of money being invested in infrastructure, well-trained hotel staffs who smile and try to help you….all this while holding trillions of dollars of our IOUs. It bowls you over.
But everything’s not that peachy. The air quality is horrible and pollution rampant. They censor every Time and Newsweek that gets in there (one of our passengers has a souvenir Time where the censors redacted a sentence in a story about the possible successors to the current president. Pretty mild stuff, but clearly unacceptable reading for the masses!). And they are censoring the internet too.
Every one of the blogs I regularly read that is hosted by Blogspot and WordPress were blocked. And we’re talking photo blogs, not political ones. If you want your blog to reach into the Chinese market, consider hosting it yourself on your own site. None of those were blocked.
Curiously, though, Google worked. But you got kicked right over to Google Hong Kong. I wonder how they’re managing that?
Who knows how it’ll all shake out, but in the meantime, if I ever have grandkids, I’m going to encourage them to study Mandarin as their second language….