Sunday, February 26, 2006

SEZ Arrival

Dude, just got to shenzhen today, and fucking blogger is blocked here! goddamn it. i met with some people in hong kong yesterday who "knew" the mainland, and they refused to send me certain emails until i got back. they were like, "Your using Gmail?! It's Google!" (Here substitute "Evil" for "Google" and watch their motto go to hell.) Other China email advice came when I got here from Dirt Star, who I'm staying with. He said a string of his emails got blocked because it had "Chin3se G0v3rnmint" in the subject header (fucking weird, but I don't dare write it for some reason). So I'm still using gmail and ther eare like at least 150 kids in this dark cave of an Internet cafe, so it doesn't feel that threatening, except that I had to show my passport to get a computer. And believe you me, I'm real fucking happy about leaving a trail of paper computer use records all across China. Should have brought a laptop, so I could go online incognito at Starbucks for free, then all I'd leave is a damn trail of carmel macchiato stains on my one pair of blue jeans from here to Beijing and Chengdu and back. Oh well. (BTW, clothes are so cheap here I almost regret bringing any at all.)

Otherwise this city is awesomely weird, like someone with a thousand billion dollars decided to build a city in 25 years with only 1950s space age comic books for a blueprint. The convention center here, brand new, everything is goddamn brand new, looks like its interior could hold all the jet liners parked outside around Taipei's CKS Terminal One. There is a gold skyscraper. No shit. Maybe 50 stories, so only so-so tall for here, and every reflective window, corner, antenna, windown washing equipment on the roof, whatever, it's all gleaming like the turds out of King Midas' ass.

The one good thing is the mobile phone market, sort of. It seems as completely unregulated as China's economic growth and looming environmental catastrophes are out of control. (Going through Immigration, a fellow whitey, one who said he'd lived in Guangzhou for 10 years, warned, "The line starts here, and on the other side the air turns blue and it smell like shit all the way to Beijing.") Coming through into the plaza outside the Lo Hu train station, where I'd crossed the border, I bought a phone number for 120RMB cash, no questions asked. The only problem is every cell phone in China is 11-digits long, and the lady explained to me that you have to dial an extra 5 digits in front of that to get the cheap rate of zero-point-something RMB per minute. I was gonna asked why, but then I reminded myself, "Oh yeah, now I'm in China."


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