The radical, seditious blog www.kevinkoski.com/blog has been censored by the Chinese government. I didn’t know I was that controversial. But then again genkidays.com is also censored. But let me rewind a bit.I left Japan on a cold rainy day, one of about 100 passengers aboard the ferry boat Utopia. It can carry more than 400 people so the boat was fairly empty. The trip took 30 hours with not much to do but eat, sleep, read and chat with the other passengers (all but one were Asian).
Some shots of the boat and arrival in Qingdao, China.
I passed through immigration and customs easier than I expected, although the customs agent was keenly interested in my pink Pepto Bismol pills. He even made me open the bottle and show him a few.I made my way to a hostel with my new found friend Sophia from Australia. That was were I discovered how pervasive was the Chinese internet censorship. Apparently, the have armies of technicians monitoring and scanning all web activity in China, email, web sites, blogs, etc. They search for key words and then if found, they automatically terminate the connection. Many companies such as Google and yahoo voluntarily restrict access to many sites dealing with Tibet, etc. they even block access to sites such as Wikipedia. And if you google ‘internet censorship in China’, many of the sites that are returned are themselves banned, so it is difficult to even research the subject from China.Needless to say, I was surprised, and even shocked, that my blog would be considered subversive. But it seems all blogs are censored: wordpress, blogger, blogspot, etc.There ways around the ban, by using proxy serves and tricks like that, but for mine, I cannot login. I have bought a VPN service that supposedly will allow me to get around the censorship, but for now, my posts are being uploaded by my sister Katrina in Japan/USA via emails that I send her. What a wacky country this is!Here are some photos of Qingdao (pronounced Ching dow), famous for the beer Tsintao. I was fortunate to have Sophia as a walking companion so we could figure out the Chinese system together. One of the first things we came across were dozens of people selling very weird looking fish and sea creatures right on the sidewalk. Live octopi, sea urchins, scallops, starfish, seahorses, clams, crabs, and various other worms and unidentifiable things. I was a bit overwhelmed by it all.
Another street delicacy: live scorpions:
Also at the hostel was an amiable French Canadian, Sebastian, who had been living in China for a year. He was studying martial arts in Qingdao and could speak good Chinese. He joined us for a dinner at a local cafe:
This little girl, evidently the daughter of the owner, was entertaining us during our meal:
Unlike Japan, where vending machines are plentiful, always working, and bountiful, the soda machines in Qingdao left a lot to be desired—like soda!
The Olympics are obviously a big deal in China now. Qingdao will host the sailing events so there is a strong Olympics presence:
Hey Kev –
You didn’t mention the earthquake — has this rattled your travel plans at all?
The food you were eating looks down right edible! Nothing like what I recall experiencing when I was there. For the most part, it was unidentifiable objects floating in broth!
Have many people approached you offering to be your guide? It seemed like anyone who knew any English at all wanted to be our guide while we were there. We started our journey in Xiamen, our ship departed from Hong Kong. So a different path.
I’ll be eager to hear about your experiences and how they compare with what I remember.
Are Internet cafes easy to find?
Deb, The earthquake is on the news every day (all 27 TV channels show the same thing) but I am far from the epicenter and did not even feel the vibrations.
Well the food is interesting and I will post something on that soon.
I have found that in tourist areas you get a LOT of people offering to sell you EVERYTHING. Fortunately I am usually out in the boonies where people are intensely curious but don”t hassle me. More on that later too.
Internet cafes are plentiful but slow and as I said, many sites are blocked. Even hotmail is blocked in some places it seems, so I cannot always check my email.
It’s odd that the government did not censor your e-mail containing the word “Tibet.” We are waiting your impressions of China et al with eager anticipation.
Just a bit of information for you. .. Trinidad Asphalt has been used to pave the Olympic Village. It is also on the highways and in the airport.
On another note be very careful over there. You need to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
As for the food…its a good thing you have your Pepto Bismol to coat, sooth and protect. (lol) The rice is a sure staple you’re safe if you eat that. Nothing wrong with being adventurous but when it comes to food…..I exercise extreme, caution.
What’s the weather this time of the year and has it slowed you down?
Love reading of the adventure.
Take care of your self.
Sharon in Trinidad
WAS THAT A JAPANESE OR CHINESE SHIP THAT TOOK YOU TO CHINA——VERY CLEAN. WE WILL SEE IF THIS IS AN EASIER TRIP THRU CHINA THAN S. AMERICA. SOUNDS PRETTY ROCKY ALREADY-DAD
Good spot for fear factor!!