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: