Saturday, July 29, 2006

More Hangzhou

Hangzhou has been good to me, although I am ready to go to Shanghai, in fact, very excited. I plan on leaving tomorrow morning.
My second day in Hangzhou started with me cleaning my clothes, something I have not done since a bygone era. As such, I now have very happy clothing, and I get to stop smelling (always a bonus).
Early on I met a young lady living in the hostel. For the sixth or seventh time in China I ended up hanging out with one person for something like eight or nine hours straight. Apparently that is just what I do when I am traveling in China, who knew?
She is a fiancé to a nice sounding owner of an internet bar. She really knew her internet bars too, and we ended up hanging out in one for a couple of hours this morning. It was cool, with the help of neighbors I made an account on a basketball game they were all playing, and I am proud to say that I rocked hard at it (it helped that I ended up with a really good guy on my team, but I did well).
After the internet bar we went to an old street, which was mostly a street that sold "old" stuff. However it was really positive. Most things had prices and I was able to find rough prices for many things I was interested in. I think I will find a similar such street in Northern China (like Qufu) and now how much things should cost. There I can buy gifts right before I leave.
The girl I hung out with today, Michelle, was good at correcting my Chinese. Whereas all my friends agree, at first it sounds like I can really do this Chinese thing, the more we talk the more it falls apart, she was good at saying what I could do better. What was nice is that we, like most of my sudden guides, spoke no English. Even though my Chinese has tons of problems, I can say that I can easily make friends in the language, and I think that is pretty important.
Hangzhou is doing well for itself, I stumbled upon yet another Zegna here. Again I went in and asked a bunch of questions. The girl there was not as forth coming, but I ended up talking to a customer who lived in America for seven years. He was very interesting and revealing.
One last thing of note. I don't know if it is because it is her job, or if it is a Chinese outlook, Michelle attached an inordinate amount of deal on getting online. This morning her goal was clearly hit the internet. When I told her this evening I was going to pop over to a cafe to get online, she seemed to take this as an event. She kept staying like "oh, if you want to get online, thats cool." Getting online being clearly as opposed to sleeping, reading, or zoning out I guess. But it was clear that this was a clear verb of something that you do.
I have a very different perspective. For me I am always online, I just check what's going on whenever I can. However my email address is running when I am gone. My site is up. These things are extensions of myself in a way. I don't see getting online as much of a jump, in places where I have wireless, it requires me opening my computer (not even hitting a button in the process).
I don't know if this is because her life is internet related through her fiancé or this is a Chinese way of thinking. How do you American readers think? Should getting online be an action verb of similar consequence to reading or eating? For me it conjures up the idea of "surfing the web."
Although I "surf the web" I think perhaps my connection to the internet is a bit too broadband, for me saying I am "surfing the web" as an answer seems to me like being asked "What are you doing?" and answering "breathing." Sure you are "breathing" but that is not really what I am asking right. There are times where I am "surfing the internet" as a committed thing, but usually its the sort of constant background of any number of activities.
That said most of my Internet usage is "Web 2.0" fashioned. The best example of this is my addiction to podcasts. Even when I am not online, my iPod likely has something I have not heard yet, originally coming from the internet. Blogs are similar, I often read them offline. Furthermore, while traveling I have been writing my blog offline, but for online purposes. Even in this nation where internet can be, frustrating to find, I still don't see the line as that distinct. This whole thinking needs more though, I realize that, I will try to refine what I am saying later.

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