Friday, July 21, 2006

Up in Chengdu

This post is brought to you by an excellent western cafe I will tell you more about soon.

Well first of all, Chengdu is frustrating with their wireless. I have been to so many nice places, I have tried to follow the economy, and the books, and the business, and the computers. Any one of those usually leads to wireless, but not here. I have found three or four places where I can connect, but not wirelessly. I am now to the point where I am like "Do you have WIRELESS Internet?"
"Yes, we do."
"Yes! Really? Are you sure it is WIRELESS?"
"Yes." And then it turns out to be a wired connection.
Of note, the wired connections are pretty rare, these are in the priciest tea bars I can find. I have no idea where I will end up finding wireless, but my guess is it might be out of here. Being that I plan on spending at least three days here, this could get messy.
I am happy with my pace so far, I have looked at where I have been and where I have yet to go, I am going at a good rate. I am unsure about how I am doing spending wise. I can't do a balance inquiry outside of Taiwan for some reason (but I can get money, which is the most important). I have tried to track every time I have taken out money, but I am not confident I have marked them all. It feels like I am spending too much (I am a sucker for $12.50 singles with A/C and TVs rather than $5 dorm rooms, I like having my own room to come home to). However it seems like I am on budget.

PTI: Want to get stared at? Have white skin, go to the Chengdu bus station, sit down on the ledge holding bushes in front out of the station, pull out an Apple computer, and start typing fast. Oh the attention you will get...

Today's quest for wireless internet found that Chengdu is sectionalized like crazy, maybe worse than Taiwan (which always shocked me with how well it was sectionalized). There was the restaurant area, the tea area, and the most noticeable, the computer area.
The computer area stretched for multiple very long blocks. Every store fixed or sold parts or the whole of computers. These were all small stores, but at three (or four?) of the corners there were eight story monstrosities. At one point I entered such a monstrosity and was simply shocked by it. It was non-stop stores, each floor with a vague theme. Think of one of those huge Best Buys, cut it in half, put one half on top of the other (creating more of a square shaped shop), and then stack three more of these blocks on top of each other, then decrease walking space and increase product space. That is about it. There were at least three of these and between them: nothing but computer stores. I can easily say I have never seen so many computer places in my life.
If I opened the computer there I picked up 8 or 9 "Peer to peer" connections. These sorts of connections typically don't have internet (though theoretically could). Only a few didn't have passwords, and those didn't have internet.
Walking up the tower of computer stuff, I went up to what I would discover was the DVD floor=big mistake. Typically the average DVD salesperson in Hong Kong or the mainland is pushy to the point of yelling, imagine ten of those bull charging you at once.
"DVD!"
"DVDDVDDVD!"
"DVD!"
"Agh, stop"
"You want DVD?"
"Seriously 不用谢谢?“
”Videogames?"
"不用,不用"
"游戏?" (Chinese for Videogame)
"不用”
"DVD!?"
One woman had a few of the copied DVDs in her hand, and she started whapping them to make it clear to me they existed. At one point she puts them right in my face and starts whapping them yelling "DVDDVDDVD." I stared her directly in the keys, got in her face and just stared perhaps the nastiest stare I have ever produced. She was startled and I made her realize how psychotic she was being. She said sorry and backed away, what was nice was that it was clear that she meant it. She was probably a very nice woman, and in her line of work its easy to forget that white skin does not mean someone is not a person, simply because their line of communication with foreigners is very thin indeed.
Right now I am waiting for a date I did not technically agree to, well, I am kind of waiting. A girl I met on the train to Emeishan gave me her number and told me to call her if I was going to go to Dujiangyan (another world heritage site I planned on going to). She said she had a friend there and we could go together. I figured a local guide would be good, so I said sure.
Tonight I called her to ask her if she could go tomorrow. She said she could, but did not know what time, I said I would call back at seven and check what time. In short she said, she was on the way. So I did not know what to do. But she is here now, so I am going to go now. More coming soon no doubt.

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