Internet, Internet Everywhere and Not a Byte to Read

I also use a set of internet products which utilize both upstream and downstream bandwidth, all the connections in China have been miserably slow…. They can tell you about the troubles with both the phone and video service but the internet connection was fast and fairly reliable…. At the Sheraton in Guilin the broadband was so slow, 12k, I had to go to a hostel across the street and use their much faster (160k) service…. (link to hoa wu)I post those in part to let you know more of what we are doing, but also t remind myself to get back on the broadband wagon when we get a chance and hold my own feet to the fire.

Life on Less Than $5 Dollars a Day

Watch people dig holes by hand or move mountains of rock on their back or repair the great wall with donkeys and you get a deep appreciation for the amount of work these people have to do just to stay alive…. The good news is the last 15 years have brought about great change, there is a burgeoning middle class, there are more opportunities for the youth and if China can avoid an ecological disaster from the pollution and falling water table this place should grow for years to come raising the living standards of future generations…. They will go on and figure out how to continue to live on less than $5 dollars a day as new China passes them by.For us it means we are a little more generous when the taxi driver charges us an extra $.25 or the orange vendor charges us an extra $.12 she didn’t charge her Chinese patrons. Sure they all add up and in the end we might spend $80 a day, but $5 for us isn’t going to force us to cut the trip shorter but for the lower class chinese it is the same as 12 hours of hard labor.

Out To Dinner In Yangshou, Be Back Later

There were at least fifteen Chinese to every foreigner, and they were still obsessed with grabbing Asher for pictures, a skill which it seemed no Chinese could master since Asher would bolt away and hide every time anyone got remotely close to her…. Aside from the tours on the Li River, the Yang Shao Mud Caves, and so forth all that there was in the quite town of 300,000 was a single street packed with restraunts and discos…. We managed to buy 2 fried rice plates, sizzling beef, sweet and sour pork, three cheese pizzas, a plate of pasta, garlic spare ribs, roast goose and beef noodles for under twenty dollars, finally cutting down on food costs after insanely priced Australia and New Zealand, I mean three bucks for a candy bar?… The problem is that in a country where the only indigenous instruments are flutes and a single string instrument, you don’t build a good rhythm base among most people, and so most end up dancing like McKane, Kieran and Asher, a lot of jumping around with no real connection to the songs beat.

Hello Banana, Maybe Orange?

Teaching in the country was a moving experience and we returned to Yangshou with our batteries recharged, ready to give the town a second chance. As it turned out our hotel in Guilin was booked for the next four days, so we locked up our valuables, kept our hands on our wallets, and headed out…

Strange Bedfellows in Yangshou

While in theory the government here is supposed to fund education, there are still expenses to be borne by the parents, and few rural children can afford to attend beyond the 6th grade…. This in an admirable goal, and even more so, since Laurie is in his ’80’s!Through a miscommunication with the driver, we ended up at the top-performing school under VET-China’s jurisdiction, rather than the lowest, as Laurie had intended…. Tony’s English skills were limited, and Laurie explained that even the school’s English teacher cannot speak the language…. These are kids who rarely have clean clothes, regularly work in the fields, and have limited academic support at home, and they could blow away any American kid learning a second language.The Chinese teach by drill and memorization, so each time I said something the children would repeat it.