Saturday, October 08, 2005

I found out a rather disturbing piece of news yesterday that in January both blogspot and google were completely banned from China. China has a giant fire-wall that is goverment controlled and many sites are highly restricted. It seems that after much protesting, google and blogspot were reinstated though google is somewhat restricted in its search capabilities! I may have to take off this piece of information before I go out there as I don't want to get in trouble with the authorities just yet. I'm sure this will be one of many culture shocks I'll be faced with when I'm there. Luckily Joanna (my sister) has given me a book for my birthday called 'Culture Shock' which is all about dealing with modern life in China, including much of the strange ettiquette that I will have to get used to.

I finally managed to track down a Chinese teacher and had a lesson this evening. She hasn't taught before but the fact that she speaks Mandaring is good enough for me. She's from Shanghai and though she says that her accent is the same as a Beijing accent, I'm not convinced. The use of something called the retroflexive 'r' seems to range from a western 'er' sound in Beijing to something closer to 'je' in Shanghai. Anyway, I'm sure I'll learn a lot but have to put in a major effort to get comfortable with it in the next three weeks!

Anyway, another highly succesful day of procrastination comes to an end. Really must work for the viva tomorrow. For now, another picture to contrast the horribly grey day that's added to my tedium (other than meeting up with Stephen, a friend from Bristol whome I haven't seen for 18 months). This was last summer on Kim's house boat in Southampton. A perfect summer day of relaxing.

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