I just PAID to get internet access if you can believe that! As soon as I stepped off the plane from China, I started scouting around for electrical outlets. I found one in a corner near the gate for my connecting flight, plugged in, and dropped the six bucks for Boingo Wi-Fi access. Ohmygosh it was so worth it! Facebook! Twitter! My blog! My friends! Finally I can see you again! Did you miss me?
Why was I having such social media withdrawal when I’m usually the one weirdo who LIKES leaving my computer behind on short trips? There were a couple reasons. First, we HAD internet, but the social media sites were blocked. They were right there under our fingertips, just behind the screen, but every time I typed in “facebook” and hit “enter” some Asian dude in a cubical somewhere hit the “deny” button and smiled. Even sites you wouldn’t expect to be blocked were “forbidden.” Like airline websites. We began experimenting. The questionable websites were easier to access in the mornings, perhaps between Censorship Department shifts. Sometimes if you tried to access Facebook or Blogger too many times, you’d suddenly be without any internet at all! I found myself shaking my fist at the sky and exclaiming like Kyle and Stan every time Kenny dies on South Park. That’s reason number one.
Reason two: by day three of our toilet not flushing, our room smelling like poo, rock hard beds, an ear-splitting language (even when they’re just taking like normal it sounds like they’re angry), and mystery meat, rice, and something labeled “white fungus broth” for dinner, I was clinging desperately to the far-off memories of the culture of my homeland, of the hamburgers, soft beds, and toilets that flush.
Alright, so I had to take a break in my blogging just then to fly from Tokyo to Minneapolis. Hardly slept at all on the flight but at least now I’ve got my Boingo Wi-Fi going, my McFlurry in hand, and people are speaking English!
Pictures and stories to come…