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Hello readers,

So, as many of you know, China blocked Blogger. Consequently, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, but I’m going to have a whole lot of free time on my hands after August, and I figured it was about time I took up this whole writing thing again.

Word Press is available here in China, but the internet robot spies are pretty particular about it. First of all, in order to access the blogs I have to put a www. in front of the site address or it won’t load. I don’t know why this is, but it’s an issue every.single.time.
Secondly, every now and then they go ahead and block it even with the www. So if my postings are infrequent, go ahead and blame the Great Firewall of China and it’s evil robot spies.

So, what to talk about? I actually have a lot going on at the moment, folks. A wedding to plan, starting work at a new school, moving to a new city, traveling here and there. That equals out to a lot of interesting (hopefully) posts for you guys to enjoy. And you better enjoy them, I’m not writing this stuff for my health.

So, let’s talk about some of the stuff that’s been going on recently.

First of all, Bakes and I are getting married. Pretty exciting stuff, right? Well what makes it that much better is that we’re doing it in Kauai surrounded by most of our family and close friends.
During the course of the wedding planning I discovered Taobao. Taobao is equivalent (I seriously just spelled and re-spelled the word about four times before finally spell checking it) to China Ebay, except everything is new. F’realz. And most of it is stuff that goes out of the back of the factory when the boss isn’t looking. This has been pretty much a godsend when it comes to wedding planning as I got almost all of our decor for $200. Linens, paper lanterns, LED candles, the whole nine yards.
Another godsend? Our families. They’ve done a lot of work and put in a lot of money to make sure this wedding is awesome. Which it will be. And it won’t rain.

I’ve seen some really weird crap here in China lately. A few weeks ago Bakes, Nik, Ruud, and I were downtown picking up some booze for a dinner party (okay, okay, red wine, but booze is way more fun to say). We were headed to a local (overpriced) foreign foodstuffs important store that is located next to a fancy shmancy mall. As we were passing the mall we heard a lot of wailing and yelling and saw a big group approaching us carrying something large on a red tarp. One thing you do not want to get into the middle of is a protest in China, they often don’t end well for anyone involved. We stepped to the side to let the group pass and saw, rather unhappily, that the large thing on the tarp was a man. And he wasn’t moving, ya’ll. The group put him down on the steps of the mall and covered his face with a corner of the tarp. Then they started screaming and banging on the doors of the mall. There was a scuffle and a bit of a fist fight with the security guards and more yelling. At this point the laowai (foreigners) took cover in the foreign food store (located next to/in the basement of the mall). We did a bit of shopping, trying to forget about having just seen a very dead man laid out on some stairs, then decided to leave. Except the door was blocked due to the outdoor protest. We took another exit which dumped us into the mall where we could see that security had blockaded the doors to keep out the (very pissed) protesters. We quickly scrambled off, not wanting to stick around for the arrival of the police.
Nathan later found out that the group had been their because the deceased man they had brought with them had been killed by a falling billboard from the mall and they wanted compensation.
That’s how things work here in China, if you wrong someone you compensate them monetarily. Most of these disputes are settled out of court unless the wrong-er decides not to pay the wrong-ee. Then perhaps the police will become involved. It’s an interesting policy and I think it tends to keep insurance rates down if nothing else.

Of course I have more interesting tales to share with you, but 1.) I need to keep them as fodder for other entries and 2.) I have to go teach my evening class (seriously, class from 4:20-6pm on a Friday?! Who does that?).

For now, signing off. And keep an eye out for falling billboards, eh?

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