I realize it's been a month now since I've last posted, and I eventually will finish posting about the Beijing/Xi'an trip, but I'm blogging again for now.
The new semester has begun and it's business as usual, though for the first 3 weeks I don't have my freshman classes. For whatever reason the freshmen begin 3 weeks laters, something to do with military training.
So this weekend is an important weekend as I will be meeting my girlfriend's mother for the first time. She lives in Harbin which, geographically, if Huzhou is like Atlanta, Harbin is like Nova Scotia. Just her mother is visiting, not her father. I'm a bit nervous, but to be honest, considering the level of my Chinese, I don't know enough to really make a fool of myself, so I don't have too much to worry about.
In other news, this last weekend I lost my cell phone on a bus in Hangzhou. No one stole it, I think maybe I dropped it while sitting in my seat and I didn't pay close attention. Luckily I had saved all my important phone numbers to a file a few months ago, so I didn't lose anything too important, just annoying having to spend the money on a new phone. That said, the phone I lost wasn't great, and since it had been dropped many times and soaked at least twice, sometimes it didn't work exactly as it was supposed to, so getting a new phone isn't all bad.
I got my new phone yesterday, and I am really pleased, it looks sexier than the previous phone, it's faster, it's more functional, and it was actually cheaper! (In case you are curious, the old phone was a Motorola ROKR E2 which I bought for 600 yuan, about $88, and the new one is a Motorola ROKR Z6 which I bought for 530 yuan, about $78.)
One interesting thing I discovered as I was adjusting all the settings on my new phone: I downloaded the "Opera Mini" web browser for the phone, which lets you browse web pages more efficiently than the browser that comes with the phone. Now, the way it works is, you enter an address, it goes to Opera's servers, they get the page to their servers, then compress the page, and then send it back to you. It's actually faster this way because any images and text get compressed first so instead of waiting for a 100kb page to download, now you are waiting for a 9kb page to download, and when you're talking web browsing on a non-3G network, that is a huge difference.
Anyways, I began to think, this whole system essentially works like a proxy, so, I wonder, let me see if I can access blocked websites in China, such as youtube, facebook, or even my blog right here. So I typed in those pages, and lo, I had access.
I think it's strange that if I go to a computer, I cannot access facebook or blogspot.com (without some mucking around), yet on my cell phone, I can just go right to it. Go figure.