Yankee Ingenuity

There are these things called VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).  They are offered by companies (mostly American) for the express purpose of allowing folks who live in countries that block certain websites to access those sites (I understand that a lot of the Middle East countries do as well).  It's kind of a cat and mouse game.  These companies have servers in several cities, so if the Chinese are able to block one server, one can move to another.  One of the major VPN companies is at http://hidemyass.com (look at that very closely.  It took me a little while to figure it out.  I don't use that company.  Yankee ingenuity and Yankee crudity.)  Anyway, it seems to work very well.  I was also able to upgrade to a broader bandwith so hopefully I'll have a little more speed, which I needed.  It costs about $15 a month, though it's not quite as fast as what one would get in the West.  Still, it's better than what I had.  I bought a cell phone; I'll pay about $31--for six months.  That's $31 total for six months, and that includes the phone.  Incidentally, my phone number is 1800 409 6186.  That's not a toll-free number, it just happens to be the number I have.  If you need to call for any reason, you'll need to add the Chinese country code.  It's 86.  I think for a cell phone, you'd dial 011+86+my number.  I think.  You'd have to check.  No need to call unless absolutely necessary.

I've seen a few Western items here.  I was at the grocery store this morning and saw Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers.  I think I already mentioned I can get Lay's potato chips, and that I saw M&Ms, but the latter are too expensive.  The Lay's are cheap. 

Other than that, things are well.  I haven't quite figured out how to get my prescription, but we're working on that and I've got a couple of weeks to play with.  I'll probably lose some weight while I'm here.  I remember that I did when Debbie and I were here before.  It won't hurt me any, in fact, it will probably cut down my cholesterol and trygliceride counts.  I'm still going to have mom send me a few things I can't get here; I don't believe in the doctrine of total depravity.  But there's no hurry on that.

Anyway, I'll post here as long as I'm able.

I'm going to keep the other website for a while, just in case this doesn't work, but so far, so good.