Word on VPN

You may or may not be aware that China blocks several websites making them inaccessible.  Some are Google or anything Google such as Google maps and part of Google Translate. FaceBook, Snapchat and others. For this reason we downloaded a VPN to help us bypass China’s Great Firewall. You must do this on your devices BEFORE you get to China.

We used ExpressVPN during our five week stay and it worked like a dream, I would highly recommend it. It is a bit more expensive than others, $12.99 per month) but had good ratings and I can add mine to it. Having access to WiFi is the difficult part but that is a China issue not a VPN issue.  When we had good Wifi I typically used the US location, Los Angeles 2 and never had an issue.

I employed Google Translate frequently and you only need Wifi for a few parts of it but the online portions will require the VPN as it’s a Google product.

Last day in China

Friday May 24th was our last day in China. It poured buckets of rain off and on all day.  The streets were flooded up over the sidewalk in some places and the scooters were still trying to get through it.

We had a huge beautiful lunch with dean, Grace, and some other folks that helped immensely getting us to China and making sure our stay was pleasant.

We had a small presentation after that and cried a little over the friends and memories we had made. The Chinese are such a friendly, caring and helpful people.

Geography

I haven’t said much about our Geography class. Dr. Long is a great teacher. He is very patient and passionate about his subject. He had a true love of the earth and all the beauty and mysteries it provides. He taught us more than just terminology but helped us to recognize what we had learned in the scenery we were seeing in China.  He was especially contentious of our Chinese classmates and worked very hard to include them in our lectures and invited them often to tell us about their country

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So hot and so many steps

It has been so hot during our entire stay. In the mid to upper 90’s nearly every day. The humidity is typically 50% or greater. If it rains the next few days will be very high humidity. It has started to make us crabby. Sometimes you just feel like you are nauseous. There is rarely a breeze if so not much of one.

The up side to this is you can carry an umbrella so you have portable shade! Can’t do that on the plains on most days!  Most ladies carry them even while riding bikes and scooters some men do as well but not as prevalent. However, not your typical city black or your southern lace umbrella but fun and flowery.

IMG_0914Except the men of course, they opt for a lighter, solid shade of blue, green or gray.  Dark colors are poor as they attract the heat, of course, and the idea is to stay cool. Upside is they work well when it starts to rain, ☔️ make the investment.

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So steps…their buildings are tall and mostly likely will not have an elevator. Our dorm is on the third floor. Both of our classes are on the third floor of two different buildings. You will be walking from building to dorm to food to store, everywhere, in the heat. Dress cool, drink lots of water and bring your umbrella.

Laundry

You do not have a washer in your dorm as promised. We did find a laundry room in the building next to us.

IMG_0805These machines are small so don’t allow for a big load.

IMG_0807Of the three washing machines (on the right, the other two are dryers) only one was coin operated. The others use money from your WeChat wallet which we did not have access to. Sometimes you can find another student and give them money to purchase the wash using their WeChat so you can do more than one load. The dryers are free but don’t really work. They are warm wet when finished so they don’t dry as stiffly is about the only reason to use them.  Most people just line dry on their balcony.  This is common:

IMG_0802However for this you will need hangars and clothes pins which you will need to bring or buy when you get soap.

Missing things in our dorm

We were told we would have towels and bedding when we arrived. We had bedding but no towels. This was our mattress:

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But the bedding was very nice as was the pillow.

We had all been traveling for 20 hours and when we arrived it was 90 degrees and all we wanted to do was shower and sleep. Since we had no towels we had to dry off with our t-shirts. This would not have been an issue had we simply been told to bring our own towels.  We also needed to buy hand towels for drying off after restroom washing or dish washing.

We didn’t have any mirrors, not a one.

We have a very limited supply of plug-ins.

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As you can see they will take the American style of two flat prong or European style of two round prong in the top section.  European style used in China:

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You will still need adapters and converters. Your laptop probably has a three prong for which you will need an adapter.  Here is what I used:

We just don’t have enough for 5 people’s cell phones, laptops, cameras, blow dryers and possibly iPads or Kindles.  The best thing I brought with was an extension cord. We still had to buy a power strip since each plug-in only has one we could use. The strip purchased here allowed us to use the different three prong on the bottom. They are inexpensive here and easy to find so purchasing more was easy. If you are here for a short period it may be easier to order it and bring from home.

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You will need a power converter(not adapter) for heating devices such as blow dryers and curling irons. They will still work weird, but they do work and the 220v from the wall won’t damage them as they are only built for 110.

As mentioned previously you will need to buy your own toilet paper as well as any cleaning supplies and sponges you will need besides a mop.