Tuesday, March 06, 2007
my experience with the chinese internet cafes
I find this article most interesting.
China Bans new internet cafes for a year.
When we were in Shanghai last May I sought out an internet café twice so that I could email my parents my flight plan. Li had never been in one before. Before he met me he had never even played on a computer. We had to ask around for the first one and this young man pointed out this very old abandoned looking dirty building to us. We couldn’t see internet café signs anywhere but went in.
We were told to go to the fourth floor – one look at the elevator told us we were taking the stairs.
The first floor was this scary looking café that looked like it would fail just about all health codes.
The second floor looked like a video store that got closed down and the third was totally bare just very dirty.
The stairs were windy and very dirty. There were foot print marks up and down the walls and the whole place had that feeling like we were walking into a drug dealers den (much like you see on the movies.) In fact it felt like we were in a movie.
Then we reached the fourth floor.
All I can say is WOW!!! We really HAD stepped into a movie.
There was a door that opened us up into a world that you can only read about and see in a movie. It was a complete shock to the system – even Li went “holy shit”.
The windows were all blacked out and there were white flashing Christmas lights strung EVERYWHERE on the walls and the ceiling that had been painted black and neon colours. There were no lamps anywhere except at the front desk. There were rows upon rows of computers and it looked like every single computer had a person at it, their faces lite up by their screens. There must have been at least a hundred computers in there. It looked like there were maybe only two or three girls in there and no one looked up at me the only foreigner.
And it was silent.
Only the occasional whisper to a neighbour
and the tapping of a thousand keys.
It was spooky.
There are rules for a foreigner to use the internet – rules that involve me having to bring my passport with me so the government knows which foreigners are using the cafes. I didn’t have mine with me and we were only going to use it for all of ten minutes so I was signed in under another guys name with his pass code and they never charged us.
We went to another one a few days later that was basically a smaller version of this place but the experience was mind blowing.
Technorati Tags: china internet cafes
Labels: overseas life