Sunday, January 14, 2007

At the cybercafe in Haikou

(11 Nov 2006, Hainan)

After the dinner at my cousin's place-of-residence, my parents and I headed for the hotel. As the night was relatively young, after a shower, I headed for the cybercafe located within the premises of the hotel.

I had realised that there was a cybercafe in the hotel when I read a piece of advertisement at the hotel's lobby earlier that day. My fingers were "itching" to type and to surf the internet, so I was more than pleased that there was a cybercafe just within the hotel's premises, on the third level.

When I reached the cybercafe, I realised that there wasn't a cafe so as to speak. The cybercafe was more like a simple shop with a number of personal computers with broadband connections. There was no available personal computer for my use when I was there, and I was told that I had to wait at least 20 minutes. The next nearest cybercafe, I was told, would be at least 15 minutes walk away from the hotel.

While waiting, I noticed that most of the users were using the personal computers to play online games (I realised much later that one of these games was called Audition. Headphone was available to the users. I also realised that most of the personal computers in the cybercafe had a webcam each, and there were a few adults who were using the webcam to engage in online discussions.

Finally, there was a personal computer available. I can't remember how much the charges were, but it should be lesss than 10 RMB per hour (5 RMB is approximately equivalent to S$1).

I started trying to find if there was any MSN software, but there was none. I tried to gain access to Web Messenger, but could only log onto MSN using ebuddy. It felt good to be connected.

Having not blogged for the past two days (I was in the village), my next inclination was to check out my favourite blogs. However, I realised that I could not access all the Blogger blogs. That meant that I cannot update my blog, and that I cannot read many of my favourite blogs. I wonder if there has been some restrictions in that part of China that restricts the access to Blogger blogs. I have had heard from some of my friends in China that they could not access my Blogger blog from China. What could the folks there in China be missing out on? I have no idea.

Anyway, I was at least consoled that I could gain access to and, and I started spending my time reading whatever familiar sites I could gain access.

Sometime shortly, a young lady sat at the station just next to mine. I didn't mind her presence but I greatly mind the smoke from her cigarettes. I tried to bear with it for a while since the smoke wasn't directly blowing in my direction. However, much later, the smoke started heading my direction, and it became unbearable. Since I can't access many of my preferred sites, and the smell of the cigarette smoke was too much for me to bear, I decided to excuse myself from the MSN chat sessions that I had, stopped everything else, and end my session at the cybercafe.

While leaving the cybercafe, I thought to myself, I am very glad that in Singapore, smoking is prohibited in air-conditioned places, and many of the public areas. Such prohibitions make life much bearable for non-smokers like myself. I don't mind smokers smoking if they were to smoke at places that would not subject non-smokers to their cigarette smoke. I think the smoking restriction in Singapore is one of my favourite regulations by far.

Having said so much, I just want to remind all readers that if you do visit a cybercafe in Haikou, China, in the near future, do keep your expectations low. No doubt, the rates are fairly reasonable,. However, unless you simply want to play online games, please be prepared that your access to many of your favourite websites may be restricted. Oh yes, maybe it would be good to wear a mask too. There seems to be too much smoke around.

1 comment:

eastcoastlife said...

Right, not only the smoke from the cigarettes, there's the foul language as well!

When I was in a cybercafe in Fushun, not only do I have to endure the air pollution, I had to tolerate the 'crude greetings of other people's mothers' (vulgar language) all the time!!!