Hey guys, as I write this I am attempting to set up something called a VPN, or virtual private network, that will allow me full access to the internet here in China. Every internet connection has something called an IP address, which is essentially a zip code for your computer. If you’ve ever wondered how online advertisements know where you live, this is how. A VPN is used for many things, but a lot of expats in China use it to bypass what is known as the Great Firewall of China. Essentially what it does is mask the IP address of any given user, making it look like that user is actually somewhere else. In my case it will be San Francisco I believe.
I’m sure most of you have heard about Google’s dispute with the PRC about censorship on the web. In the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with a series of issues with the Great Firewall of China. First I discovered that over night the Warren Wilson College page was blocked, making it difficult for me to access my email. Secondly wordpress.com was blocked. I know it’s been blocked because I’ve been using a website that bypasses some of the blocks, but unfortunately it’s rather unsafe and some of the functions don’t work well, so I decided to pay the ten bucks a month and set myself up with a VPN. (Just so everyone knows, if all this sounds like gibberish to you, I was in the same but a few weeks ago.) Anyways, I came across a good article that details,mostly in plain English, exactly how the firewall works. Check it out by going to this website: http://www.lostlaowai.com/blog/general/great-firewall-of-china-explained/

I’d hoped to put up some pictures I took while riding around Liaocheng on my bike yesterday, but it looks like that function isn’t working properly, pictures will just have to wait until I get the VPN up and running. Hope everyone is well!