T - 4: Monday - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

May 23, 2022

T - 4: Monday

Custom phone case made using a photo from the posted rules next to the gate of the 1960s era Reeducation Through Labor Camp I stumbled across in rural Shaanxi
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The vast majority of today's time was spent on either tweaking my new phone (a Xiaomi 11 Ultra) or removing content from my old phone (a OnePlus 8). I'm not exactly what you call "thrilled" with the idea of replacing an—admittedly secondhand—flagship phone after only a bit over a year of using it, but the cameras on the waterproof Ultra are substantially better and I found a friend who was willing to buy my old phone at a thirdhand price that makes the cost of my upgrade less cringe.

My specific reason for choosing the Ultra is a miniature screen on the back of the phone that's used for notifications and as a viewfinder when taking group photos of yourself and friends using the rear camera. As this particular function turns out not to be natively supported with video¹, and the native support method keeps disappearing from my menu options², this wasn't the greatest reason to be swapping phones.

Qingbuliang 清补凉 is a Hainanese dessert made with coconut milk and stuff
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The 512gb that I wasn't able to find in secondhand after the first one I looked at turned out to be stolen, the problems with the Play Store, and all the other frustrating parts of setting up a new phone also made me rather unhappy about my decision.

However, the old phone's wide angle had always sucked in terms of quality and something apparently software related was making the zoom misbehave so—given how important taking and sharing photos and videos that I will probably never get around to putting in this journal now is—I was willing to put up with it. 

This is handheld, no flash
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In the evening, I continued the process of testing out one of my pairs of new shoes by walking farther than across a room, and went over to a media friend's bar in the hopes of discussing in more detail the plans he has that involve my becoming a published author in Chinese. 

Hopefully, this won't be affected too much by one of his colleagues going ballistic³ over my initially refusing to rise to the bait of repeated "I'm going to force the foreigner to chat with me about sensitive topics"; my eventually being goaded into saying (quite truthfully) that  "5,000 years of unbroken history is a childish fairy-tale that fails to take into account any of the things China actually has a right to be proud of"; and my unwisely stating how it ought to be embarrassing to this country that so many people blindly worship so-called facts, and refuse to either accept that history is a multifaceted topic or that people of different backgrounds may have conflicting opinions (and that these conflicts do not invalidate your own experiences).

Quite possibly my last round of "Marian-style" Fried Noodles from my corner shop
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¹ There's a method using a program called Mirror2RearUltra.

² The lack of this option on the first phone I got is how I ended up taking it to the Xiaomi store and discovering it was a stolen phone. The two (documentably clean) phones I looked at while handling the return of that phone also didn't have it, but Xiaomi reset the Operating System for me as its disappearance was apparently caused by a Factory Reset related glitch. However, by the time I finished getting most of my programs on the new phone, it had disappeared again.

³ We're talking chair throwing and wanting to call the police at 1am all because he felt I had insulted the nation's sovereignty.

Today's ride: 25 km (16 miles)
Total: 35 km (22 miles)

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Lorenzo JaryOh China, so fascinating, so frustrating... In the risk of sounding hopelessly prejudiced, do you find many people that have more of an open or critical mind than the chair throwing guy?
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1 month ago
Marian RosenbergTo Lorenzo JaryMost people don't keep pushing on topics that they know I'm going to have a different opinion on after I've said we shouldn't have this discussion.

The most anti-Party rhetoric people I know are senior Party members; the ones likely to say things (privately, to me) about China's behavior being an embarrassment are senior officials.

I knew, even before it came out, that the author of last year's book was someone important on the grounds that he was publicly writing that the June 4 Incident was a horrible tragedy caused by an over reaction by the government...... and this book was being translated by a central government publishing house.
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1 month ago
Lorenzo JaryTo Marian RosenbergThanks - very interesting! I'm no expert but like learning little bits and pieces about China. Hopefully tourists will be let back in unmolested at some point...!
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1 month ago