On my short list of “Chinese things I won’t miss”, the Internet is at the top. Many websites are blocked, including Facebook, Twitter (this is why I missed some answers to the “guess where we are going” contest, sorry!), YouTube, every Google service, etc. We connected to the Wi-Fi wherever we could (I brought my laptop) but in Shenyang, we don’t have Internet access at the apartment, so we have to use 网吧 (Internet cafés).
There are many Internet cafés around the train station, mostly for gamers. However, in order to use them, you must show a Chinese ID that is swiped to gain access. Our foreign passports won’t work, not to mention that I don’t exactly want my passport to be swiped in some random place.
We eventually found an Internet café that allows us to use their computers but they are slow and again, we can’t access most of the websites we need.
And on the topic of traffic, I certainly won’t miss the fine art of crossing the road or simply walking on the sidewalk.
Most roads, avenues or streets are fairly wide. In some cities, there are overpasses or underpasses. In Shenyang, you have to pray and run. Technically, there are traffic lights but few drivers respect them. “Green” doesn’t mean “go”; it means “look around and if there are enough pedestrians crossing with you, and if so, the traffic may stop for a second or two for the small determinate and suicidal army”.
When they see a pedestrian, cars don’t slow down; they simply honk and expect you to move out of the way. Motorbikes driving on the sidewalk do the same. And you can’t just go by standard traffic rules, as there could be cars or bikes coming from the opposite direction on a one way street.
Police regulates the traffic at a few selected intersections. There is usually one poor soul dancing in the middle, stuck between buses, cars, motorbikes and other vehicles.
Surprisingly, I haven’t seen many accidents (unlike in Thailand, for instance). There are fender-benders and you can hear people arguing about who was right or wrong from metres away but speed isn’t really an issue, at least in the city.