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bartist
Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:10 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6850 Location: Black Hills
I think everyone understands the cultural differences are ingrained. And there is little doubt that dictatorships achieve law and order, pandemic control, and a whole array of efficiencies. To argue against dictatorship and repression is hardly equivalent to an argument that America is perfect or a model of liberal democracy. I think there's a Churchill remark that's relevant (and you heard many times at Elba). I would gladly sacrifice some safety and efficiency to have the freedom to criticize the flawed government I live under. And know I won't likely be carted off to a "reeducation center." That's why I don't mind the Fuck Joe Biden signs that are seen in some yards in this region. That's a freedom that matters. I hope China doesn't induce you to forget that.

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bartist
Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2022 8:22 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6850 Location: Black Hills
Looks like the site had a DDOS attack. Wow, tens of thousands of new members added overnight. Guess I should only say nice and morally uplifting things about China. Gotta boost my moral rating on the Social Credit system.

I LOVE BIG BROTHER.

I LOVE BIG BROTHER.

I LOVE BIG BROTHER.

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bartist
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2022 8:57 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6850 Location: Black Hills
From today's Post...

President Xi Jinping had hinted at more flexibility to Chinaís approach when an outbreak slammed into Hong Kong last month, in order not to strangle the economy. But reports from Shanghai say that a rigid zero-tolerance strategy is being employed on the ground, with workers in hazmat suits checking every resident in every building and residents forbidden even to go into corridors or on balconies. Still, the virus is spreading. ďThe situation is extremely grim,Ē said the official leading the city response.

In most of the rest of the world, such strict lockdowns were tried at first, then discarded for strategies to mitigate spread, including masks and vaccine protection, allowing more of a return to normal.

But Shanghai looks like a powder keg for China, where the party-state justifies its rule by casting itself as guardian of the peopleís health and welfare. Shanghaiís residents are growing desperate. People are complaining on social media that they are unable to get food and water delivered. When some began shouting protests out their windows, demanding supplies in one Shanghai neighborhood, a drone flew by and warned them to stop, and to please ďcontrol the soulís desire for freedom.Ē


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/06/china-zero-covid-strategy-fails-shanghai/

No-paywall version...

https://archive.ph/YUyAB

I have no idea if this is helpful, and if anyone objects to current affairs in the Lobby, I am open to leaving this here and moving on.

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gromit
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2022 11:07 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8977 Location: Shanghai
Quote:
and residents forbidden even to go into corridors or on balconies.


I haven't heard of anyone not being permitted on their own balcony, though wouldn't surprise me for people who test positive.

There's a whole lot of variation, which that article seems to elide. Most practical decisions are being handled at the local neighborhood level. Mostly it depends if there have been positives in or around your apartment, building, compound. Areas are classified as high-, medium-, low-risk. Which determines the strictness and testing regime.

Admittedly my somewhat isolated house is somewhat exceptional, but the 18 or so people in this old house have been largely left alone. We can wander around at will within the house and garden walls, use our largish garden (they've been playing badminton every day) -- no one here even bothers with a mask. I can also open the street gate and walk out on the sidewalk and look around, curb the garbage, place food down for the outdoor cats at the next gate. Definitely a more relaxed and freer lockdown than most in SH.

We've been tested twice nucleically and have been given plenty of home test kits. Over the 6 days of lockdown, we were each given sizable amounts of free gov't issued groceries. 2 dozen eggs, large bag of frozen shrimp, 3 cabbages, 5 potatoes, equal amount of onions. I don't eat eggs or shrimp, and cabbage tends to make me hungry, but the gesture was nice. They also gave us two boxes of some Chinese anti-flu medication. I'm skeptical but might research it and could end up trying it (kind of unlikely as I rarely take medicine).

I know at least 3 people on my street who tested positive on the rapid antigen test (RAT), and are in a kind of limbo as to whether they will be sent to quarantine or not. A big issue is what to do about pets, so folks are scrambling to get a driver to take their pets to boarding facilities. And find someone to take their pet to their main gate and make a handover.

The whole lockdown and citywide testing was implemented on fairly short notice. I feel bad for the people in East SH, who didn't have notice or time to stock up. And have had their lockdown extended as that has been one of the primary epicenters. And they've been restricted to inside their apartments. Central SH had 4 days to stock up. I loaded up and should be good for another 5-7 days if need be, but now wish I had super-stocked up.

The gov't has had to do this massive quarantine project urgently without much time to plan and prepare. They just realized that some young kids are testing positive, and after a day or two of confusion decided that negative parents can go to the quarantine center with their positive kids.
So far, there's no official policy regarding pets.

The number of positives has overwhelmed the system, and the quarantine centers are filling up, plus there isn't enough ambulance transport, etc. So while the official policy is to take all positives to central quarantine, for now the de facto practice is to allow people to quarantine at home. How things are heading: if people are at home long enough, they will no longer be positive and transmission chains will be broken. Though in multi-person households, the infectious period of the household can be significantly extended if the virus is passed along in a chain. You need to have 2 nucleic acid negatives within a 72 hour period in order to be cleared.

A big problem is all the uncertainty. How long will the lockdown last? When can you get food and supplies delivered? (some moped deliveries are trickling through). Will you get sent to quarantine (and when?) if you test positive? What will happen to your pets while you're gone for a week or two?

My house seems to be certified virus free and considered low-risk (as of now). So we've had a very mild lockdown.

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Befade
Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2022 1:41 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 3770 Location: AZ
I thought I posted something yesterday. Donít see it. Thanking you for your Turkey info, Gromit. I wish I could travel the way you do. Usually I go with a tour group. Donít have travel companions. But a lot of times Iíll leave the group to explore something Iím really interested in and that works out. With Istanbul Iím looking forward to sailing down the Bosporus. I think one of our hotels is right on the water. And seeing rugs. And eating. And the architecture. I was stunned by the Muslim architecture in India.

Iíve seen the movie about the cats in the city. And just one about the dogs that bothered me. Something about how they don't have shelters and itís illegal to rescue a dog off the street. I think I once mentioned that I get travel ideas from books. One by Orhan Pamuk really inspired me. Iíd like to,see the museum he created to reflect the story in the book. Right now Iím reading a book by the most well known Turkish woman author: Elif Shafak.

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Befade
Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2022 3:08 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 3770 Location: AZ
GromitÖÖStill in lockdown? Why is Shanghai worse than other cities for COVID? And when you were in Istanbul did you hear or see anything oh whirling dervishes? I read that they perform there.

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gromit
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:14 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8977 Location: Shanghai
Yeah, the dervishes are still a genuine religious tradition. Sufism I believe.
And part of the tourist infrastructure. We watched one dervish performance on an outdoor stage at an upscale bar/restaurant in Istanbul, just for a few minutes from the street. We didn't have time to stop but it looked nice. It was late and we was tired.

We did attend a dervish performance in a converted church in Nicosia, Cyprus. You just walk down the main street, show your passport at a checkpoint and boom you've walked into Northern Cyprus and everything is Turkish. The two young guys who did all the whirling each had somewhat different styles and with the music and the nice old building, it was pretty entrancing. Afterwards I chatted to the one young guy and he said it took him about 6 months to become accustomed to it, and another 6 months to be proficient. So I'd rec a dervish performance.

We hit a museum of mosaics. Which was reasonably interesting. There is a rug museum in Istanbul which we didn't get to. (we also missed the National Carpet Museum in Baku Azerbaijan, though we did see the building shaped like a a carpet. The day we had time to go, it was closed. It's a relatively major attraction in Baku, along with the mud volcanoes ...

Btw, Nicosia is one of two divided cities in Europe. Bonus points if you can name the other.


Last edited by gromit on Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:25 am; edited 1 time in total

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gromit
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:19 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8977 Location: Shanghai
I would suggest you go on your own and arrange some hosts and guides. Just find an airbnb or private rental where the owner can act as a host and show you around some. Then arrange a guide for a few other days. Either the rental owner can find you an Istanbul guide or you can locate one on these interwebs. Chat with them in advance, see customer reviews, and have a local show you the city for 4 or 5 days. You will end up seeing more, eating better, meeting more people and having a better experience than some generic tour (which is as slow as the slowest person, but often too fast). Tell 'em Gromit sent you!

I don't know how long you have. But if your rental owner can host you for 2 days or so. Take a boat cruise on your own Day 3. Get the rental host to pass you off to a social friend who can show you around another two days. Take a day off to wander for yourself. Then have a professional guide show you around another 3 days or so. Experience the city like a local. It's a big city with a bunch of distinct sections, lots to do, lots of tourist sites, good restaurants, etc.


Last edited by gromit on Mon Apr 11, 2022 5:16 am; edited 1 time in total

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gromit
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:39 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8977 Location: Shanghai
As for Shanghai, the virus just spread mostly among asymptomatic cases, and the gov't couldn't trace everyone and head it off. The past couple months a few other Chinese cities have locked down when they got hit. Jilin in the northeast was the big outbreak until it hit Shanghai. SH is like NYC, lotta domestic visitors. With outbreaks in other parts of China, not surprised SH got hit too.
An invisible enemy is not easy to fight. And Omicron reportedly is easily transmissible.

I'm surprised Beijing has remained largely unscathed. Not sure how strict their measures are. I'd assume you need to be wearing a mask, get a quick digital temp check and show a green health code to be able to go into most buildings and shops. Don't know if restaurants and bars are open there.

The main problem I have is the uncertainty. How long will the lockdown last? When will I get a delivery of essentials -- water and cat litter? Will my cats be safe if I'm hauled away to CV camp?

One positive is I took in a 5 weeks old kitten from a couple who tested positive and are in limbo whether/when they will be removed to central quarantine. So an extra fun little furry friend to bite the hell out of my fingers .

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Syd
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 9:20 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12772 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
gromit wrote:
We drove from Istanbul to Cannakale (not pronounced however you are pronouncing it). Chuh-neck-uh-lee. Down towards Izmir and then looped back taking a ferry across the Sea of Marmara., past Ocalan's island prison.
Just last week they opened a new bridge across the Dardenelles, the world's longest suspension bridge, somewhere near Cannakale. Only the 4 Turkish bridge linking the Euro and Asian sides, with the other 3 in Istanbul.


I love suspension bridges (bridges in general, really). This one is a wonder.

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Syd
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 9:28 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12772 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Befade wrote:

Iíve seen the movie about the cats in the city. And just one about the dogs that bothered me. Something about how they don't have shelters and itís illegal to rescue a dog off the street. I think I once mentioned that I get travel ideas from books. One by Orhan Pamuk really inspired me. Iíd like to,see the museum he created to reflect the story in the book. Right now Iím reading a book by the most well known Turkish woman author: Elif Shafak.


Mohammad was a cat person. Dogs are unclean. Apparently Istanbul took that to heart.

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gromit
Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 6:02 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8977 Location: Shanghai
Georgia has a great system. They rounded up most of the stray dogs, neuter and tagged them, treated them as needed, and then released them. The dogs are all friendly and people walk past random dogs and give them a scritching. The dogs are not afraid of people and are well-adjusted. You can see the yellow plastic ear tag so you know the dog has been vaccinated and can deal with people. Basically the dog population is well-controlled, the dogs healthy and happy and integrated into the community.

And being the Caucasus, these are often are sizable pooches. since I was a wee gromit, I've often had canines take an immediate disliking to me, so I tend not to interact much with dogs, especially Big doggies. But in Georgia you got used to them and they were happy to be pet. We also robin hood a mess of our hotel breakfast buffet to street animals. And it was easy to do in Georgia where the street dogs are nice and people like them.

In contrast, Romania was a disaster, with wild dogs everywhere. Population control seem to involve cars running the dogs over. Even more pronounced as Romania doesn't have a national highway system, so all traffic is on smaller roads. The huge wild dog population was a significant problem which Romanians lamented. Back in 2018, there was talk that Romania would adopt the Georgian system. But they might be too depressed to implement it ...

Otherwise, in Baku Azerbaijan there were cat houses with food and water dotted around the city (well, we just saw two, but there must have been more).


Last edited by gromit on Mon Apr 11, 2022 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total

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bartist
Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 11:37 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6850 Location: Black Hills
Otherwise, in Baku Azerbaijan there were cat houses with food and water dotted around the city (well, we just saw two, but there must have been more).

Snicker.

You make me wish I was more of a traveler. I think we are opposites in this regard. I don't like to fly (believe me, I've tried), and any drive of more than 400 miles leaves me drained and dizzy. And hate sleeping in a strange bed and motels where there is any noise (would have made a terrible Beat generation type). Would probably get used to it, if I were in a refugee situation. And that's probably what it would take to propel me into a major excursion. The spouse, unfortunately, encourages my stick-in-the-mud tendencies. (the last time she traveled out of state, to a city, someone stole her catalytic converter and it cost $1800 to replace it - this is now a huge problem in some parts of the US) But hey, low carbon footprint!

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Befade
Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 8:57 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 3770 Location: AZ
Japan is a cat country with its Cat Cafes. Thus I named my cat Suki.

Gromit Iím thrilled you were able to see dervishes. I will opt for that. Iím reading a book about Rumi and the lives of the Sufi derviches. Makes me appreciate Islam.

I like the tour group I went with to India. I was uneasy about going there and the group made me feel very safe and well taken care of. I enjoy the people who travel with that group. Thus I think Iíd be uneasy about going to Turkey on my own. Iíd definitely go back to Helsinki by myself. In fact Iíd love to live there. Another thing about tour groups: I like traveling by bus and seeing all the surroundings. In Iceland you really want to see the landscape. One other thing a tour group handles is flights to other cities. Turkey will feature other areas besides Istanbul.

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gromit
Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2022 4:57 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8977 Location: Shanghai
I lived in a suburb of Tokyo one Summer. I can't recall seeing any cats.

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