In a strange twist of events today, one of my friends in the student union took special care to warn me and Ryan to be careful when walking around campus for the next week or so. They say we shouldn’t be alarmed and that if we walk in the centre of the roads, and only walk during the peak daylight times, our risk of injury should be greatly reduced. Why all the fuss? I took my camera out to document what has really put a shroud of fear over the student body.
Apparently some kind of rare giant Chinese gopher makes an appearance every few years in the North-Eastern provinces of China. I’m told it’s very strange for such a beast to break the surface in such a densly populated area, but no one is taking any chances. Fact or fiction, there are many stories abound of the giant Chinese gopher taking small children into it’s complex tunnel system never to be heard from again.
It all seems a little far-fetched to me, but it’s hard to go against the cooling feeling of fear that shrouds the campus. At English Corner — a weekly meeting place for students to practice their English speaking and listening skills — I’ve heard many stories about them, but even most students dismissed the stories as fiction until these giant tunnels appeared on campus. Despite all this, my classmates and fellow students seem determined to show they are unafraid of walking around their the school grounds. Perhaps the manditory military training they are required to complete when they begin university gives them the courage. Whatever it is, these students are determinded to show that, around here, it’s just “business as usual”.
An internet outage this morning was initially blamed on the animal chewing through the school’s high-tech underground fibre-optic communication network. I have my own theory. I think it’s much more plausable that one of the ancient servers providing internet access on campus got a blue-screen. My theory may not be correct, but the speed of the internet on campus has been measured as “next-to-useless” by some network experts formerly studying here ruling out the existance of an advanced underground communication network. We know these problems are limited to the school because we’ve seen that internet access at the dorms for foreigners — a new building that is just across the street from the school — does not filter through the school’s main hub and thus can get normal high-speed internet and enable them to use amenities we cannot, such as MSN chat or computer-based phone systems (like Skype) that allow people to make long distance calls home without spending the equivilent of one week’s food budget to make a 1.5 hour long-distance phone call.
In the meantime, I promise to be safe and report to you, my loyal readers, any details and further reports as they become available.