Twenty three hours after I got up in Chicago, I drag into one of the nicest hotels in Shanghai and think, Back home! Fire up the computer to say hello to my family and find.... there are all sorts of sites I can't reach and links that give time-out errors. Something wrong my computer or with the connection in this posh hotel??
And then I realize, with a Doh-style slap of the forehead, of course! You can bring a gala World Expo to Shanghai, but you still can't bring the "real" Internet, not even to a top-end venue like this. Will re-up my Witopia "personal VPN" subscription (which I had innocently let lapse on moving out of China) after I've slept and am conscious enough to enter the right credit card info. I guess I really have been gone for a while, or am really tired, to make this rookie mistake.
James Fallows is a staff writer for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which has been a New York Times best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.