The internet was definitely not what we are used to. Both our hotel and the meeting venue provided free wifi, but that didn't always help.
In our hotel, I couldn't reach Google. The browser would spin for a while, trying to connect, then time out. At the meeting venue, I succeeded in connecting to it once (I suspect because that hotel's wifi was set to keep trying longer before timing out), but it took about 20 minutes, and the search I then tried was still spinning 20 minutes after that, when I had to shut down and go to lunch. The Google server I reached was the one in Hong Kong. As already mentioned in "planning ahead," Googles maps of Qingdao are way off, mainly in superimposition of the road map with the aerial view. I wasn't able to check other cities from there, and I haven't taken time to do so since we've been home.
Yahoo!, on the other hand, popped right up, so I was able to do some searches that way.
I never did succeed in connecting to Facebook.
I had no trouble at all with e-mail, but a colleague said she sent a message mentioning the air quality and instantly lost all internet and e-mail access for six hours. David assures me that thousands of people in China earn a little money on a side by monitoring e-mail traffic for key words and phrases and cutting off service to those who use the wrong one. They get a fraction of a yuan per cut-off. When I heard about it, I immediately went back and reviewed the messages I had sent. As it happens, they were all pretty innocuous, so I escaped censure.
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