The Far West China blogger takes a trip outside Xinjiang to reinitiate contact with the outside world:
Xinjiang is still under complete blackout and there is no end in sight. As a result, my knowledge of world events has vanished and my sanity has suffered primarily due to the fact that we are the only westerners in our city and I can’t contact my friends at home.
[…] Life here in Xinjiang has resumed its normal pace but now a new element has been added just for fun: the life-threatening rumor. It seems like every week we have to determine how to handle each new rumor, including both those which are verifiable (needles, H1N1, etc.) and those which are not (“something’s going to happen tomorrow, I hear” or “nobody is allowed to leave the city for the next week”). Nobody knows what to believe, which means that most people are forced to accept everything they hear as fact and are becoming quite paranoid.
Contrary to local conventional wisdom, I have refused to become too fearful, taking a few motorcycle trips around the province and not wearing a face mask to protect myself from the crazy flu. I also left the province during this October holiday, another risk I was advised against (“You’ll be quarantined when you get back for one full week!”), which is how I am typing this message right now. I’m in a hotel room not even 50km from the Xinjiang border, soaking in the internet like it’s a miracle from heaven.