Travelling to China - what to do without Facebook?

(16 Posts)
Zorayda Mon 28-Jan-13 20:22:44

I'm travelling to China in March for business and would normally keep in touch with DH using Facebook Chat, but as FB is blocked in China that's a no go. I'll obviously email, but it would be nice to have sametime conversations (when the 8 hour time difference allows). Can anyone recommend an alternative that isn't blocked? My new job includes quite a lot of travel in Russia and Central Asia, so something that works across the board would be ace.

Any other tips for the trip would be amazing - I'm going to be visiting Shanghai and Beijing. Although I spent nearly two decades growing up in HK, this is my first visit to China, so although it won't be a total culture shock I'm still expecting it to be pretty different.

Thank you!

galaxydad Mon 28-Jan-13 20:49:30

Skype sounds like your best bet.
I don't think that's blocked.

Zorayda Mon 28-Jan-13 20:59:40

Awesome. I'll check to see if my work laptop has a camera - my home one does so DH could use that. Can I just pick up a pair of cheap plug and play mikes from somewhere?

Zorayda Mon 28-Jan-13 20:59:59

Oh, and thank you!

Missymoomum Tue 29-Jan-13 07:11:10

I'm in China and agree that Skype would be the best and it does work over here although be warned, internet speed is not always great particularly when you try to access foreign websites but it will work, ou just somethines need to turn the camera off!! You can also get Facebook, you'll just need to use a vpn which if you google it before you leave and set it up before you leave, you will find loads. The bonus with one of these is that if you get a UK based one, then things like the BBC iplayer will work so wherever you go in the world you'll be able to keep up to date with tv programmes! Great for those quiet evenings stuck in a hotel room!

galaxydad Tue 29-Jan-13 07:39:12

No worries Zorayda smile
Re the microphone, if your laptop doesn't have a cam you can pick up a cheap headset and cam package that just plugs in to your USB sockets on the laptop but you should be able to get just the headset easy enough from most department stores electronics and computing sections.

Zorayda Tue 29-Jan-13 18:36:52

That's amazing! grin Will put DH onto the VPN project straight away; like the idea of having iPlayer smile Thinking about it, we hold Skype interviews for applicants (in fact we'll be doing some while we're there, but I think we're using local facilities) so our IT department might be able to loan me out a headset and cam package on a loaner when I travel, and then just buy a headset package for DH.

Thanks to both of you, that's way better than an alternative chat service. smile

(Missymoomum, can I ask where in China? Just being nosy really! Is it worth planning to pick up a face mask because of the pollution?)

Shanghaidiva Thu 31-Jan-13 00:01:20

I live in China and facemask is a waste of time - unless you have a cold and don't want to pass the germs onto others ;)

kf1979 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:06:01

Second a VPN. We lived in Shanghai for 18 months and I would have gone crazy without it!
Re. tips - check out City Weekend, Shanghai Mamas and That's Shanghai for loads of great eating, drinking and going out ideas.

Zorayda Thu 31-Jan-13 19:07:44

Thank you all! Getting really excited now grin

Missymoomum Fri 01-Feb-13 06:04:20

I'm in Beijing. I agree with Shanghadiva, the face masks are a complete waste of time,the best prevention is not to be here, if only that would happen hmm !!! On a positive note, the air is good here today and we actually have blue skies and sunshine - yay!! Like Shanghai, there's lots of freebee magazines like City Weekend and Time Out Beijing that great suggestions for eating out etc. There are loads of fab restaurants here.

alexrider Fri 01-Feb-13 06:08:02

Try iPortal for your VPN, you have to pay for it (but only 5 euros a month), but it's excellent, has excellent customer support and no porn pop ups like you get with free ones.

Astelia Fri 01-Feb-13 11:33:12

We use expat network, great support and works very well but GBP5 per month per machine so quite expensive if running on more than one machine.

Zorayda Sat 02-Feb-13 10:55:08

Brilliant; thanks all. Can you get monthly subscriptions or would I need to pay for an annual prescription? Just using the one machine, so that keeps it more affordable smile Will skip the face mask (but have put it in the risk assessment!)

aliciaflorrick Sat 02-Feb-13 11:46:13

The iPortal is payable monthly and can be used on several machines but not at the same time.

Zorayda Sat 02-Feb-13 17:10:58

Thank you. Have just seen that I wrote prescription instead of subscription... obviously my subconscious is pretty sure I should make sure I let the pharmacist know I'll be travelling and need additional meds just in case (because you know for sure that if I forget there'll be another volcanic ash cloud grounding all flights and I'll be trying to find someone who can prescribe Betamousse and Eumovate without medical notes!)

Looking forward to the point where all this is de rigeur, but sure I'll miss the new/shiny/excited buzz I have at the moment once this is a regular thing!

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