Often, I think I know China well. However, just as often, it occurs to me that I don't really know what I thought I knew. The visions and experiences collected and stored in my mind while I am awake are gone after I have slept. Reasoning and understanding seem to last only for a few hours before becoming illusory: the images and meanings disappear one by one, stolen from me by apparitions and secreted away, never to be returned in their original form. The understandings that I have assiduously acquired are nothing more than banal when bound together to try and shape the oldest continuous civilization on earth. Experience, learning and proudly possessed knowledge, gained from many sources and from interaction with its people, are taken from everyone who thinks they know China and passed on to others who share them smugly, use them with confidence, reverently broadcast them as Gospel for a few praiseworthy moments. "I know China." Then, time and circumstance mangle them until they are beyond comprehension. These too will be passed on and shared as truth, only to be proved wrong again. The enigma is this: China never changes, but China is always changing. Its people beset by burden, affected with melancholy, inured to bewilderment, and suckled on uninterrupted millennia of incalculable hopelessness and sorrow. "There is chaos under heaven and things could not be better", said Mao Zedong. This is the real truth: "China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese" - Charles De Gaulle. China: don't ask, it is what it is...
How do I get to China? Jet ski! Google Maps joke gives users unorthodox instructions for crossing the Pacific
Who said Google has no sense of humour?
For workers at the search giant have obviously been having a bit of fun playing around with the firm’s Maps application.
Users who ask the search engine for directions for how to get from Japan to China are being given somewhat unusual advice.
Along with detailed - and useful - instructions of which turnings to take and which roads charge tolls, number 43 on the list tells the user to ‘Jet ski across the Pacific Ocean’.
Google Maps' list of instructions of how to get to the China from Japan includes number 43 , circled, which reads 'Jet Ski across the Pacific Ocean
After arriving safely on the Chinese side the somewhat damp tourist is simple advised to ‘continue straight’.
The jet ski instruction is known as an ‘easter egg’ - when something fun or unusual is put into a product that only pops up occasionally in a certain context.
It is not the first time this type of joke has cropped up on Google, a few years ago users reported being told to swim across the Atlantic if they asked for directions from New York to London.
And a few years ago Google inserted a joke so that viewers who zoomed in close to the Moon’s surface found it transformed into a piece of holey cheese.
One of the most famous Google 'easter eggs' was the discovery that a combination of Ctrl + Alt + A in Google Earth took the user into a basic flight simulator that let you fly above the Earth's surface.
It has since become an official part of the programme.