Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Last Thursday I had a ticket to go see violinist Pinchas Zukerman perform at the Forbidden City Concert Hall next to the imperial palace, and across from Tiananmen Square.
I had spoken to the Israeli-born musician before and he told me about his love of sushi. So naturally I was keen to watch him perform.
China observed three days of national mourning for the earthquake victims from Monday to Wednesday so I thought the concert would go ahead the following day.
But I got a call Thursday morning from the ticket company telling me the concert was cancelled due to the earthquake. I got no further explanation except that I had to go all the way to the venue and not the ticket company's office, to get a refund. And I had to do this anytime between 9am and 5:30pm up until May 26. Which meant I could only do it on the weekend.
That meant schlepping from my place to the subway station, getting off at Tiananmen Square West station, and going through the Dr Sun Yat-sen Garden to the concert hall box office to get my 380RMB ($54.68) back.
And Saturday was really hot and humid. I forgot to bring my umbrella to create an instant shade so I was hot and sweaty by the time I made it to the box office.
The staff looked at my ticket, had to match it with the exact seat in a series of printouts before heading to the back room to get my money. Just as she disappeared, she jokingly called out to her colleagues, "See you later," which probably meant, "this is going to take a while".
And several minutes later, she finally returned with the exact amount.
But on the way back to the subway station I stopped to admire the straight-edged floral designs gardeners had made along the sidewalk. Neat, precise rows of colour from red to pink, purple, green and yellow were visually arresting.
The flowers are planted, or rather packed so closely together, one has to wonder if their roots have enough wiggle room down below.
Hope the flowers stay alive until August...