Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Anxious Countdown

This is a picture of the CCTV tower this morning just before 10am... if you can see it through the fog.
Beijing meteorologists are probably on edge hoping the skies will clear up in time for the National Day parade in less than 24 hours. Yesterday was also overcast with a sprinkle of rain.
This was a sharp contrast to Monday, which had blue skies and warm temperatures.
Meanwhile on the ground, this morning on the way to work I must have passed by over 10 policemen and women on one block, as I walked from my bus stop to go around the corner to take another bus. Why so many police were necessary to hover at one street corner seemed a tad overboard.
People whose offices are near Chang'an Avenue don't have to work these few days leading up to the big day tomorrow, and now I'm beginning to wonder if I'll be able to get home relatively smoothly after work today. Tomorrow the buses I usually take will be shut down so I will need to take a subway to work instead.

Update at 2pm:
Today at lunchtime only a few people were in the CBD or Central Business District... if I had known I would have gone to have lunch earlier instead of going later, thinking I was avoiding the crowd. None of the restaurants seem to be open tomorrow either which may be a problem for my colleagues and I who will have to eat somehow.

One of my coworkers called Shin Kong Place, a giant mall relatively near us and it will be shut down tomorrow too.

That means brown bagging it tomorrow... and heading to the grocery store to get food. My colleagues cannot remember any previous National Day being such a big deal before, with so many traffic restrictions and shopping malls closing.

Update at 10pm:

I got off work at 7:15pm and got to the bus stop just as the bus was leaving. However, the bus driver completely ignored me and drove off, even though I was banging my hand on the side of the bus and shouting to the bus attendant.

However, the next bus left the terminus at 7:35pm and amazingly I got to the grocery store just before 8pm. Amazing. Traffic was quite light and we hit the green lights.

I stock up on canned food like a refugee and headed home.

When I got to my apartment complex, the doorman told me that I had to have my own door pass to get in. "Oh, so you won't be here?" I asked. He explained he and his cohorts would be opening doors, but we had to show our passes to prove we lived/worked here.

These extra security measures are getting to be too much. But obviously someone from above is putting pressure on everyone to make sure there are no problems and only what happens in Tiananmen Square is the focus of the entire country... and the world.

Today sort of feels like Christmas Eve, everyone rushing home or getting last minute food items because tomorrow everything will be closed.

But in the case of China's National Day this year, everything's shut down and there's no presents to open or relatives to hang out with; instead everyone will be stuck at home watching TV and wishing this was over already.
What kind of celebration is that?

1 comment:

ChopSuey said...

The 60th anniversary is getting some airplay and print space, but not much. Will be interesting to hear what you see as opposed to the coverage we'll see. Have you seen these shots?