Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Party Ain't Over Yet

Today I was hoping to take visitors to Maison Boulud for brunch and then wander Tiananmen Square and then go to the Forbidden City.

However, when we got to Qianmen Station, there were hordes of people getting out and even security checks outside the subway station even though we already had our bags checked through an X-ray machine earlier.

It turns out that the floats from the 60th anniversary parade were standing in the square and today was the last day people could have their pictures taken with them and perhaps relive the moment of pride they felt on October 1 when watching it on TV.

As a result, thousands of people -- perhaps tens of thousands -- swarmed the square, even if it meant fighting the crowds. To them it wasn't a nuisance, but just the reality of the situation and patiently waited to get in. Even though the National Day holiday is over, security was still kind of tight, and if they saw ethnic minorities, they would ask them where they were going and pull them aside...

When we got to the restaurant, we were able to escape the crowds, but this was only temporary, because after lunch, there were even more people in the area.

We tried to get back to the same subway exit that we came out of, which mean joining many other people following a prescribed route set out by the police. However, when we finally reached the area, we were not allowed to go into that particular subway exit, but would have to go all the way around to where we were before and then go another way to another subway exit that had tons of people lining up just to get in.

Then we tried to get a bus, but by the time we got to the bus stop near Qianmen Street, that would mean lining up with tons of other people as well.

In the end we gave up and walked along Qianmen Street, which was also filled with people. The long shopping strip is now fully occupied with stores and the red lanterns hanging created a lively atmosphere. Even the trams were working, running slowly up and down the area.

It was also a good way to walk off our delicious lunch so that we could eat Peking duck at Da Dong later in the evening...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

may be this is a good way to generate nationalism- a common national purpose especially during the recent separatist movement in tibet.