happy national day, motherland!


(Thanks to a surprisingly efficient Chinese government censorship team, I’ve thrown in the towel. You win this time China. So, I’m forced to resort to blogging via email. A feature I’ve never used before and so bear with me as I try to get this to work. I’ve but only one shot at these posts, so… you’ve been warned!)

Just got back from China’s longest holiday of the year, the Golden Week. What I did during then is for another post; this one’s for the week running up to it.

This week was kicked off by China’s highly-patriotic National Day on October 1st. On or around this date, nearly every (!!!) Chinese person hops on a bus, train, plane, bicycle, friend’s bicycle to head to their homes to watch the National Day parade and festivities on TV. Only the hopefuls/thrill-seekers/idiots/me try to actually see it in person – which never happened, btw.

WaiGuoRen (foreigners) were constantly warned to stay away from the festivities. Security was at an all time high, especially this year, as a multiple of 10 years. Having heard that police had set-up a 5-mile no-go zone around the parade path, I opted to stay in the comfort of my hard, messed-up spring bed. Plus, I slept through my alarm.

But, boy, was it a sight to see on TV, while also being the ONLY thing on the government controlled channels. Countless blogs have covered the actual parade and it serves no purpose to describe it 10 days after the fact. In short, hundreds of thousands of personnel involved. However, my favourite quote from WSJ’s live blog deserves a little more recognition:
10:45 a.m.: Now come female troops, heavily made up. Wow, PLA girls in mini-skirts! Hu smiles and claps. Wonder what force that is? The karaoke troops? –Ian Johnson

(Pic 1 is here)
(Snagged from http://www.allstatedaily.com/)

Yup… I concur. Scary or hot? Both.

So, here’s what I saw in the days prior.

About two weeks ago, TianAnMen Square was closed and set-up for the biggest celebration since… who knows when. Bleachers were set-up for maybe a few hundred people and traffic was completely stopped. Note the fog that day and compare it to the picture above. On D-Day, it was blazingly sunny. Thought nothing of it at the time, but later found out that it was no coincidence.

Thanks to some nifty chemicals sprayed the day before, National Day was the sunniest day I’ve seen in Beijing since I arrived. Apparently, they tried the same thing during the 2008 Olympics, but have refined the technique quite a bit since then…

img 1047

(Pic 2 is here)

Back on campus, almost daily practices were held for the students participating. About 1,000 students were selected to represent our school in the parade. Quite a sight!

img 1036

(Pic 3 is here)

Not really related, but here’s a little tribute to my other home. Sort of. Which, by the way, probably tipped this post from passable to blocked.

img 1052

(Pic 4 is here)

Happy birthday China! 生日快了!


6 Responses to “happy national day, motherland!”

  1. 1 Eloise

    omg the Oba Mao trinkets!! if you spot any others could you snag me one?

  2. 2 Pauline

    I want an Oba MAO souvenir, too!! How about a grocery tote bag or anything, anything????
    No wonder the wai guo ren think that Chinese all look alike… they do when selected out for same height, same features, same make up etc. Awesome red parade.
    Can you make out the regional Beijing-, Shanghai-, ChengDu-look yet? Look out for it, it’s there.

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