Saturday, September 19, 2009

China Moments

On Friday, as I was driving to work, I passed the construction site for the new metro line, which is conveniently located right down the street from my house. And by “conveniently,” I really mean “whose crazy idea was this, anyway?” Because the neighborhood is one crazy mix of migrant workers, piles of dirt, new cement overpasses and frazzled expats, all dodging the bikes and running the stoplights (the expats are dodging and running, that is – of course a cement overpass can’t run a stoplight. Sheesh).

I was stuck at the light watching these fellows struggle to move a wagon load of steel across the street. I took a picture with my phone. Of course, they noticed, and they slowed down to check me out – I suppose I looked as strange to them as they did to me. They hammed it up a bit as they crossed. They were actually struggling to get this massive wagon underway, but once it started rolling, a couple of the guys hopped up for a ride. And by the way – the sky? Yes, that’s just the color it is most days. It wasn’t raining – it was just… sort of dusting, I guess.





Awhile later, I passed another strange vehicle, but I couldn’t get a picture of it because I was in a precarious traffic situation. It was a 3-wheeled motorcycle, with two huge rafting inner tubes tied to the back, and some sort of homemade net, the size of a tennis racket, attached to the top of the tubes. I wish I’d been able to get out my camera. It really was bizarre.

On the way home, traffic was a nightmare. The whole city is getting ready for the big October 1st parade to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of Communist China. Tanks! Weapons! Soldiers goosestepping! You’ll undoubtedly see it all on TV over there, and I highly recommend you watch it. It should prove to be quite the show. Because they’re periodically shutting down whole sections of the city to rehearse. If you live on the parade route (we don’t), you’re not allowed to open your windows or go out on your balcony during rehearsals. And you’re not allowed to invite guests to watch the actual show either. And since the streets will all be shut down, there’ll be no way to get there. So you might see more of it then me, despite the fact that I live here.

But I digress. On the way home, traffic was terrible, because there was a convoy of soldiers travelling the other way down the expressway, and everyone was slowing down to catch a glimpse. I looked, too. Bus after bus of soldiers dressed in their fanciest duds, heading in to rehearse, I suppose.

Traffic was so slow that I almost didn’t make it to Shay’s cross country meet. He placed in 3rd out of all the 4th grade boys. Type A that he is, he wasn’t happy with “only” 3rd place.



And, even though this entry doesn’t really have a beginning or a middle yet, here’s something it does have: an end.

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