Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beijing on the 1st October ...

Showing his love for the country? 
I know this is a long overdue post but I have been quite busy eating around Asia and been sick (from the sudden weather change and not from the food of course!) for a little while as well. I am now back and will be posting accordingly to my old schedule! Anyhow, on the 1st Oct 2010, I spent the long weekend in Beijing, the capital of China (PRC) in celebration of its National Day.  I wasn't out of my mind to visit Beijing on its National Day when I KNOW there were CROWDS everywhere, I knew before departure and I wanted to experience that as well. One of the key events was the Flag Rising Ceremony on Tiananmen Square on 1 October, the morning following the night of our arrival.

Just how can they stand so straight?!

After a brief dinner which ended around 12:30am, we make our way to the Tiananmen Square because we wanted to get a good spot perhaps. Guess what? 5 hours in advance were definitely not early enough for the morning flag rising ceremony at 6am!  After passing a few security checks and 30 mins of line up outside the Tiananmen Square, we finally made it to the main area close to the flag pole! It was 01:30am 1st Oct 2010.


People were everywhere, sitting on the ground playing cards, some were napping close to each other due to the CHILLING weather and some just wandered around like we did.


In order to secure a good spot, we stayed put and attempted to secured an area for ourselves to spend the next ... 4.5 hours??? Time = 2:15am!

Waiting for Flag at 2:30am (3 more hrs only?)

Time: 3:30am ... Time : 4:30am ... Time: 5:00am  (we were starting to doze off ... sleepy ... ran out of topics to chat ... zzzz) ... At the moment, I started to doubt and question my decision to come and dragged my friends to come along as well ... We were being pushed constantly, the closer the arrival of morning, the harder people push towards the front. It was really packed! I have to say though, WE WERE LUCKY because the weather was CHILLY (or COLD) so we don't have to spend hours waiting while breathing polluted air aka sweats or stinky sweats! 

While I was dozing off, I slapped myself a few times to wake myself up and took a look around. More people arrived and many of them seemed to be fairly young (relatively of course) in their early / mid twenties perhaps? Do they come for their love towards to Nation or for the sake of being here on this particular day?


At 5:45am, announcement and music started to play. Not the National Anthem yet. People around me got all excited and started pushing. ARGH! Apparently it was the national band that was arriving. The key difference of this event compared with other normal days was the use of the live band to orchestrate the National Anthem. THAT WAS ONLY DIFFERENCE??? For 5 hours??? 


Within the next 5 mins, I have been pushed and squeezed like yummy sandwich and by the time I got my camera stable, the flag was flying up high! GREAT! JUST GREAT! DID I JUST MISS THE MOMENT AFTER 5 HOURS of STANDING and we literally did not sleep for the past 24 hours?


I hard to take a closer shot, I just had to!
Flag at 6am @_@
It was time to go, we needed to get some sleep and perhaps some food! Getting our way out of the Tiananmen Square was not as easy as we hoped. People going in all directions and with rubbish everywhere! Cleaners and I mean TROOPS of cleaners were "marched" in to clean the area for the next event perhaps. Quite a scene indeed.


Guards were everywhere, motionless and without a smile of course.


While finding our way to the nearest non-blocked intersection, we saw this street vendor selling Baked Sweet Potatoes. Quite a common street food here in Beijing. We checked it out and the vendor was quite impolite and rushed us in paying (RMB 5 I think). Well, given the fact he was scanning for police nearby, I guess we should have acted quicker but we practically did not sleep for 24 hrs hence the slow reaction! .... oh, how was the sweet potato? We had a bite each and it was for the rubbish bin ... enough said.

Sweet Potatoes

Next we saw this red THING in a exploding sort of shape. It was the traditional Northern China winter snack called Tanghulu, also called bīng tánghúlu (冰糖葫蘆), which is essentially candied fruits on a skewers. The first question it came to mind was ... how much food coloring was there! Traditionally the red color in particular came from the use Chinese hawthorn 山楂 (as the fruit) and red copper spoons as a catalyst during the broiling process of the sugar to give it the coloring it needed. However, the new and super bold red version just looked a bit fake right?


5 hours of waiting for a mere 5 mins (or perhaps less!) ... live orchestra was a nice touch I guess ... but was it worth it? ... I really don't know but it was quite an experience in general, the wait and the observations made was indeed priceless.


Razlan said...

Hmmm... all things considered, I think it wouldn't be worth the wait. Possibly a better experience watching the live telecast, having slept and ate well? Hehe.

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