Disturbing the Peace

Its been a big week, with the national May Day holiday here in China (what a great idea – let’s let everyone in the most populous country in the world all go on holiday at the same time!). My boyfriend’s nephew came to stay for a few days, so we took the opportunity to go to the Forbidden City, one of my favourite places in Beijing.

Everyone on the way there advised us against it “it will be too crowded!”, “everyone will be there today” – the first taxi we got in to go there refused to even drop us off nearby, saying he would drive us a block past there and we had to walk back!

We finally arrived and it was nowhere near as bad as what everyone had been saying. And besides, it was a beautiful, sunny day with a blue sky, and that doesn’t happen often in Beijing! For those of you who haven’t been yet, I’m sure you’ve at least seen pictures of the red, Chinese building with the portrait of the “Great Leader” on it. Well, trying to get a photo of that was a feat in itself. As soon as we stepped on to the bridge to walk towards it – the guards barked at us through megaphones, “KEEP WALKING!! DON’T STOP!!! NO STOPPING!”. I tried to pause and take a photo – they wouldn’t have it. My boyfriend demanded an explanation – “THERE’S TOO MANY PEOPLE!! DON’T STOP!!” – We looked behind us, there was no-one there (all those people had probably listened to everyone else’s advice and avoided the place, or were already on their way home). I suspect it had been much busier earlier in the day, but surely commonsense would dictate that, now that it was no longer busy, we could stop and take a photo? Oh that’s right, common sense is like a bizarre Western import still stuck at Customs.

(I particularly like this photo, cos I think its hard to tell whether its a real building behind a screen, or a projection on to a screen. The screen was up cos they are currently doing some restoration work, and I’m still not 100% sure whether it is the real building or a projection!)

Late the next day, as my boyfriend was performing with his band at one of our local bars – in walked Mr Plod – the local copper all dressed up, like he was about to go on tv, in full jacket and everything (usually when you see cops here, they are in short-sleeve shirts and often drinking too). And if Beijing had had donuts, he would have probably eaten them all. As soon as he opened the door, the music stopped abruptly and everyone turned around to find out what was going on. “Its 12 o’clock, you have keep the noise down, TURN IT OFF!!!” and few other statements to that effect.

Just as he turned to leave, I turned to my Aussie girlfriends and said, “Who’s hoping right now that he’s the stripper!!?” – they erupted in laughter. I was half worried he might come back in and make me explain the joke. It looked like the evening was done, until someone actually looked at their watch and proclaimed, “Its only 11:45!! We still have 15 minutes” and with that, we got a few more songs.

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  1. Aegean
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    you are good at writting, Susie! i like the way you write, plus, i adore that photo as well.

  2. susie
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Hi Aegean!! Thanks for coming to visit my blog. I’m glad you like the photo!!

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