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Monday, June 09, 2008

Cycling & Olympic Torch

The Beauty and the Beast

This entire post will be about China. Not about what I do in China, but more about what I think of China... I'll start with something that you can see (quite regularly) at Chinese restaurants: drunk people. It seems that Chinese do not have a very high alcohol tolerance and this manifests itself in drunk people. Their favorite drink, baijiu ("white alcohol"), is pretty heavy and scenes like the one below are what you get when you had a cup or two too many... (ps: this is at seven in the afternoon!)

Then the beauty of China or more specifically Yunnan Province. Last Sunday I went cycling with a group of Chinese people and they took me to one of the most beautiful parts of Yunnan I have ever seen. And we did not even have to take a bus to go there since it is just north-west of Kunming. It was a trip of almost 140km with some killer mountains in it, but worth every cent of pain! I could talk on about it but just look at the pictures and see for yourselves!

And then the beast...
The Olympic Torch Relay of June 09, 2008 in Kunming.

Everyone was excited about seeing the torch and was planning on standing somewhere along the route that would lead through the entire city. Mind you, I am not just talking about foreigners, but in particular the Chinese were extremely looking forward to the event. T-shirts, hats, flags, stickers and so on were being sold in the past days (on the streets of course, even though the government warned that they would be very strict against the sale of illegal Beijing Olympics merchandise... haha).

But this morning it happened... text messages, phone calls... the route had been changed yesterday... The entire innercity had been cut out of the route and now it was going from the World Expo Gardens to the Minorities Village. Not in a straight line but over the third (yes, third!!!) ring road of Kunming. Stressssssssss, because where should we go to watch it..? Of course Dianchi Lu, the only street that seemed to be somewhat accessible. Getting there was horrible because the nice Kunming government decided to cancel all public buses going in that direction and taxis and other vehicles were stopped 5km from where you actually wanted to be. And then you end up at a square like the one below together with 200.000 other Chinese...

Still no worries because we can just walk down the street and go see the torch, right..? NOT!!! All streets were closed, even for pedestrians. People rushing forward, talking to police officers, coming back, moving in different directions... nobody knew where to go. We decided to try to walk around, but no way that you could get anywhere near the official route. After about 2 hours we found a big TV screen and decided to watch the remainder of the relay on it together with a bunch of Chinese "Olympic fans".

And this was the moment I decided that I really despise everything that has to do with Chinese politics. As we could see on the TV along the route people were lined up maybe three rows thick (and only on one side of the street that is!). And along the last stretch the only onlookers were police officers!!! Just on the streets we walked there were enough people to make the lines 5x as thick! I couldn't help but to feel sorry for all those poor people that were so excited about the relay and all they could see were other dressed up, disappointed Chinese... They never stood a chance!

Conclusion: The entire torch relay was a typical example of how China turns the PEOPLE'S GAMES into a private, retarded parade that is IMPOSSIBLE for REGULAR PEOPLE to experience!


Our high note of the entire farce: It was great seeing the enthousiasm of the people!!! Oh yeah and we got to see the buses with all the torch bearers in them drive by... ;-)

Now on to the more important things in life: EURO 2008!!! Tonight the first Dutch game and I am excited about it! Too bad that 20.45 European time means 02.45 in China... Not the best time to watch live games especially if you have to work the next day at 8.30! But I'll pull an all-nighter and if (or better: when) we beat those Italians, I'll teach in my orange suit tomorrow :-)

Hup Holland Hup!!!
De Chinese Oranjeleeuw

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

3 - 0 ................en dan wil ik nu wel een foto zien van jou in je oranje apepakje voor de klas!! Pappaatje

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