October 1st was the 58th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Most of China took a week off of work and school and a good 10-15% of the population will travel during the week. A friend and I made a mistake of going to the Wangfujing pedestrian area and Tian'anmen square to walk around and check things out. Easier said than done. This is a picture from the street, turns out walking wasn't so easy. It felt like 1B of the 1.3B Chinese population were in the same city as us.
Tian'anmen was decorated with fresh flower models of landmarks like the Great Wall, the Olympic torch and the Temple of Heaven. Guards were also in formation and very numerous. My favorite was a group of soldiers jogging and the drill instructor stops and answers his cell phone. "WEI!? I'm jogging in formation now!" I nearly doubled over laughing, but answering a cell phone here has a much better connotation than it does in the States. It gives you "face," makes you seem important, so people often answer them in the middle of important meetings and at the dinner table. Takes some getting used to.
Because I didn't travel during the week, Beijing has been slow, relaxing and a lot of getting together with friends for dinner parties, karaoke, etc. I think we managed to fit about 35 people in our apartment Saturday. We had a get-together at our house where a lot of our friends brought a dish, a sort of international pot-luck. The door guards only came by twice to tell us we were being to loud. We don't really have a relationship with our neighbors because everyone keeps to themselves, but if we did, it probably wouldn't be doing to well. Well, it's back to hard labor on Monday. Time to do some studying!