June 3, 2009

Not so long ago

One year and one day ago my plane touched down in Beijing, the last stop on my two week, four stop tour of China. The last time I visited this city was 13 years ago. Needless to say, the city had changed quite a bit since then.

My memories of that first trip are a blur of awe at the vastness of the Forbidden Palace, pain from walking the long boulevard of Chang'an Avenue and "wow, things are so different from home" observations like the elderly men in their open-air hair salons (basically a stool parked oustide the red wall of the Palace) beckoning to passerbys.

Fast forward to 2008. I was balancing a mojito on my knee while lounging in Bed Bar, when a member of our group mentioned that today was the 19th anniversary. Floored that I had completely forgotten the significance of that day (encouraged no doubt by its complete lack of mention in the local media), I and that member hailed a cab bound for Tiananmen to check out the scene.

As we approached a few minutews past midnight, we were greeted by silence. No signs of rememberance existed. A few guards watched a handful of tourists snap portraits of themselves under the watchful gaze of Mao's portrait and harsh street lamps. That's it.

Will I feel the same emptiness tomorrow?

No comments:

Post a Comment