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Thursday, May 04, 2006

China Journals 4: I Follow the Water

Wednesday; April 26, 2006

  • Tianan Mien Square
  • No Mao?
  • Forbidden City
  • The Ming Tombs
  • 14 hrs at the train

Wake-up call: 730am. Breakfast: Let’s just call it “THE USUAL”

This day’s itinerary was jam-packed. What I was feeling this day was fear. Tianan Mien Square; two years ago, a multitude of Japanese people were killed on this very square by an angry Chinese mob. This was an act of retribution for the millions of Chinese killed by the Kamikazes during the Second World War. Some of the casualties were not Japanese at all, they just looked like one. My mom told me that she knew a certain person from Ayala Alabang that was not spared form this incident. He was a pure Filipino, make that a very rich Filipino who went to China on a relaxation tour. This gave me the heebie-jeebies because I may also be mistaken as a Japanese! I don’t wanna return to the Philippines in a body bag. NEVER.

A lot has happened on this historical square, so historic, I don’t know what they were! HAHA! Well I just know that this is where Mao Zedong stood. He have pictures anywhere you look. He was the biggest thing China has ever had before Yao Ming. Too bad, the queue on his tomb was so long, it stretched across the immense square. My dad was really disappointed. NO MAO for him. I would also like to know whether Tianan Mien Square was really the name of the place ‘cuz maybe the Chinese people only mispronounced “CHINA MAIN SQUARE”. Come to think of it…

A few snapshots later, we headed to the ever-so-famous Forbidden City. What makes this trip very memorable is the irony. Entering the Forbidden City is like breaking a taboo. Back in the olden days, only the emperor and a few chosen men and his three thousand hot concubines may enter that city. The city has 9999 and a half rooms. Don’t ask me where that ½ room came from ‘cuz up to now, no one has given me a decent answer. No thanks to you Frank. The only answer he gave me that if the Emperor would live a day each in one of those rooms, he’ll be 27 years old when he finishes it. The coolest thing about being an emperor in this dynasty is the fact that you have 3000 concubines to choose from everyday aside from your wife, the empress. Imagine what kind of orgy took place at the center hall of the palace. How many daisy chain links were made? Even Peter North would be jealous of him. LUCKY BASTARD!

Ok, forget about that Droz, it must be hunger. After “THE USUAL” lunch, it was straight to the Ming Tombs. Ming Tombs, Forbidden City, it all looked the same to me. For me, it’s just another 2 kilometer hike to fatigue.

It’s 3 in the afternoon an we’re running out of time. Our 14-hour train ride to Xian is about o depart. We darted to the station carrying our luggage of around 20 kilos each running most of the 1.5 kilometer hall. The station was literally overflowing with people. Men of different statures, different lifestyles, mostly traders, all chose to ride the train. Aboard the train, we were assigned to a room. There are 4 persons in a cabin with 2 double decks each. There was no door, not even a curtain to cover the cabin. In my room were sisters Jane and Jam and an old Chinese guy. We desperately tried to communicate with him but it was very hard. We managed though to squeeze some information from him.

Name: Lei

Age: 50

Notes: He has children the same age as us and he returns to Xian to visit his family. We fondly call him Hua Che Lei.

At first, I thought that 14 hours was gonna be a long ride but chit-chats with J&J sure made it seem like 2 hours. Our topic varied from Judas’ vindication to ghosts, God’s existence to bifidus. We had a lot of common interests but quite different points of view in life. I don’t pray, they do. But they also believe that what I am doing (or not doing) is not wrong. They pray “just-in-case”. I just happen to be braver, more secure on my faith and fate. We were very surprised when Jam looked at her watch and told us that it’s already 3 in the morning. We were quite noisy it kept Hua Che Lei half awake the whole night.

Revenge! That Lei woke up at 5 in the morning and started to do some stretching exercise. IT WAS SOOOOO FUNNY!

2 hours of sleep isn’t so bad. Total Damage: three-inch eyebags


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