Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh, To Be the Chairman

This was, and still is, one of the strangest places we've ever been. You might wonder, then, why we were compelled to make a return trip to the mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Why is anyone drawn to a place like this?

In '04, this tourist spot was actually the only place we went in China where the people formed an orderly line (for two hours). Now that so much has changed in China and people have been repeatedly asked to do things like "queue up courteously" for the Olympics, people do so almost everywhere, so this wasn't a surprise today. Happily, the line was only 15 minutes today.

The presentation of the Chairman, though, was a bit different. Last time, we could buy flowers (which, when piling up on carts in front of the Chairman, were wheeled back to trailers for resale) and place them right in front of his preserved body. Because of this, we felt the need to buy a few bouquets so we could get a closer look this time. No deal. Now you have to put them in front of a statue of him in a different room. They're piled up by type, no doubt so they can be gathered easily and resold for two kuai each, just like in '04. You know we were bummed in more ways than one.

From our perspective, he "hasn't changed a bit." Neither has my feeling about this viewing process. I'm glad we stopped in, but I think our "need" has been more than satiated. Enough said...



At 10:34 PM, Blogger Corrie said...

We never got to see Mao!! He was "closed for renovation." I feel like that is one of the must see sights of Beijing.
PS: I love that they probably resell the flowers again to tourists. That part made me smile!


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