Monday, June 2, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay

On Sunday I woke up at the inhumane hour of 4:30 to shower and don my "Yichang Torc Relay" t-shirt. A student had painted the shirt for me. It really did say "torch" but the "h" was painted on the back so it looked like "torc". As I walked to the library to meet a student, she called to tell me we would be unable to meet. Thankfully, I ran into another friend right after I hung up.
A group of about 8 of us ended up walking across town to the river to watch the torch. Have you ever seen movies where everyone is fleeing some disaster? That is exactly what it looked like. The sidewalks were crowded and everyone was headed in the same direction. Was it like this in America in 1996?
We picked our spot right in front of the Three-Self Church and the river. For 3 hours we waited. I got to know some people a little better, ate a nice breakfast of hot noodles, took lots of photos with people wanting to see a foreigner and race to the road every time a car passed. By the time the torch actually came by everyone already had a sore throat from screaming "ZhongGuo JiaYou!" (Go China.) Patriotism was at its peak!

We had a pretty nice view of the torch and it was pretty exciting to be in such a crowd. The Olympics are a BIG deal to the people here. The torch might be the only way the townspeople might see part of the Olympics for themselves. It was a big day. Maybe even a historical day for some. Definitely worth getting up so early...

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