Sunday, 18 May 2008

The Olympic Flame comes to Shaoxing

It is hard to tell, but the torch bearer with torch aflame is in the middle of the throng.

Me with one of the torch bearers (with police guard) behind me.

Students from the college arrive en masse to be at the ceremony.

On Saturday May 17th, the Olympic Flame came to Shaoxing China, and I was able to witness part of the relay at very close quarters.

I had chosen that day to visit the resort at the Kauiji Mountain adjacent to the college at which I teach.
Actually I look out of the window of my apartment to the mountain, which is so close to the college, with the huge statue of Da Yu (Emperor Yu). We knew the Torch Relay was to pass through the park, and it was our original intention to visit the park in the morning and then be at the college gate at 4.20 pm to see one of the foreign teacher’s run.

However, our plans changed when we realized that we could be very close to the Torch Relay if we stayed in the park, so we found a place to sit, and waited out the time.
Then we walked the short distance to the main driveway and waited. Many others were to come too, but in the end, it was much less crowded than anywhere else. In fact I received text messages from other friends, who were overwhelmed by the crowds along the city route. We were so pleased we had chosen to stay.

We saw all the official coaches, cars and other vehicles arrive, including the bus of the torch bearers.
We were continually pushed back by Police, but all was friendly and cooperative.

We could hear music and drums from the area of the official ceremony, and heard the fireworks as it all started, and the cloud of coloured smoke that rose above the lake.
Then within minutes there was a roar as people shouting “Go China” in Chinese, swarmed along the driveway flanking the torch bearer.

It was quick, but I had a good view despite the crowds and was able to get a photo or two.

It was all over in minutes, and then we joined the throng following the torch and trying to exit the park. Thousands and thousands of Chinese people, so excited, massed along the driveway to the exit, and then tried to find their way home. It was orderly chaos, and fortunately we had only a short way to go.

I shall always remember this time that I attend the historical event – the 2008 Beijing Olympic Torch and its visit to Shaoxing.

(As it turns out the foreign teacher did not run as planned, at the spot where all our friends waited - due to crowd control problems he was to run a shorter route, but some distance from the place they waited.)


M.KATE said...

hi there, love china, been there some time ago and this blog is a great way to learn more about china. tks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with m.kate. Thanks for sharing. My Wife and I are going to China in September and I found your blog about a month ago. Can't remember how - just checking out China. I keep coming back to it. Cheers from Calgary, Canada.