Wednesday, March 18, 2009

# 48 Today's picture 090318

Panda Alarm Clock (Xiong Mao) from the Chengdu Zhong Biao Chang, Pingle junk shop, Sichuan 090317 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Pingle: Green

Pingle, Sichuan 090317 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Pingle: Red

Apothecary's shop, Pingle, Sichuan 090317 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

The most incredible thing

San Sheng Hua Xiang, Chengdu, Sichuan 090318 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

I witnessed the most incredible thing today: a Chinese queue - an actual real life neat and tidy line of people waiting to get on the bus. In over twenty years of China-watching I have not seen this orderly a queue more than a couple of times, usually in front of the Memorial Hall for Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Square in Beijing where people wait patiently to file past the Chairman's body. Just like in Beijing these people were kept in check by a man with a stick and a loud voice (the men in Beijing use bull horns). My companions and I were so flabbergasted that all three of us stood and photographed the event.

I must admit that various forms of unpleasant social behavior in China have greatly improved in the past ten years. But a queue in China is usually a non-thing, the very concept not existing in the general Chinese consciousness where every opportunity to get what you want before everyone else is taken advantage of by blithely barging ahead of all and sundry. Only the other day I had listened to British author Blake Morrison telling about how his father was a notorious queue-jumper and how it made his family cringe with embarrassment. I jumped the queue myself to get him to sign his book for me. 

# 47 Today's picture 090317

San Sheng Hua Xiang, Chengdu, Sichuan 090318 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

You see the most unexpected things in China...