Olympic torch and day tour in Pingyao

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 20, 2008

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Flag of China  , Shanxi,
Thursday, June 26, 2008

Started touring this morning at 9AM in Pingyao.  The hotel is located next to a majestic tower.

The Olympic torch is going to pass through the city at 3PM so I am hoping to get a view of this.  Everyone is excited about this and people are selling flags and shirts and I have seen many of the people who will be running with the torch.

This morning I visited one of the other banks built in Pingyao in this formerly very important mercantile community.  At this bank they stored a great deal of silver and gold.

At 12:30PM I went for lunch and of course I had...NOODLES!  In Pingyao for breakfast, lunch and dinner it is a bowl full of noodles drowing in vinegar.

At 2:30PM I went to the south gate of the old city wall to watch the Olympic torch relay.  I feel very fortunate to just happen to coincidently be in the exact city on the exact day that the rare occasion of the torch relay being passed for the Olympics.  I waited and waited and more and more people gathered.  In typical fashion in this country people just pushed and cut with no regard for anyone else.  It is as natural here as breathing.  As rude and disrespectful as I feel it is, the difference is that in America they form lines and are orderly but when someone does push or cut then a fight ensues whereas here they do it and nobody blinks.  So after waiting patiently for almost an hour a mother shoves her child into me repeatedly only she finally squeezed him and herself past me despite that fact that I had been waiting.  I don't know how she did this since I was in the front with only a gate in front of me and a row of 50 policemen, but she figured out how to beat me.  

I soon learned that I would not actually see the torch relay, but rather that the south gate was the final point of the passing and running of the torch.  It was still exciting to be a part of it and I saw all of the torch carriers as they came down the steps of the gate.  

I tried to blend in the crowd and get in the spirit by wearing my newly purchased Olympic shirt, and I attached to my sunglasses a small Olympic flag and a small Chinese flag.  When the torch ceremony was over I made a slow walk back to my hotel.  It was a fun atmosphere with so many people on the streets and passing so many shops.  Now that the torch ceremony was over I became the center of attention.  Flashes went off left and right as everyone seemed to be taking pictures of me.  People would say hello (their only english word) and some told me that I was "cool".  Wow, I was the Chinese Fonz!  

At 8:30Pm I left on my overnight train to Xian.  I will be happy if I never board another overnight train. Once again I had to push and pull to get my heavy luggage on to the train along with everyone else shoving their way on.  Then it was into my tiny room on my tiny bed in a room with 3 other people.  One man on the top bunk was a musician because he kept sounding off with his flatulence.  Earlier in the day there were some people expulsing gasses too and just like then, nobody in my room seemed to bat an eye despite how loud and smelly he was.  It just seems to be normal here to be flatulent.  At home I would be kicked out of the house!  

I attempted to go to sleep but I never came close as the sound of the train as it blew its whistle at each stop and the sound of the flatulent man never permitted me to drift off.  
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Where I stayed
Local Inn
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