Edit Blog Post
Published: June 15th 2008
"We are ready"
Mr.Xu, in blue, Sue on right, Stefanie, Arthur, Ken, and myself are ready to lead Taizhou Teachers College to the center of the city, to witness one of the city's moments of history, as the Olympic Torch will make its way through the city of Taizhou, on its way to Beijing.
One of the most joyfull days during my teaching assignment at Taizhou Teachers College came on Monday, May 26th, 2008. The Olympic Torch Run through China was about to reach the city of Taizhou. There had been a delay, since China was still deep in mourning on the 23rd of May, the day originally scheduled for the presentation of the Olympic Torch Run in Taizhou. Taizhou, the "City of the Phoenix", was only one of five cities in the prosperous province of Jiangsu, to host this once in a life-time, historical event. The four others were the garden-city of Suzhou, the beautiful, historical city of Yangzhou, the former capital of China, Nanjing, and the coastal city of Nantong.
Taizhou had been preparing for months, to make sure the event became a special and momentous day for all of its citizens and the visitors from around the wold.
All of Taizhou's many Colleges celebrated, by cancelling the classes for the day, and permitting their students the opportunity to take part in this unique spectacular, lining the streets of Taizhou, along with residents, spectators, and visitors that numbered into the millions.
My college, Taizhou Teachers College, also prepared for the
It must have been one of her proudest moments.
Former teacher to China's current President, Mr. Hu Jintao, smiles proudly with Olympic Torch in hand, as she makes her way through an adoring crowd in the city of Taizhou.
day's event. The students and staff gathered early in the morning, to march in long columns toward the city center, lead by our college President, Mr. Xu. All the students and faculty members were wearing white and red T-shirts with logos, expressing their love and pride for their country on this momentous occasion, which also honored our small city in Jiangsu Province.
Taizhou is the home-town of the current Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jintao, and that may have played a pivitol role in its selection as a "Torch-host" city in Jiangsu. The Number "One" High School, from which Mr. Hu had graduated as a young man, was selected as the starting point of the Olympic Torch Relay, as it prepared to pass through the streets of our city.
***The "starting-number" of a secondary school in a Chinese city, in this case "the Number "One" High School", usually defines the school's prestige as an institution for learning, its importance in the community, and its status as a high school .
Early examinations in middle school decide, to which school a student will be assigned, and the pressure of examinations continue throughout the academic life of each.
Taizhou is not Paris!
Unlike Paris, France, this man in a wheel-chair has no worries about being ruthlessly attacked, and can focus a proud glance on his part of the Olympic Torch Relay of Taizhou, Jiangsu.
admitted to a college or university, each student is assigned to a class of around 40+ students. This group group willl then share a daily class-schedule, a daily-routine, and common activities throughout their three or four years "together".
Each class will have a "class monitor", who will keep track of the daily attendance, and provide information passed to them by an assigned "head-teacher", who in turn is advised by the next higher-up, usually the dean of the department. In many ways, college life in China resembles that of high-school life in our country.
There is not much interaction within the various departments of a college, and so an "English-major" will not be familiar with the students or the activities of "Drama/Music-majors", or "Art-majors", or "Math-majors" etc. Every department is a self-contained unit.
Students are carefully monitored as to their academic progress, their behavior, and their where-abouts. All colleges and universities feel great responsibilty for each student in their charge, and so a student's day is controlled from the time each gets up, until the electric plug is "pulled" at 10:30 at night in every dorm, seven days a week.***
And so, the students from each college
Coca Cola uses China's favorite color, red, for its maximum exposure.
The Coca Cola company of China is a major sponsor of Taizhou's Olympic Torch Relay. Male and female cheerleaders bring roars from the crowd, as they pass along the torch-relay route.
in Taizhou, including ours, grouped in their class of 40, lined up early in rows of two, to become part of the Olympic Torch Relay. Each class was escorted by their "head-teacher" toward the gate of the college, where our college President, Mr. Xu, took the lead, along with others in the administration.
The foreign teachers, including myself, where invited to be part of that group, and were issued special passes to enter the numerous rings of security posted at all strategic intersections, on our way to our assigned place in the center of the city.
Waving grand National- and Olympic- banners and flags, students in white and red T-shirts, many with painted faces in their national colors of red and gold, we made our way through the crowded streets of Taizhou. Massive, snake-like, student-queues of red and white, stretching as far as the eyes could see were flowing like rivers through the streets, as tens of thousands of Taizhou's natives lined the roads, waving and cheering us toward our destination.
The various colleges were each assigned to pre-designated sections of the torch-route, on a very hot and humid morning. The joy of the day let us
Olympic Torch Sponsor, Lenovo
Computer giant Lenovo is another co-sponsor of the Olympic Torch Relay in Taizhou, and spear-heads the parade through the streets of the city.
forget the heat of the day, and fortunately, the torch run had been scheduled during the "cooler" morning hours. Yet we arrived at our designated spot wet from the perspiration, and I was not sure if I was involved in a "wet T-shirt contest".
Once we arrived at our location in the center of the city, our students began to blend in with the masses, all anxiously awaiting their moment in Taizhou's local history. We were surrounded by friendly, cheering crowds, and my Western face and those of my friends Sue and Stef soon became the object interest.
Numerous times we were invited to be photographed, as we continue to be a "novelty" in Taizhou. Though I have been in Taizhou for almost two years, I continue to attract attention everywhere I walk, no matter the time and the place. I continue to believe it is not do to my size, but simply for being so "handsome"!!
We waited for almost one and one-half hours for our moment to view to passing of the flame, socializing with those around us and those just passing by. Finally, a cheer from the crowd in the distance, enhanced by the
CNN has made many disparaging remarks about these young men in blue.
Athletic, handsome, young, Chinese men accompany the torch-runners through streets, and assist as the torch is passed from one carrier to another along the route.
waving of a sea of flags and banners let us know, that the moment was drawing closer.
The crowds pushed and stretched, each hoping to catch the best glimpse and to take the best photo of the event. I had found a terrific location on top of a trash-container, but was soon admonished by a policeman to step back onto the street. No sooner had he vanished, my perfect space was re-occupied by Chinese fan, who just smiled down at me, as I lamented my lost, "perfect" viewing location.
I am a little taller than the average Chinese person, and on my tip-toes was able to snap a few photos, as the parade of police cars and busses, announcing the on-coming torch-bearer, began to pass us. A few seconds later, the runner, proudly holding the Olympic Torch high in front of him, passed us by, cheered on by a stunning and loud roar from the spectators.
It all happened so quickly. No sooner had we spotted the torch in the hand of the lucky torch-runner, it had passed us just as quickly. It was somewhat anti-climactic. What we had waited for, for hours, passed us in seconds.
The men in blue point the way.
The men in blue escort the torch-runner along the streets of Taizhou. Security is tight, but the crowd is no less enthusiastic.
But no-one seemed dissappointed. The crowd checked their cameras to make sure each had the perfect photo-shot, recording for posterity and for their children Taizhou's historical moment: The running of the Olympic Torch through our proud city of Taizhou, on its way to Beijing. There it will light the Olympic Torch on 08/08/08 at 8 pm, announcing the opening of the 29th Olympic Games.
Thanks for taking the time to read my TravelBlog #100, and I hope you will take a moment to send me your comments, your thoughts, your suggestions, and any questions you may have, and I will appreciate them. Please enlarge the 58 photos for their details, if you have the opportunity.
I wish all the fathers a very "Happy Fathers-day", much happiness for a very special summer, where-ever you may have to opportunity to spent these months. Missing you and thinking of you always!
Tot: 1.356s; Tpl: 0.023s; cc: 24; qc: 137; dbt: 0.0361s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb