May 20th, 2008


Commie Stooge

My beloved father has always said I'm a leftist commie pinko, but here I am in the belly of the beast and I find that... um, no.  I can't say I grok this governing style.  The central government here has been pretty wise in it's handling of this crisis versus say Burma, but it's still miles away from open.  The leaders were flown out here and soon after the tragedy were seen speaking with soldiers, survivors and volunteers.  The images were all over their media, except on CNN which was being jammed for offensive comments.  They are back on the air, following some kowtowing of course.  Monday started three days of official mourning that was intended to help people get back into some form of normalcy here, but a report that was broadcast on local TV has changed that, at least in this area.  It was an almost instant panic that set in after the broadcast.  

Today we thought it had died down some, but it had become more of a paranoia than panic.  People went home after camping out in their cars on the roads outside of the city for example, but only to get more blankets that they'd fled without.  The sale of tents went through the roof.  Military surplus tents that should've sold for 60 yuan were going for 400 this morning and you had to get a ticket because "it would be illegal to price gouge", so you had to go somewhere else to exchange it for the actual tent.  Later in the day tents were going for 600 and 650 yuan.  Mind you, they were better than the 400 yuan ones, but still!  Just a day earlier they would've been normal priced, not 100% inflated.  I had seen tents for sale at camping supply places and it seemed like they were going well, but not in a crazed way like today.  Tarps were sold out, according to one of our reporters.  I saw very long lines in front of sports stores with closed front.  On the way back from the closed bookstore (closed due to the three days of mourning) the metal sheeting rolled up for lines of happy campers who came out with space blankets and tents in hand.  We didn't ask how much they spent.  A shorter line of people waited to get in.

We went to a department store to get a whiteboard and maybe 80% (unscientific, but you get what you pay for) of the people were there for blankets, tents or padding.  In fact, you know those foam children's blocks?  I saw at least 15 of them in the 2 hours I was outside this afternoon.  I think the stores ran out of proper foam sleeping pads and people were either making do or figuring they could use them for the kids later anyway.

Well, that's all from the street.  And, no Dad, I'm not a commie (even if I was given a nationalistic t-shirt the other day...)

  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper