Have you have ever seen a city of 22 million people come to a complete standstill? Me neither, until today…
With the military parade getting closer, we’ve seen more police on the streets, and more citizens in blue shirts with the red armbands standing on the corners. Apparently the latter are like a condo board on steroids, but the police are watching everyone like a hawk.
We decided to have a slow day today with all the site seeing we’ve done in the past few days (code for needing to stick to a budget). We slept in, the girls did some reading, and then we walked to WalMart (yes, the one and the same) to buy breakfast and other supplies. Claire needed to go to the bathroom and wanted to avoid the squats, so I left with her before we finished buying everything. A couple of loads of laundry later, we decided to venture out for the remaining supplies.
We’re staying in an apartment in the downtown central business district, so you would expect it to be filled with people at 3:00 in the afternoon. Nope. The shops on our side street had all closed, and the restaurants on the other side of Jianguo Road, which is a major thoroughfare, were empty.
We were a little nervous that WalMart had also closed, but thankfully the doors were still open. The security guard tapped his watch when we walked past, so we were lucky to get in.
Other shoppers were filling up their baskets with food, and suddenly the rush was on to find things we could eat in an apartment with only a microwave and no fridge, stove or potable water. Since the parade is Thursday, it won’t be until Friday that we can get more supplies (it’s Wednesday afternoon).
We’ve heard that Jianguo Road might be the access point for the 500 military vehicles heading to Tiananmen Square. We’ve also heard that citizens are not even supposed to look out their windows as they approach.
We might try the “dumb tourist” thing tomorrow to see if we can peek down our street towards the road. But I’m fully expecting a military presence to turn us around. I won’t even try to bring my camera!