Tonight marks the beginning of the Mid-Autumn Festival (Golden Week) and the eve of the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Everything's decked out - buildings are lit up even more than usual, lanterns are hung from every tree, and even the metro has decorative flags hung in every station. With all of the excitement, though, apparently, comes all of the people! Imagine a national holiday in a country of 1.3 billion people, all traveling in or out of the cities. We'd been warned about the crowds, but it didn't sink in until we were riding the metro home from dinner with a group of friends tonight. The stop before we needed to get out, crowds kept pushing open the doors and squeezing in, even when it seemed impossible to fit another body in the train. Then, at the stop where we needed to get out to transfer, we pushed (and were pushed) forward, but only two of the five of us made it through the throngs. The remaining three of us waved at them as the doors closed in front of us and resigned ourselves to getting out at the next stop and cabbing back. Whew! What a way to kick off our vacation week - could be an interesting one!
(I can't take credit for the picture - it's a photo I found online, but is of people waiting at a stop on the line we got stuck on. Gives you an idea...)