Saturday, February 09, 2008
Guangzhou to Changsha
We are in Guangzhou, China, trying to get a glimpse about why exactly this yearly migration back home for the spring festival is so important. Being new to China, I really didn’t know what to expect about the restrictions on reporting, but after our nosing about at the factory workers dormitories, incurring the rage of the owner of the factory, we had the opportunity to exercise a textbook trick. When trouble looms, change the tape in the camera; they will ask to hand to them what you filmed which you will do kindly and they will get a nice blank tape. Everybody’s happy.

The next day, our producer decides it will be great to travel with the migrant workers on a leg of their return home. Rushing down the train station platform trying to keep our correspondent framed and being shoved by people desperately trying to get a seat for the long journey, I realize it’ll be tough. Not even five minutes of being in the train, there’s a heated argument on the other end of the car. Not enough seats, but I can’t afford to give up my camera’s position. A coat over it and a woolly hat make it look like a sleeping person.

Very soon, we attract the attention of our fellow passengers. Pictures being taken, sweets offered … the conductor fetches some hot water for our tea. Maybe it won’t be so bad after all. But the novelty and excitement wears off pretty soon: sleeping seated on a hard bench, with equipment all about you, waking now and again to get this or that shot … 10 hours pass – it’s morning and the train is stationary for more than four hours.

Pacing up and down the aisle, it seems like a good idea to haul our gear through the window (all doors are locked, nobody is allowed in or out) and hire a car to move to the next station. But we stick by, and 17 hours later, with intermittent sleep, sparse food and no more tea, we get to Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. At least I’ve heard loads of compliments about this province’s food. Here we’ll stop to send our report back to base, and rest on a nice comfortable bed. As we go, we see how many of our fellow travellers are bottled on the next train’s door … again, fighting to get a seat for the next leg of their trip.

-- From CNN cameraman Miguel Castro
i think now you got the glimpse of the spring festival as this is first and good to see that everybody is happy

get some sweets for us we are eagar to taste

good one !
Perhaps the chinese government should have temporarily diverted some of the numerous shipments of snow shovels, manufactured in China at the expense of US jobs, and bound for big box american markets. The traditional culture of China suggests many hands make light work. China has more hands than other culture on the planet currently. It is within thier grasp to shovel thier way out of the "demon snow enemy". I wish the people good luck in this work. But they have successfully duplicated the history of early 1900's New York city when faced with a blizzard.

As a second thought, it is interesting to note that the Chinese have focused money and technology on being able to accuratly target (and yet to be seen... shoot down) satelites. It would seem that the government of China has abandoned it's people, the core of the communist thinking for the chase of cold and useless western ideals.
Actually your adventure reminds me of getting stuck in American airports during the Thanksgiving holiday. Yes, we also get locked on planes while we sit on the tarmac for hours. Maybe there are enough seats for passengers, but the screaming babies and drunks can become very annoying.

In the end, the novelty runs out after the Thanksgiving turkey feast is finally consumed at the extended family dinner table. But then you realize why you live far enough a way to have to take a plane to travel to see your relatives.
For someone who doesn't familar with Chinese culture,it is hard to understand why so many people migration back home for the spring festival.And the population of China is the most of the world.So the IMIGRATION is the one you can imagine.In Chinese,the family is very important for everyone.But now more and more people get their job,or studying in the other provinces,or other cities.For the bad weather,many Chinese can't go back home this year.And some paid more time on their journey.
hi, this is changming from and we are an organization to endeavor to introduce the world's reports about CHINA to Chinese people. I just read your posts and found them quite interesting, can I have your permission to translate them into Chinese ? and please contact me via email or msn,
Any updates? Spring Festival is almost over and all we have is "I got on a train".....
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