I think I can say, with relative accuracy, that the city of Chengdu, at least in my area, anyway, is officially in panic mode. I must admit, however, that the growing crowd here in the open courtyards of my apartment complex is angelic compared to that on the city avenue that hugs us. I have just strayed down our alleyway to emerge onto the wide, 4-laned Ke Hua Bei Lu where cars pack the streets leading into and out of the city.
The West Gate of Sichuan University is a madhouse of activity. Security guards refuse to allow certain cars to enter onto the grounds. They stand in front of vehicles with the drivers edging their cars forward, threatening to run them over and shouting angrily out of open windows to let them through. One car blocked the entrance entirely, the owner demanding she be let in. More cars backed up behind her, some now driving on the sidewalk for several blocks, in order to sneak around the growing traffic blocking the entrance.
Motorcycles, scooters, and motorized bicycles squeeze along the curbside or take to the sidewalks. They are loaded down with bedding, pillows, and bags of snacks. Some turn into Sichuan University while others continue onward.
Dog owners are pulling their animals along with a leash in one hand and a cellphone pressed to their ear in another. People are still moving doggedly onward through the streets and alleyways. They stop to shift their overnight supplies from one arm to the other before making it across the street to the open-air lawns of the university. Others are finding their places along a less chaotic route, such as the small public park along the backstreets of my apartment complex.
Then there are the jovial observers on the sidewalk, who have set themselves up in clusters of cushioned whicker chairs pulled from a nearby tea house. They lounge comfortably across the street from the university gate and watch the waves of people coming and going.
To stay nearer my apartment, and the facilities, I have chosen to join my neighbors here in my apartment courtyard. The hazy moon is a good omen in some sense. It promises a clear night with no rain.
I have found a comfortable grassy spot, spread out my comforter, placed my belongings beside me and settled the animals around their carriers. Little Ghost is quite content to sit on my lap as I type outside on my computer but Little Flower is upset that I am not at home. She stands in the middle of the walkway, under the apartment lamp lights, and waits for me to head toward the apartment, unlock the door and let her in.
On any other night, I’d be happy to do so but on this one . . . . Sorry, Little Flower. Public pressure has won over this American. This time around, it’s under the night sky for all of us.
Now a quick return to send this off and then it’s bed for me!
Until the next entry, Good-night!