Friday, April 19, 2013

An overview of May day celebration in Shanghai, China

I continue to write my experiences during my visits to China. My second official visit to China was in April-May 2005. On 30th April I was in a city called Suzhou, 110 Kms from Shanghai, a well developed  beautiful City. 1st of May, is a public holiday in China.

Since I had to travel to another City on May 2nd, I took the road to Shanghai on 1st of May. I always make sure that I take a local representative along with me, whenever I travel on the road, in China. We left Suzhaou in a car after a light breakfast on 1st of May. China's infrastructure development is phenomenal and travel time is much reduced because of the same. You would find for miles and miles high rise roads taking you from one city to the other. Only four wheelers use these roads. The roads are divided into 3 lanes. One lane is meant for the slow moving trucks, one for the medium speed vehicles and one for fast moving vehicles. You can choose the lane depending on the car's speed.

Travel from Suzhou to Shanghai, a distance of 110 Kms, take approx. an hour across the Industrial towns. You will find most of the manufacturing Industry in this belt. The western countries started to set up their manufacturing units even before India started to weigh the pros and cons of its ventures in its neighboring country. Many American companies have their manufacturing bases in China. We always think that the products made in China are low quality products, which is not true. Chinese are quick learners and they produce best quality products when they are trained properly. China is the home for many Automobile companies in addition to Electronic goods manufacturing units.

I was curious, when I started my journey from Suzhou, to see how the Chinese celebrate the May day. My travel was through the Industrial areas between the two cities. In India, May day celebrations are organized by the Communist Labor Unions in the Industrial Areas. They celebrate the May day by hoisting red flags, taking out processions etc.,. To my surprise, along the route which spanned more than 100kms, I didn't find a single red flag or any sort of meeting any where.I reached Shanghai in the afternoon. I asked one of my colleagues about the absence of any May day celebration in a communist Country. He surprised me by saying,"These people quietly enjoy the May day. You got to be in the banks of Yangtze river in the evening to see the real celebration". This river flows right at the center of the city. I was told to get the feel of the famous river cruise amidst the beautifully lit buildings on both sides of the river.

I took some rest in my hotel room and went to River Yangtze in the evening, to watch the celebration.  When I got down from the car around 7.30pm, I just couldn't believe my eyes. I saw sea of people walking on the banks and the street vendors selling various eatables. Quite naturally, the scene reminded me of our ever crowded Marina Beach in Chennai, India. But this crowd was atleast 5 times more than that of Marina's crowd during summer weekends in the evening. I took photographs of the celebrations, but they are not in the digital format, right now. I will scan and post them here, later.

My notion, that May day would be celebrated in a communist country with much more fanfare than in India, was false. If only people of India learn to celebrate May day as calmly as Chinese do! Or any celebration for that matter! Sigh!

In my next post, I am going to share with you, the life style of Chinese people and their hospitality to Indian visitors.

Bye my dear friends, till I meet you all with my next blog,

Vijayan