Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Mayday!

Today is May 1st, a.k.a. Mayday. Most offices in China are closed, today, tomorrow and Saturday. The government reorganized the work schedule so that workers would have three days off together, then work on Sunday. That will make next week a six day workweek. This holiday is usually over a week long but it was changed this year - depending on who I ask why I am told this is to reduce traffic jams and pollution or to decrease the number of days off and increase productivity. Either way, it's a three day weekend and many people are getting out of town to enjoy it.

My plan for the day was to play tourist, seeing a couple of sites that I haven't yet visited. When I woke up this morning and looked out the window I was greeted by a sea of white smog. That's not something I want to breathe a lot of so now I think I'll try to find a movie theater showing Forbidden Kingdom, the new Jackie Chan/Jet Li flick, with English subtitles. Some people I know here do some work with Chan and made a quick call to his office when they heard me lamenting having to wait until I went back to the states to see it if I wanted to understand the story. They confirmed that film is being show locally with subtitles. Many movies in China are made with English subtitles for release in the Hong Kong market and some of the bigger theaters in Beijing show those versions as well as the Chinese-only versions. Last night a Chinese friend and I both tried to find online movie theater listings with showtimes, preferably in English, but no luck. My plan is to go to the theater, check out the times, then sit in a pastry shop or something else nearby and read while waiting for the next show. Later in the day I'll meet up with friends for dinner and conversation.

Beijing live music fans are bemoaning the last minute postponement of the annual Midi Music Fest until autumn. That festival was the reason I hadn't planned a weekend trip. Four days of up and coming Chinese bands from far flung places across the country. I look forward to attending the event in October.

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