Saturday, May 03, 2008

An Eternal Flame, Redux

Here are some more pictures of the Olympic Torch as it passed through HCMC last week.

The torch was carried by folks surrounded by the Beijing Olympics security personnel, who were dressed in blue and white colorblock polo shirts.  In the picture you can sorta make out the torch next to the person in said polo shirt, with the khaki baseball cap on.  Or it could be a remnant of some flash photography picked up by my camera phone.  Cursory editing in iPhoto does not give a conclusive answer.  When I took this shot, I didn't see anything and just lifted the phone over the tops of the crowd.  When I did see the torch later, as posted earlier, a woman standing on a motorbike blocked the camera.  

The other pictures are of the crowd that night - a long line of folks bracketing the torch route, and a bigger mass waiting for the police to open up the roads to they can finish their evening commute.

Overall the atmosphere in the street that night was really festive, like it was Tet or something.  While the local papers said that Vietnam beefed up its security to prevent the Olympic protests seen elsewhere, I didn't really notice it.  One could get really darn close to the torch as it passed, and if armed with a powerful enough fire extinguisher, I'm sure I could've snuffed the flame. What the cops and army guys would do to me after, well..

There were also a lot of Mandarin speaking folks lining the route and waving Chinese flags.  I don't know if they flew in for the occasion or not, but they didn't seem like they lived here when I tried to speak to them.  

Events like these make me realize how odd it is to live in Saigon.  The Olympic Torch went through the city I was living in in 1988, but I hardly noticed it.  This time around, I left my abode to go searching for dinner and I stumble across the thing.  

No comments: