Wow, it’s been quite a while, eh. I’d attempted to start writing a post twice in the past few months, but never got around to finishing either. Here I am again now, figuring better late than never to show those who haven’t gotten to visit me—and are curious—what I’ve been up to this past half year. Also, I’ve been prompted to post after seeing the revolting number of spam comments I’ve received during my downtime from the likes of “Portable Gas Grill” and “Chauncey Roscoe”.
Today is China’s National Day. These next three days are official holidays, and happen to be exactly when my three-day weekend falls (we are on a work 6, rest 3 schedule). This is unfortunate because working on a holiday in this country entitles you to triple pay. Even though my team gets to avoid dealing with the indubitably massive crowds over the holiday, we are pretty bitter about that.
Anyway. I’ve been avoiding the blog because by the time I had time to start a post, it was already quite late in the game and I didn’t know where to start. The last five months have flown by and soon, when it’s over and everyone has gone home and the pavilion is dismantled, it will feel like a strange and intricate dream. For now, because words are not coming easily to me, I will tell the story in pictures.
To start, here’s the Canada Pavilion. This is where I’ve been working the last five months:
Massive, isn’t it. It is lovingly covered all over with 4000m2 of Canadian red cedar boards, which gives off the most delightful scent in the rain.
As a “host”, I rotate on any given day through 6 areas inside and outside the pavilion. Here’s a breakdown, moving along the route a typical visitor would take through our pavilion.
This is where the people line up outside:
P10 and P4 greet these people and manage the “green access” line, which offers Canadians, other pavilion staff, extremely pregnant women, and people aged 75+, in wheelchairs, or with valid disability cards fast access (i.e. skip most of the line). We are also required to let in “friends” of the policemen who patrol in our vicinity, even though much of that involves money exchanging hands (their hands, not ours).
The green access is where we get either the most trouble or amusement. This is where those not quite 75 demonstrate their physical strength and relentlessness by pushing and yelling. Where plump 40-somethings claim they are pregnant by thrusting their gut in our faces. Where fights break out and our Chinese security guards are called traitors by fellow countrymen. This is where a lot of Americans and French people come up and claim they are Canadian who had “left their passports at the hotel”, only to be exposed via test questions such as “what is the capital of Nunavut?”. (The worst are the French: “mais je parle francais!” So?) On a good day, this is the most interesting place to be.
More to come soon! Off to get a much needed massage.