300 million people travel for Chinese National Day Michael Sylvester

holiday-airport-travel-1.jpgIn addition to celebrating National Day, a new government stepping into power and eating and drinking too much with the family, 300 million Chinese will be doing some form or holiday travel next week.

Having been here for a decade, it still sounds like a damn big number -- and it is.  The kind of absurdly large number that makes you smile and shake your head a bit when you try to picture what it looks like.  I'm guessing a few of you are also shaking your heads in awe -- or making some kind of face.

Really!  300 million people all on the move at the same time?  That is the entire population of the United States all going somewhere at the same time.  Could all the gas stations have enough gas? Could all the roadside MdDonalds keep from running out of french fries?  What about the bathrooms in every rest stop, airport, trainstation, etc..?  It boggles the mind and in some way is only comprehensible as if it were some form of Monty Python skit. 

Yet, it is just another holiday weekend in the world's most populated country.  They have several each year with others like Chinese New Year being a bit bigger than the one this week.

The idea that made me want to sit down and scribble out a few words was this -- could that happen anywhere else in the world -- peacefully?  In India, perhaps?  They have a billion people too?  It seems unlikely.  What about Europe?  They have a great infrastructure, public trasnportation and the like.  Could 300 million people all go somewhere in the EU at the same time?  Probably not.

So, I would ask you to remember things like that when wrestling over the issue of what kind of relationship your country has with China.  Sure, there are messy things here -- corruption, pollution, socio-economic woes because of the immense wealth yet scores of dirt poor farmers and the divisions that froth to the surface because of that.

But there is also something human here.  Patience.  Accomodating all the others going to and fro so everyone can get where they are going.  We could all use a dose of that type of kindness as we scamper about living our individual lives.  

For here, there or anywhere, most folks are just going home to see Mom.