Well, he’s a bit above sixty, but he professes to love what the Party has done for him and he was the most interesting person I found on the square. I only made it to square in the very last hours before they removed all of the displays that were there for the bash celebrating 60 years of progress and prosperity under the reds. New comfort and wealth is probably what made all the tourists on the square happy, but the October One event itself seemed more of an old school dictatorship-style parade celebrating military prowess, nukes and all.
Anyway, jet lagged, I raced to the square not long after arriving from the States, hoping to find all sorts of bizarre provincials wearing dramatically overwrought ensembles proclaiming their new treasures. I longed for LV print alligator-skin coats with chinchilla fur collars or people walking stylish poodles. Failing the horde of brazen arrivistes, I thought there would at least be packs of dainty lads with bleached blond hair, ass-tight black jeans, Jackie O style sunglasses, leopard print windbreakers, and zebra print scarves and the equivalent females. Previous forays into the provinces have yielded visual delicacies such as these. The square was instead filled with a group that showed to me that rising living standards have brought less risk taking in fashion. The provincials are not an exciting bunch compared even to Beijingers I encounter in the subway. The homogeneity of the crowd was almost like a return to Mao suits, but that would have had quite a bit more charm.