[For more videos by Anthony Trotter, view here: http://vimeo.com/user1170157]
I woke up early the following morning and visited the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Mao was head of the People's Republic of China and the country's most prominent communist from 1949 until his death in 1976. And despite Mao's wishes to be cremated, China had his body embalmed and quickly constructed the mausoleum after he died. The mausoleum is located in the middle of Tiananmen Square, and just a short walk from my hostel. I definitely wasn't going to miss the opportunity to view an embalmed corpse of one of the most influential albeit controversial figures in modern world history. The queue to the Mausoleum of Mao - which is available for viewing only a few hours each day - was exceptionally long. I mean really, REALLY long. The line was so long that I had difficulty locating the beginning of it which resembled a serpentine, curving in and around Tiananmen Square. [Watch below]
There were not enough security guards to patrol the sheer amount of people that formed the queue. Just imagine thousands upon thousands of ill-behaved Chinese shoving and overtly cutting their way in line, who, like untamed animals or young toddlers, couldn't control their impulses. Seriously. Why can't they? It's as if the growth or development of their minds have stunted or something. I was really getting annoyed with this parochial mentality. However, I'll hand it to the guards who were patrolling the "unpatrollable." They did the best that they could. Anyone who was caught cutting in line would be removed - and rightly so. What I didn't understand was why the people who were patiently waiting in line tolerate such behavior, and not say a single word?
You can best believe that I didn't tolerate it. One time I noticed a man - that's right, a grown man - waiting for the patrolman to turn around before he quickly ducked under the dividing rope and cut directly in front of me. I felt like I had won the lottery. I was waiting, just WAITING for someone to cut in front of me! I waited a few seconds to see if the people around me were going to say anything first.
"I don't think so, hombre," I told the man, before reaching around him, gripping his shirt and forcefully pushing him out of line. "Get out of here."
And do you know what? It worked. The man embarrassingly walked away with his tail tucked between his legs.
It took about an hour and a half before I entered the mausoleum. And despite the signs that read "silence" the security officers continued hollering and screaming at everyone to be quiet and to form proper lines. Not that I was offended or anything, I just thought it was humorous as I past Mao's eerily looking corpse. How weird.
Back at the hostel that night I used the Internet. But before I could use the Internet, I was forced to fork over a large deposit, equivalent to three hours spent on the Internet. I debated with the receptionist, and tried to understand why the hostel - as well as the rest of China - always require a large deposit before using anything. I knew she wouldn't know why, she was just following orders, but I just had to ask. Because maybe if enough people voice their dissatisfaction, the hostel will change its policy. Ya neva know.