The Not so Golden Mile
The Golden Mile is between Tianhe Stadium and the Pearl River !
Having driven a desk all day I was feeling pretty adventurous by the time 9pm rolled around. So I decided tonight would be the night I’d try to walk the Guangzhou Golden mile from end to end. A journey few men had gone before (at least in a suit).
Not put off by the inky black sky, the recent monsoonal downpours, the oppressive heat, the outrageously unsafe building site, or even the Italian leather shoes I was wearing, I set off.
I was delighted to find the first underpass navigable, the scaffolding now removed and access possible up the stairs. When I emerged to a soon to be completed beautiful plaza, with palm trees and paving, things were looking up.
I meandered amongst cranes and dozers and bare chested workers in thongs along a new wide path. The ditch we had encountered last time was now replaced by a curved concrete road, and I reveled in the balmy air as I passed a new lake, forest, grassy glades and wait for it – 10 new buildings under construction (I counted this time).
After a while the road petered out, trucks ahead blocked my passage. In the dim light I saw them pouring new concrete. Not to be daunted, a snooped around a found a trodden path across the mud to the far side where I could see in the distance a shimmering path. Within a foot of stepping on to it I noticed it was fresh concrete.
Most pleased I had averted certain disaster, but disappointed again my journey was now blocked,I began to turn back. It was then I noticed a tiny path of stepping stones up the garden across a hill, and I hoped to a clear run home from there. It was dark but possible.
I stepped out. Gingerly tip- toeing my way forward in the near dark. A couple more steps and I was going well. Just ahead I saw solid ground I was nearly home. One jump and I’d be there. One jump as it turned out from disaster. As I landed I felt my foot sink. Not that sliding slow sinking, but a drop to the bottom of the ocean type of sink. I gasped in horror as my left foot followed my right, and within a second I was up to my thighs in muddy concrete, mixed from a land slide over a new concrete path.
Jeez! As I sank from my thighs to my waist, my shock gave way to humour,then to humour, and now to despair. I could feel the sludge seeping into my shoes and pressing against my pants making them stick to my imprisoned legs.
I was still sinking, and I had no way of getting out. Visions of quicksand scenes from Lost In Space flashed through my mind. Being buried alive in concrete was meant for gangsters, not property developers who were supposed to know at least a thing or two about this kind of thing. As concrete and mud rose up to my back pocket, I reached out to a low hanging branch and grabbed on for dear life.
I was immensely thankful the government, who had so negligently failed to cordon off the area, had at least planted 80year old trees which had equally long branches to match.
The branch held me. Thank god. Then I flattened out in the mud and began pulling myself through. By the time a wrenched myself free I was exhausted and wringing in sweat, and covered in mud and grey concrete from head to toe. Only part of my back and top of my head escaped submersion. Spatters over my face were now rapidly hardening. .
My walk home was a sobering affair. Through the construction sites and workers camps, not a bare-chested worker, nor cigarette dragging truck driver, nor snaggle-toothed hunchback or street urchin or food vendor or washer- woman, failed to snigger at me as I walked past. The girls in the wash house burst in laughter as I slunk in to hose myself down, and only when I accidentally stepped around the corner to find three of their fellow workers naked in the shower.
At least that brought a smile back to my face. I had failed to make the golden mile.
At least this time. Now that is a story, lucky he was not pissed !
If you have a good story, I would love to get it !!!
cheers Wallaby Ted
PS who is this guy ??