October Day parade and Khao Lak

It’s been a busy month.

First up, we had the 1st of October, 60-years-of-the-People’s-Republic celebrations, which were absolutely amazing. It’s all on YouTube if you want to see what the military cooked up – actually the whole thing was directed by the same Chinese film director that did the Olympic opening ceremony. It went on for hours – speeches, Hu Jintao inspecting the troops, the military march-past (including the airforce and navy, who paraded a huge destroyer out in the harbour), then the civilians did their march-past with floats.

I particularly like Hu Jintao, standing bolt upright in his Chinese limo, being driven along Chang’an inspecting the troops while sticking out of the sun-roof, at intervals bellowing “tongzhi men hao” (“hello comrades”) into the three microphones in front of him. He’s been going for quite a while before this video starts…

And the military march-past was also fantastic. Goose-stepping by troops specially selected for their height, and (in the female department) for their particular hotness, look terrific. You have to wait until about 1:21 into this clip for the goose-stepping to get underway.

Here are the women (note President Hu suddenly stops looking grim and starts waving and clapping excitedly).

In the middle of the clip above they cross to the nearby airforce base where the aircraft are all starting to take off – and then the tanks arrive…

I could go on and on (and will upload some photos of the airforce going past sometime) – but the whole thing was completely phenomenal. That night we went to a friends apartment on the 1-millionth floor of a nearby building and watched the fireworks.

One week later, we all flew down to Khao Lak to spend a week with Victoria. We’d booked this lovely ocean-front villa in a resort, and were pretty happy we did, because we spent most of the week inside – it rained the entire time, apart from Tuesday afternoon (when I got sunburnt) and Friday afternoon (when I was inside getting a massage). Toria saved us from certain madness by arriving each morning with supplies (beer, presents for the kids, mixers for the gin), helping with the kids and leading us off-resort for dinners. It was great to see where Toria has been spending all this time…. but pretty grim to see a huge police launch “beached” about 3 kilometers away from the foreshore – it was carried there by the Boxing Day Tsunami and has been left there as a reminder.

Photos for that coming soon…. and this post will need to continue tomorrow as I have to get ready for dinner immediately – I’m supposed to be at the car in 10 minutes.