■ 22:15 (UTC+08:00), 28 OCT 2017 | CHN CHAOYANGMEN, BEIJING
The 2017 Beijing Foreign Language Festival was held in some of the weirdest weather ever. You’ll note that the huge billboard to my back was probably dented and pierced by some out-of-control toddler. That’s right, as we had to ensure nobody got hurt by equally maddening and out-of-control gusts — real, big-time heavy winds!
As a result we only had so many of us super-intrepid people braving the wind, but in full force they did come. For once, I was set free onstage by myself to talk about trains. Interestingly enough, we had the Beijing Subway do their bilingual shtick first before I went onstage (one of these days, I’ll teach the Subway people English as well… fingers crossed!) and took people on an imagined bilingual trip from Chaoyang Park out via the tube network to Beijing South, then onward to Shanghai.
With High Speed Rail being the way to get around now, we’re swearing by the trains more these days than at it (and the at it doesn’t happen a lot; they hardly ever run with horrendous delays. Mic pass now to the planes… Capital Airport… your worst nightmare…)…
Despite Ma Nature not at her sunniest and best, I did come, and so did the bilingual faithful, making this my fourth presence at the event, and the second where I had the entire stage to myself. (I’ll take that. I’m not a superstitious kind of person, but if I sang some mythical song and got the wind to stop going nuts and make the Sun come out… Or best, do this chant where you had the train pull up to your stage and get everyone to Shanghai…) ■ ■ ■