The crowds were assembled, the flags were being waved, and the nationalism was fervent — Shanghai was ready for the torch relay. We’d got up nice and early, aiming for People’s Square but, due to the volume of people, only making it as far as the corner of Tibet Road (yeah, we know). After waiting in the strong early morning sun for a couple of hours, the chants of “中国加油!“ (“Come on China!”) got louder and louder until a buzz went around the crowd that the torch was on its way towards us.
As the procession of sponsor vans and lorries drove past, with Coca-Cola and Samsung employees waving giddily as if everyone was there to see them, the tension rose and everyone craned their necks to get a glimpse of the sacred flame. And then… nothing. A bus in Olympic livery with people dressed in the red and white t-shirts of the torch bearers went past and then the police and soldiers let everyone back onto the streets, leaving us slightly bewildered and more than a little pissed off.
We asked around to see what had just happened and one guy told us that according to the map in this morning’s paper, this part of the relay was done by bus. “By bus?!” “Yep,” he said, “some bits are done by bus and some are run by people”. So why had all these people turned out if they knew it was just going to be on a bus? No-one seemed too bothered and appeared to be returning home happy. Were we the only ones left disappointed by the lack of a torch in the torch relay?
Apparently not. One anonymous commenter left this verdict on our Contribute page:
“cops and PLA blocked us 老百姓 from seeing the torch – what a SHAM”
whilst Shanghaiist user Shangers had this to say:
“Our building overlooks Century Boulevard in Pudong and all we saw were some sponsor floats and loads of officially looking vehicles fleeing down the broad avenue – no torch in sight.”
Hmm, seems you need to pick your spot carefully tomorrow if you want to actually see the Olympic flame then. Some people did manage to get a look at the torch, judging from Shanghai dear Edward‘s photo in the gallery (the last one), although judging by the photo, it wasn’t exactly a close up look.
Here’s the road closures and traffic info for tomorrow (although we suggest you look for a map in the morning papers before you set out):
1, Xuhui District
6:30 to 8:00, Caoxi Lu (Zhongshan West Lu to Nandan Lu), Lingling Lu (Tianyaoqiao Lu to Caoxi Bei Lu), Xietu Lu (Tianyueqiao Lu to Lingling Lu)
2, Minhang District
7:30 to 10:00, Jianchuan Lu (to Hong Mei South Lu), Lianhua Lu (to Dongchuan Lu), Dongchuan Lu (to Hong Mei South Lu)
3, Jiading District
14:00 to 17:00, Moyu Lu – Caoan Lu – Yutian Lu – Bo Yuen Lu
Did you see the torch today? If so let us know below and if you have a photo please send it to us (it might be the only way we get to see the torch in Shanghai).
Video taken in the morning before torch relay from Matt Seigal