Sunday, 23 August 2009

I got a crush on you

This is in the Forbidden Palace, just outside the main throne room. The crush is fully as bad as it looks, and then a bit worse, I confess to having been more than a little frightened. In a strange way I suppose this was the first moment that the underlying difference in culture really came home. Snails for breakfast is one thing, viewing this kind of behaviour asa normal or acceptable, and the mindset that lets it happen is another.

We had hired a private guide for this visit, which substantially improved our experience. She was able to provide the background and to work our way around the crowds rather than through them. When I asked her, "Isn't this dangerous here? Aren't people going to get hurt?" Her answer was "Oh yes, they do, quite often". There is a way that the cavalier disregard for Health & Safety is almost comforting, but when it comes down to it, if I had to choose between this or our own (somewhat-over)nanny state approach, safety would win. It's just a shame there isn't a happier medium.

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