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Go Back to Tianjin: 50 Days After Explosion

Popularity 4Viewed 3038 times 2015-12-14 23:55 |Personal category:go|System category:News| Tianjin Explosion, coverage

1.


It is definitely not seized by a whim to go there.


I remembered it clearly that when the explosion occurred, I was writing an article for CNR in a hotel in Hangzhou. Not surprisingly as you may imagine, I did nothing but stayed up all night staring at my phone after the news broke out. Through the network, I saw the rolling smokes, the melting cars, the broken toys here and there. A DISASTER I could have never imagined.


To be honest, I wanted to go there the moment I got informed of the explosion. But it just didn't work out. 50 days later, on October 4th, I finally got enough time to go there, alone.



2.


When I left school, I only got a cellphone, a notebook, a pen and a wallet with me. I gave a call to my mother but she didn’t answer. Then I took the subway from CUC to Beijing South Railway Station and bought a ticket towards Tianjin.


Since it’s the National Day Holiday, Beijing South Railway Station was jam-packed by people. While waiting for the train, I happened to sit beside several people chatting with each other in Tianjin accent. They were talking about jobs, friends’ marriages, newborn babies and so on in a light tone. Their faces were as happy and peaceful as any others in the railway station. I couldn’t tell whether the explosion had left any marks on them. I could hardly feel any sorrow or misery left by the explosion.


Maybe I was just a little bit too sensitive.


△ A monkey on the baggage, in the possession of a little boy

It took about 1 hour to Tianjin. 3pm, I arrived at Tianjin Railway Station and directly transferred to Tanggu District, the core area of the horrible explosion. When in the train, I couldn’t stop wondering what I will see there, what I want to see there, what I am looking for. I couldn’t give the answer. 


I told my best friend that I was on the way to Tanggu, his first response was, “Oh, you must be crazy!” and tried again and again to persuade me to stop my adventure. He said that it was too dangerous for one person, especially female, to enter an area probably full of noxious gases and radiation. I really appreciated his considerations. However, instead of being safe, I did hope that my journey this time can be more dangerous and challenging.



3.

Tianjin was as smoggy as Beijing that day. 


After a forty-minute walk, I arrived at a viaduct. The guide board showed that in front of me was the Binhai International Convention and Exhibition Center. Right across from the street, that's the most damaged  neighbourhoods.

So far, I knew that I had been in the surrounding area of the explosion. I got it.




4.

The scar of the explosion disaster was still there.

Everything was wrapped by the segregation board, like huge bandages around.  I didn't encounter any block by police or other officials. Walking along the main road, on my left was the Binhai International Convention and Exhibition Center where had been sealed up. I had no idea what it was inside. It was said that the building got out of use by the explosion and was now in decoration. On the other side, the right side, wrecked building with mouthlike broken mirrors was standing silently. Seeing this, I could still  feel the tremendous power of the explosion even after 50 days.


That's just the surrounding area of the explosion.






5.

Move on.

According to the map, I was indeed getting closer and close to the core area of the explosion, while there were less and less people passing by. I began to be obviously overwelmed by the sense of emptiness. I could see cars and vehicles parking along the road, but there was no people. And it's quiet here. No popularity.

That was a very very strange scene. Having cars, losing people.




Another 5 or 10 minutes later, I finally arrived at Tianbin Apartment. That's to say, I was right in the core area of the explosion. But from the apartment, I lost my way. I couldn't find out where the exact explosion point "Ruihai International logistics company" as shown on the mapeven the layout was totally different.


Time was late. I was not bold enough to move on. So I decided to go out.




7.

Honestly speaking, this short journey left me a great shock.

As a journalist, maybe the only thing I can do is to go to the scene. To see, to tell, to remember.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

Eggs

Flowers

Shake hands

Ray
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Comment Comment (9 comments)

Reply Report Igo 2015-12-15 10:50
Good observation! Stay safe, wherever you go.
Reply Report Yuannn 2015-12-15 18:10
Igo: Good observation! Stay safe, wherever you go.
Tianjin is actually far more safe than I thought. Anyway, even hit by disaster, we people will struggle on.
Reply Report Yuannn 2015-12-15 18:14
Igo: Good observation! Stay safe, wherever you go.
thank you ❤ so much!
Reply Report Igo 2015-12-16 09:03
Yuannn: Tianjin is actually far more safe than I thought. Anyway, even hit by disaster, we people will struggle on.
Way to go! Keep up!
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2015-12-20 16:36
I am curious as to why there is no more information about the prosecution of the owners of the warehouse.
They were responsible for many deaths and a lot of destruction.
Reply Report Yuannn 2015-12-21 08:22
BlondeAmber: I am curious as to why there is no more information about the prosecution of the owners of the warehouse.
They were responsible for many deaths and a  ...
Actually, I did try a lot to find people who suffered from the explosion to have an interview, but it's disappointing that no one wanted to be interviewed. Even the taxi drivers said that they hardly go to the area after the explosion, neither they knew the follow-up things.
Reply Report MichaelM 2015-12-25 17:47
Yuannn, you have good article/blog. Sonia at CD asked me to comment regarding your English language usage and skills. Please accept my comments in the interest of only wanting to help you improve your English writing skills.

One problem that you and most Chinese English students are challenged by is verb tenses. These are not easy for Chinese students due to the lack of such verb tenses in the Chinese language. For example, 'I couldn’t stop wondering what I will see there' should be, 'I couldn't stop wondering what I would see there.'  Also, you said, ' I did nothing but stayed up all night staring at my phone '; should be, "I did nothing but stay up all night, staring at my phone." If you want more input, contact me privately and I'll be happy to help you. It is a good article and gives me personally a lot of insight into what happened there. Good job!
Reply Report xyMspanda 2015-12-25 18:21
When the explosion occurred,my family were shocked and felt misery for our compatriots.But we couldn't do anything to help them just wished everything will be all right.
I am a sophomore majoring in Business English.I opened my first blog few days ago.And I have learnt more from here.I feel fantastic that I could read your article to study more that I can't learn from the class.
Reply Report Yuannn 2015-12-26 11:24
xyMspanda: When the explosion occurred,my family were shocked and felt misery for our compatriots.But we couldn't do anything to help them just wished everything ...
    to come, to see, to record — maybe that's what I, as a journalist, want to do for all my lifetime

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