A rare snowstorm has hit Southern China and paralyzed the train system, leaving millions of passengers going home for Chinese New year stranded. Air travel has been affected less. Still, it took us three trips to the airport and two days' waiting before we got our boarding pass.
The airport is a mess--people sleeping on the floor, crowds pushing and shouting "We want to go home!", armed police in green uniform standing expressionlessly, and hoards after hoards of special police commando units in black uniform arriving at the scene to keep order. The communication system has totally broken down. No one knew which flight is coming and when. Passengers have to search counter by counter to find the agents issuing boarding passes for a particular flight. Agents refuse to admit if any flight has been cancelled depsite being shouted at. Last night, the jam-packed KFC ran out of food at midnight, and some say that there were 20-30k passengers stranded at the airport. Many commented that real life has finally caught up with Hollywood's imagination in the blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow.
Surprisingly, the chaos has conducted itself rather orderly. People pushed and shouted in unision only in short bursts. A few were arrested for disorderly behavior. A rather timid-looking armed police guard said: "Can't blame them. They've been waiting for a flight for over 30 hours now."
Perhaps a harmononious society is possible after all.