Arrived at Hankou train station this morning. The plaza and roads in front of the station are a mess, though the new facade, designed to look like old European buildings in the concession area, is an improvement over the old Social Realist look.
Spent at least half an hour in the taxi from the train station to Jianghan Lu, by far the longest that trip has ever taken. Total cost: 21 RMB.
Cheap taxi fare was the third sign I was back in Wuhan. The first was getting into the taxi, revealing to the driver that I was American, and listening to him go on and on about war, North Korea, Jews, American Indians, and the NBA. (Yes, his favorite team is the Rockets.) The second was watching two separate shouting/shoving matches between pedestrians and police during. The driver explained that in hot climates, people have hot tempers. Even in December, when its comfortably cool.
I checked into the hotel, cleaned up, and headed straight to my favorite hot and dry noodle shop, which is in an alley behind the People’s Paradise shopping center on Zhongshan Dadao. Excellent as always, as were the mianwo.
After that we walked back toward the Wanda shopping center. At one point a pigeon crapped from a ledge several floors above, missing me by inches and a fraction of a second. I thought how lucky I had been, but I would have happily endured a pigeon attack instead of what I saw next. Inside the Wanda area we noticed a few people standing around and staring at one of the shops. It was obvious something interesting had just happened. We walked closer and saw this:
It appeared that a man had raised himself up to the the glass plates, perhaps to wash them, and then fallen through. You can see a glimpse of him holding his head. The glass is well supported from below and don’t look like they’d just fall on their own accord. What appears to be a hydraulic lift is just to his left.
Here you can see part of the shattered glass that hasn’t yet fallen. (Also, the woman in front, with her skin-tight jeans, leather everything else, and thousand yard stare as she walks through the disaster area, was sign number four that I was back in Wuhan.)
This shows the that the injured man, and whoever is attending to him, are directly below the remaining section of glass. The man wasn’t exactly young, either — he looked to be in his fifties. And even though he was bleeding a bit (note the small red spot just in front of the coil of rope to his left), his most serious injuries likely came from the fall itself (during which he lost a shoe) rather than from the broken glass. He seemed dazed but somewhat conscious.
We gawked a bit with the others and were starting to walk away when we shouting. We ran back just in time to see a huge chunk of shattered glass fall down, right where he had been less than a minute earlier. The hunk of glass was probably three feet long and fell pointed side down, like a giant icicle.
This set off a panic, as the Wanda attendants realized how dangerous the situation was, and how close they had come to a real disaster. Several groups of reinforcements ran up and cordon off the danger zone and get control of the situation. Meanwhile short woman with the white hair was retelling others how she had kept telling the mall attendants to move the injured man out from under the glass.
All this before 10:30 in the morning!