Thursday, October 02, 2008

Mobile Telescopes

Have you driven a telescope before? I wouldn’t mind giving it a try. It surely looked impressive with a big gun behind and above you.

It is actually a thriving business in Xian. After dark, operators would drive these mobile teelscopes over to the square next to the Drum Tower, set them up, and charge people for peering through them. I have not seen them in other cities yet. But I do not travel that much.

When a team of these green laser-guided telescopes were set up pointing at the night sky, they made an impressive sight. They certainly drew quite a crowd.

Two years ago, when I saw them for the first time, they were scattered on the big square between the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower. This year, I found them on the street next to the Drum Tower, probably driven away from the square by the police. Less then 5 minutes after we found them, surely enough, the police arrived and drove them away. In another 5 minutes, however, they converged again on the Drum Tower. Free market forces seemed to be thriving.

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