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China Cuture Tour, Nanjing

Last updated by John at 2008/4/28; Destinations:

We were spending a few days in Nanjing, capital of eastern China's Jiangsu province last year.

Little did I know that the train stopped at a different railway station. At the west station rather than the main station. So cannot find the bus and resort to a taxi. There seems to be an abundance of westerners here (although this is probably relative...), but everything is still Chinese.

We spent the rest of that day doing nothing except stumbling from building site to building site. Each site was meant to have something useful once-upon-a-time - foreign language bookshop, internet, booking office, tourist sites.

The next day we took a taxi for the Museum of the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre. A rather grisly place commemorates the 300,000 Chinese who were slaughtered (in about a month) when the Japanese army invaded and occupied Nanjing in 1937. There were delights such as actual excavated grave sites with skeletons still in place - I don't think I'd seen a human skeleton younger than Egyptian before today. You could see nails and bayonet wounds in them still, and they were all packed on top of each other. They also had a horrific photo-gallery with pictures of people getting beheaded or massacred or raped. They certainly didn't pull any punches in what they put up. I'm kind of curious to see whether any Japanese people, or possibly even delegations, have gone through. They also had what looked like a temporary display about the chemical weapons that they are still finding in China today - there was fairly large-scale testing and use of them by the Japanese during the occupation as well.

In the afternoon, we went to a Chinese tea garden which was beautiful. We watched traditional Chinese acrobats and Chinese musicians and drank jasmine tea and wandered around in the sunshine.

We rented a bike riding to the check out the zhonghua gate. It's a pretty big gate, so I sort of just had a wander around up there looking at the view and checking out all the bricks, Which was a bit more interesting that what it sounds. It's a pretty grand structure, still in good condition. Both of I and Lucia liked the place so much that we shot a lot of pics. We then headed for the Purple Mountain (the Chinese call it zijinshan but no reason was given why so named). Quite a nice little wander as it turns out - forest walks refreshingly absent of honking and spitting. We actually went to see Dr Sun's tomb - he's regarded as the father of modern China and it's a bit of a Chinese pilgrimage to see the tomb. Then a rather hairy ride over to the Filial Tomb of the Ming Dynasty. But we found nothing special here, some big walls and some ruins. That's all. It was really a bit disappointed, especially for the 50 RMB.

We went to a local restaurant at that night. We ordered ourselves a kind of duck dish called Xianshui duck-a famous local cuisine. Strangely while we were enjoying our food, the nanjingners were admiring me. They gazed at us, some even goggling. Yes we had different faces, hairs which maybe great fun to them.

We spent our final day here wandering the Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao). They had various disciples lined up, and then a rather ornate temple, with some great jade landscapes pictures lining the walls. A big bell and a big drum, some museum pieces (with Chinese labels) similar to what we saw in Xi?'an. A River called Qinhuai River flows nearby. The area on shore was said to be a bustling red-light place in the Ming and Qing dynasties. We saw well-preserved traditional Chinese architectures and groups of tourists.