Saturday, December 30, 2006
Nanjing - 南京
October 3rd: Said my goodbyes to Mikey. National Holidays. Like any long holidays in China, train tickets are hard to come by so I had to settle for the slow, stuffy, smokey, crowded, dirty, litter-filled hard seat train to Nanjing. A ride that should have taken three hours from Shanghai, took almost six hours. Hung out in Nanjing for four days with my cousin, his girlfriend and her family. Great to be able to chill with the cos before school starts.

One of the capitals of ancient China, it was the first and only city south of the Yangzi River to preside over a united China. In the early half of the 20th century, the city ruled a fragmented Republic of China led by Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek. The city has moved on but has not forgotten its turbulent past. Nanjing, also known as Nanking, houses scores of historic sites. Nanjing was also made famous in the West after the WWII atrocities came to light. Too many stories and too much history for me to handle.

Zhongshanling (中山陵). The grand mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen resides here. Dr. Sun and his revolutionary cause is widely respected by all Chinese so a mausoleum befit for a king was built in memory of him. The site has become a pilgrimage site for thousands of Chinese--it is said that every Chinese must visit him at least once in their lifetime.













The area around Fuzimiao (Confucius) Temple (夫子庙). The street is closed off to vehicular traffic and turned into a shopping district. The riverbanks are lit up like so many riverbanks in China are.












Zhonghua Gate (中华门). A very well preserved piece of the old Nanjing wall built during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. The gate is grand and smartly built, one of the more magnificent gates I've seen during my travels in China. The observation platform provides a panoramic view of the city.

The Yangzi River Bridge (南京长江大桥). This would be the second bridge built to cross the great Yangzi. The first one was built with the help of Soviet engineers. When this bridge was to be built, Soviet and Chinese relationship was cooled off, so this would be the first fully Chinese built bridge across the Yangzi. The top level is for cars and the lower level for the trains--when you take a train to Beijing, Xi'an and anywhere West along this route, you will cross this bridge.











Left: Wangji dan (旺鸡蛋). A Nanjing speciality. I don't need to explain but it was cooked, not alive. The eye kept on staring at me while I chucked this thing back. It tastes a little like a salty yolk. I didn't find it any special.
Right: Hairy crab (大闸蟹). The famous Shanghai hairy crab (actually, it's a speciality from Suzhou but who's counting.) This was good. Good. Very good.

Big thanks goes to my cousin and his girlfriend's family for showing us around. It was great seeing my cousin again--who knows when we'll meet again. Well, back to school.

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