Published: October 17th 2009October 17th 2009
We spent most of today sightseeing and shopping in Nanjing. We began the day at the Gan Xi residence and Folk Custom Museum, the former home of a famous scholar and his family from the Qing dynasty. This residence is similar in style to the residence that we visited in Suzhou. This home, however, is much larger. And it has a number of local craftsmen who produce various goods and sell them.
We then took a 10-minute walk to the gardens/residence of a of an emperor from the Ming dynasty. The emperor gave this residence to his top general. We had a tour guide who escorted us through the property. Many walkways have bends in them in order to ward off evil spirits. The spirits are unable apparently to turn around. We also learned that wisteria was a royal plant and the emperor was the only person allowed to grow them. The penalty for being caught with it was death.
We walked to the nearby McDonald’s for lunch then toured the Confucius Temple. This particular Confucius temple is considered to be one of the best in the country. We ended our day in the local markets just outside the temple.
They gave us a chance to test our bargaining skills - some of us were better than others. But we were all able to pick up some great souvenirs.
Once we finished shopping, we finally had a chance to ride in a taxi. As I’ve written before, I love their driving. It’s awesome
! When our driver first started out, he had to make a left turn. The problem was that there was so much oncoming traffic. His solution? Just start driving in the far left lane, forcing the oncoming traffic into the center. He did the same thing when we were a block from hotel. Instead of waiting in the long line of vehicles, he just made his own lane in the oncoming traffic. Why can’t we do the same thing in the US?!
Back at the hotel, I had about an hour and a half to pack and wrap going away presents for Dr. Hua and Lisa. The president and vice president of JIE joined us for our final dinner. I joined a number of teachers and fellows at the quiet table for dinner. We refrained from the Chinese wine and had a quiet evening. The other
table wasn’t so lucky. Our Chinese hosts engaged them in a long evening of toasting. At the end of the meal, Jon gave quite a nice speech thanking everyone for their involvement, especially Lynn and Dr. Hua for their efforts in making the week a success.
Our restaurant, by the way, was in a building across the street from a skyscraper that I’ve been looking at all week. I wasn’t able to catch its name but I did hear that it is the tallest building in Jiangsu and the 7th tallest building in China.
We had a brief bus ride back to the hotel then ventured back to the supermarket for some last-minute snacks and candy.
Tomorrow we all go our separate ways. I’ll travel with the teachers, Leo, and Jackie to Beijing. Jon, Mariah, and Ming head to Guangzhou. And Helen flies to Harbin before going to Shanghai. The fellows will begin their research collaboration while the teachers and I see some of the sights in Beijing.
One final note: as Im preparing this entry, I have CCTV9 on the TV in the background. I just happened to catch the sports reporter utter this statement
in reference to a professional soccer team. "Their success has yet to match their enthusiasm for the game."
There are more photos below