Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Can Go the Distance

I walked across the Yangtze River today.

But first thing's first: 
My apartment building
My bedroom
Yes, my blanket is a little small for my bed, but it covers me and keeps me warm, so it's all good. But my pillows are amazing. I will definitely have to take them back to the States with me.

Since last week, I worked. My boss and I had a nice little chat about how they need to find more for me to do there. I went to a yoga class (got another trial one tomorrow). And I met the newest FT working at the other center, Karen. 

Karen, Nat, and I went touring in the city-center area yesterday. We went to the Provincial Museum, which was closed due to surrounding construction. Then walked to the Ming Ruins, which didn't look very ruin-y, but showed bases of where pillars of buildings used to stand. The sign implied that the ruins were a mini-version of the Forbidden City in Beijing - yet another reason to go there. We walked on; looking for a Communist Party building museum, couldn't find it, but ended up at the Presidential Palace, which was ridiculously large. We explored the museums there, saw some gardens - I don't think we saw half of it. I wonder what the people who built the large buildings did with all of the space, if they even used most of it.

Entrance to Presidential Palace

Model of entire Presidential Palace
From there we went to Nanjing 1912 - a series of historical buildings that have been transformed into a modern shopping, eating and nightclub area. Then we walked through the library (also very big and beautiful) to get to the metro to go home.
Statue and 1st building in 1912

Nanjing Library
Which brings us to today. I left the apartment and took a cab to the Yifeng Tower, which is at the top of Lion Rock Scenic Area. (Side note: China loves its scenic areas - tons of tourist sights in parks with beautiful views of the area, surrounded on the outside by shops, restaurants, and office buildings. Quite a contrast.) Anyway, when I entered I began walking along the Ming City Wall, until I realized it wasn't going to get me where I wanted to go, which was the tower, so I turned around and started climbing the steps. Eventually, I reached the tower, which, like most pagodas, was beautiful. I love the bright colors in which so many historic (sometimes "historic" - read: remodeled) buildings are painted. It's seven stories tall, and you have to go down a set of steps to enter the building, which houses portraits of the 16 Ming Dynasty emperors, artifacts of Ming Culture, a tourist shop, a 3-story tall porcelain mural depicting the travels of Zheng He (see previous entry on the Treasure Shipyards), a 24K gold dragon on the ceiling, and beautiful views of the Yangtze River and Nanjing. 

Yifeng Tower (back left)
24K Gold Ceiling Dragon
Zheng He mural

I continued to wander the scenic area for a bit longer. (In the distance, a street cleaning truck played "It's a Small World After All" - no kidding). I found a Cave for Hiding Soldier, which had a Buddha in the basement (I wonder if that was originally there), and some other neat sights. Next to/part of the Lion Rock scenic area is Jinghai Temple, which isn't really a temple, but a museum-esque series of buildings, where the Treaty of Nanjing (ending the Opium Wars in 1842) was signed. One of the buildings had a history of unfair treaties in China, which gave foreign countries control and power in China, which have now been re-signed so that China is self-empowered. I also stopped by YeiFei Gong Palace - the palace of the Heavenly Queen or something. It was ok, but the smaller, less known the site, the less English there is to explain what I'm seeing. I did see a Buddhist worship service at what I think was a temple for wealth, a neat dragon-turtle statue, and a blessing bell. Further along down the road in the scenic area were some stone lions, which you can see in a lot of places in Nanjing.

Largest marble tablet in China - "On Yifeng Tower"
Jinghai Temple
Tai Fei Gong Palace
Cool dragon-turtle with tablet
Then I took a cab (since I wasn't exactly sure how far it was) to the Yangtze River Bridge Park - there is a fee to enter the park and another to go up the tower, but not very expensive at all. Took the elevator to the top of the tower and began walking. It's a little less than a mile long, so it was a relatively short walk, except I stopped a lot to take pictures of all the carved murals on the bridge. 
Cool carving on the bridge (I like the contrast of old & new)
Where I started
Halfway across
From whence I came

It keeps getting more and more awesome. 

1 comment:

  1. So I know you said to look to the previous post about how Zeng He taveled a lot. But is he royalty in the Ming Dynasty? Why are there so many murals, etc. about him?

    And did your apt already have a bed for you to use? or did you buy one?