A Day in Nanjing

After taking the bullet train to Nanjing we got in a cab and headed to the hostel. Like I said before, getting lost was an on-going problem during our trip and Nanjing was no exception. In fact Nanjing would be characterized by constantly getting lost.

When looking up the hostel’s address we got two addresses (I guess they moved), so I wrote both down. First we went to the totally wrong address. After getting in a cab again I miss-read the address for the second time. I thought the Hostel’s address was 38 but it was really 83. So it took us longer than expected to reach the hostel.

After putting our bags down we headed out to Mount Zijin. Mount Zijin is where the Sun Yatsen Mausoleum is. Sun Yatsen was a former leader of China who helped overthrow the Qin Dynasty. But of course we got lost again because we got off the bus at the wrong spot. We were still at Mount Zijin but in a different part. So we checked out the area and took a chair lift to the top. (It took a half-an-hour just to make it to the top by chair lift).

  

At the top of the mountain we hiked around. There were some pretty great views from the top and some cool sculptures as well. There we saw the largest Buddha statue south of the Yangzi River. You would think that it would be really old but in fact if was only built in ’95.

      

After leaving Mount Zijin, we waited for the bus to take us back into the city. But, it wouldn’t be Nanjing if we didn’t get lost so… we got on a bus that we thought would take us back to the center of the city but in fact took us further out into the middle of nowhere. We had to get in a taxi to take us back. We went to the Confucius Temple. It was a really cool area to walk around.

  

I went into a Confucian temple while Jen chilled outside. It was really fascinating to walk around. They had a lot of pictures and sculptures of Confucius and other people I didn’t know. It was very interesting.

   

They even had this “wishing tree” (I’m not sure if it is actually called that, I just don’t know the real name of it). People would buy these medallions, write a prayer on them, throw them into the tree, and hope that their prayer would come true.

  

The next day we wanted to go to the Nanjing Massacre Museum. We asked the manager at the hostel what bus to take and where to take it to. We found the bus OK and rode it to the end, like we were told. But the last stop was some deserted open field. We were lost again. So we had to get in a taxi and have him take us to the museum.

Many of you might not have heard about the Rape of Nanjing. In 1937, the Japanese invaded China and the Chinese army fled Nanjing leaving the local civilians behind. In the span of 6 weeks 300,000 people were murdered and countless women were raped by the Japanese soldiers. The Chinese view this event as their holocaust. And this is one of the main reasons that the Chinese still have so much animosity towards the Japanese to this day.

To honor their dead, they have built a museum. It is called the The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders (it’s interesting to see how there is a little dig at the Japanese). The museum was eerily familiar. It reminded me of the Holocaust museum in Washington DC and of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. I’m sure the Chinese took ideas from both places. Some of you might remember that in Yad Vashem they have stacks of binders with people’s information. They had the same thing in Nanjing. They even had an open grave with skeletal remains within the museum which was kind of weird. It was very well done and I recommend that if you have the chance, you should go.

     

After the museum, we hustled to the train station and got on the train the Hangzhou.

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About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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