Saturday, 13 June 2009
Sunday, 31 May 2009
We flew out on the 27th May, goodbye Nanjing. We arrived early in the afternoon so had the rest of the day do get some sights seen. We began with the classic Tian’anmen Square, a location infamous for student rallies back in the 80s protesting against the Communist government and where this famous photo was taken.
There really wasn’t much to see there, it was just a really big square (the largest square in the world apparently, as it was designed to hold 1 million people.
It also housed a museum/memorial hall for Chairman Mao, former Communist leader of China, which features his body buried inside for all to see but we weren’t interested in him so we moved on the next part in Beijing, the grand Olympic Stadium. Again, we didn’t go inside, it was enough to see it from the outside. The bird’s nest is pretty cool, all lit up red in the night and opposite is the Olympic Aquatic Center that looks like a building made of bubbles.
Star fish, Beetles, Grasshoppers, Sea horses and live scorpions on a stick.
The following day we went to visit the Summer Palace, a spot in Beijing where an Emperor from the Qing dynasty dedicated and transformed the land into a summer getaway for his mother’s 60th birthday, somewhere to go in the summer to keep cool. Before we arrived I thought it was just going to be another temple type thing but the place was massive! A massive lake, a large hill place and lots of different buildings to spend leisure time in. It was really beautiful, my favourite thing in Beijing. There are large dragon shaped boats that you can take across the river that are really cool and the one we were on had a little old guy, I’m not sure if he was part of the staff of just a sentimental old man, who was singing his little heart out. Very atmospheric, being on that boat crossing a large beautiful lake looking out onto traditional Chinese architecture and landscapes whilst an old veteran was singing a traditional old Chinese song.
That evening, Ono took us to find a street that shows very old Chinese houses. The area turned out to be a long street with cool side streets, full of restaurants and cool shops with retro toys, cool clothes and brilliant souvenirs. Too bad we were all already over out weight limit for our flight back otherwise we could have bought so many more cool things!
Friday morning saw us up at 5.30am and on a coach to the Great Wall. Not much needs to be said about it. It’s all in the name!
Saturday, 30 May 2009
Our last Sunday in Nanjing was spent at what I think is the most famous landmark of Nanjing, the landmark that most tourists come to see, since no one seems to know about the Nanjing Massacre, the tomb and mausoleum dedicated to Dr. Sun Yat Sen. He was an educated Chinese man, who had studied in China, Japan and America and caused a revolution in China which took down the Chinese Empire through violence. He introduced democracy to China, the people called him the “Father of Modern China”. He naturally became the President of China but wanted to hold a public election so that the people would decide who should lead. They all voted for him anyway. During World War II his party became weak and the Communist party became stronger, which lead to their take over.
The Mausoleum is situated within the Purple Mountain, our local mountain, which we climbed at New Year. You must walk ‘1000’ steps to get to the top, actually it’s only 392, thank God it was too, when we went there it was 30 degrees hot.
Next to the site of the mausoleum is an open-air music hall. It was very pretty but nothing much to report apart from the hundreds of doves that feed there. We could buy little packets of seeds to feed the birds with, so we were all doing Ace Ventura, ‘Come to me my jungle friends’. Although I didn’t feel too comfortable around them.
Some sculptures exhibited outside the museum, each based on real people from photos the Japanese took during the time.
It documents a major tragedy that happened in China’s history that I and no one I know has ever heard of! 300,000 Chinese people were violently murdered by invading Japanese soldiers.
It was a pretty somber place to say the least! It was interesting though, when we went into the grounds of the museum we were wondering why we felt so sad so soon. The site is cleverly designed with grey stone walls, straight sharp edges and melancholy music to give an overall atmosphere of depression.
The route of the museum takes us through the main exhibition with many photos taken by Japanese photographers, army artifacts, stories of survivors and memorials to people who were martyrs and foreigners who helped the locals.
After this cheery exhibit we walked out across the ‘mass grave of 10,000’ where thousands of bodies are buried below a pebble court.
Then into a small hall to see uncovered bones of killed Chinese people, openly displayed for everyone to see. Obviously, the general mood created by the museum is very depressing, so to lift everyone’s spirits again, there is a peace garden, with the message of, although all these terrible things happened, let’s learn from history and strive for peace in the future. A nice sentiment to leave with…from the Death Museum.