Wednesday, October 22, 2014

南京

I've returned from my whirlwind tour of Nanjing and find myself at a loss for what to say. So here are pictures from most of the places I went in my very full and exhausting days in the order in which they happened.

 
You know about all the Sun Yat-Sen business I saw Sunday as I explored Purple Mountain. Did I mention that I got lost between "scenic areas," at one point discovering a forgotten amusement park?
At Linggu Temple happy coexistence of Buddhist and Communist flags
and some memorials for which two dimensions were too few.
 
Swanky mall in the valley below had a bizarre interreligious sculpture.
That night I got lost in the shopping mall around the Confucius Temple.


On Monday I went to the vast expanse of the Presidential Palace, seat of China's first Republican government, many of whose rooms have
apparently not been disturbed since (more than a little hard to believe).
Before that it was the center of the Taiping Rebellion: throne room!
 
There are endless pretty courtyards and passages between the.
The extensive gardens are older still.
 
I haven't seen bamboo in a horzontal trellis like this before. But I was most charmed by this humble view in one of the old stables.In the afternoon I went almost to the end of one of Nanjing's 17 planned metro lines (the rest are already on the map, almost) to the
rather industrial new campus of Nanjing University, to meet a scholar.


 
Tuesday morning, a moist relief from the muggy heat and poor air of my first two days, took me to the linked islands of Xuanwu Lake, one area festooned with scores of red votive ribbons, anotherwith a misty view of Purple Mountain off in the distance.
Lunch - vegetarian! - was at Jinang Temple, the view of which from atop the ancient city wall is at the very start of this post.
From there I went to meet some French friends, and we took a journey into hell, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial with its vast cavernous museum. This is one of a series of sculptures you pass on your way in. December 13, 1937, Began the inhuman massacre! Unarmed and defenceless civilians, Flee, it implores, the only hope to survive!
A thirteen-year-old carrying his
grandmother who has died in the bombing.
Flee-flee-flee.












...
Their hotel was just across the street from a famous bookstore, Librairie Avant-Garde, that occupies a whole underground parking garage.


This morning, finally, I went to the Nanjing Museum, just reopened after a four year expansion, the most impressive one I've seen yet in China. It has treasures from every era, beautifully presented.
 
Some butterflies found their way to the potted flowers placed out front.
And finally home - here the bullet train arrives at Nanjing South Station.
Scenes from the trip - water and cities to the east, hills to the west.

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