Sharon’s China Adventure Part 3
I will not say too much about our full day in Suzhou since I’ve made two blogposts on the UCC delegation page. Today we were up early and off on the bus to Nanjing. I don’t know if I have mentioned already but I have been surprised at the extent of English signage on the highways, streets and stores. It has helped to bridge the culture shock that I had anticipated. At the highway rest stop about half way in our journey we discovered such delights as Oreo cookies and designer shoes! Most of us were thrilled. It was the ideal combination of chocolate and fashion.Nanjing was the capital of China during the nationalist leadership of Sun Yat Sen. It is a large, modern city. We are staying at one of the main intersections in the downtown core where stores advertise the unexpected: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Rolex. and the like. Not exactly what I was expecting. After lunch at the hotel we were met by the local CCC/TSPM representative, Rev. David Shi. It was on to a new bus and off down Sun Yat Sen Avenue past the provincial library, museum and city gate. Curiously, Nanjing has the longest city wall in all of China. Beyond the walls is the Yangtze River which serves as a moat. I gather this was considered great protection in days gone by.We spent the bulk of the afternoon visiting the tomb of Sun Yat Sen. One must climb nearly 400 steps to ascend to the actual tomb. It is a simple but imposing structure made of gray granite with a blue tile roof. Each step represents one million of the people living in China at the time it was built. One of the members of our delegation, Maylanne Maybee of the Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg, has a special connection to China and Nanjing. Her grandfather was a medical professor in Beijing and was tasked with preparing Sun Yet Sen’s body after his death. Maylanne’s father was a Canadian diplomat in China until the Revolution in 1949. This is her first trip back.In the early evening we ventured to the Confusius Temple district. It was where scholars from across China would come in ancient times to be tested on their knowledge of philosophy. Today it is a vibrant shopping district. It is full of bright lights, rickshaw drivers and pick pockets. We got plenty of warnings about holding tight to our wallets.Tomorrow begins our two day conference at Nanjing Union Seminary. I will breath a lot easier at noon when my part is finished.You will be pleased to know that I ate noodle soup with chopsticks tonight. I have resisted the temptation to revert to ‘cutlery’ and it is paying off!