|Art class at East Beijing Road Elementary School, Nanjing|
It’s a bright and beautiful place, boldly stepping into the future of China and the world, as I would soon learn. Hey, there’s an H& M here and a Ritz-Carlton hotel under construction. Also, they’re super excited about being chosen as the site of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
|View from the backseat of cab. Nanjing at night. |
Riding alone I made sure to have my intended destination
written on a card in Chinese. I can fake Italian and French
but can't fake Chinese.
|Nanjing is ready to welcome you!|
An evening cruise in a painted boat past temples, palaces, pagodas and dragons on walls all lit up with brightly colored neon lights on Qinhuai River took me back in time to old China as we sipped hot tea in the cold December night.
|Conference tables and talks around them are high art in China.|
|Yup, that's my view of Nanjing. Former President Jimmy Carter was apparently there this day.|
Our days were focused on meeting students and teachers at schools from kindergarten to college.
|Sissel McCarthy of Emory University with me and festive students at Jingling High School|
|Cutest kids at Nanjing Gulou Kindergarten founded in 1923|
|I swore I wouldn't eat anything that looked like an eyeball|
The evenings brought Chinese and U.S. journalists and academics together for extravagant dinners. The most memorable moments of Chinese hospitality and cultural exchange involved the sharing of food and drink. “We’re a city of books and cooks,” explains Nanjing native Liu Kang who is the Director of Chinese Studies Center at Duke University and Dean of the Institute of Arts and Humanities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
|Prof Liu Kang and I at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum|
We climbed the 392 steps to the top and back down again.
A good thing to do to prepare for yet another glorious banquet!
|Daniel Wagner and Gary Xu favorites to win the Lazy Susan Chinese Banquet Contest|
|Salted Duck shows up on every Nanjing table|
|Expertly carved vegetables|
|Fresh water fish in light soy|
|Food and Beverage Director Giuseppe Losciale oversees|
the highest restaurant in Nanjing
|Duck Blood Soup and Dynasty Wine|
|Brave Barbara Ortutay readies her banquet worthy napkin for another spin of the Lazy Susan|
|Nanjing Impressions is one of Sissel McCarthy's favorite Nanjing restaurants because,|
"You can watch them prepare the dishes at stations and learn a bit more about what you're eating."
|For some reason I don't have any toasting shots, but I here's what we call a "Banquet Aftermath" photo.|
|An elaborate display for delicious dish we named "Squirrel Fish"|
|More Banquet Glory. This elegant meal was served at The Intercontinental Hotel|
|The Farmer's Delight; part of the breakfast buffet at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nanjing|
There’s a 13 hour time difference between Nanjing and Atlanta and I got kind of messed up the very first day because even though we left on a Monday, apparently we totally skipped Tuesday and I woke up to discover it was already Wednesday. I didn’t realize the effect of crossing the International Dateline. Oh well, everyone promised we’d get the day back when we returned home. Whatever. All I know is that I woke up most mornings at 4am Nanjing time ready to roll. Swimming helped and the hotel had a beautiful indoor pool where I swam laps at 5am in the quiet darkness. The pool and spa didn’t officially open until 6am but I just walked around the velvet rope thing. There were plenty of towels and I had my pick of lounge chairs.
|Wonder what's inside? You'll just have to try these dumplings to find out.|
What really caught my eye was the collection of bamboo steamers on a table marked “Farmers Delight.” Lifting the basket lids one by one revealed each contained a different steamed vegetable. Orange squash, purple yams, yellow corn. Who needs corn flakes when you can eat corn on the cob for breakfast. A lot of folks did. I had an omelet with vegetables and a side of bacon with a slice of that German bread.
|It's a rare sight in Chinese cities to glimpse reminders of poorer times.|
But today there are actually a lot of fat kids. Rates of obesity and diabetes are unfortunately increasing in China with the influx of western style fast food and less physical activity in a computer screen world.
|McDonald's delivery guy in Nanjing|
It doesn’t help that the Chinese rule “one couple, one child” has also spawned a lot of pampering of those kids and with two sets of grandparents there’s a lot of ‘have another treat’ going on.
|Delicious lunch at Nanjing Lishui School. Tomatoes grown at the school!|
|Lots of veggies at Jinling|
|She loves Taylor Swift|
|Super smart kids at Jinling High School|
I told them to stop studying so much so the American kids can catch up!
|You've got a friend!|
Yue helped me convert RMB prices into US dollars.
Bonus! It's a sale day with 50% off!
I could figure that out.
But the most fun I had was shopping with my new Chinese journalist friend, Zhang Yue a reporter with China Daily in Beijing.
|Zhang Yue, reporter with China Daily, looks even more petite|
next a giant shoe outside the department store.
We went to a busy Chinese department store that was kind of like Bloomingdale’s with two whole floors of shoes and boots. We both bought coats in a hip section of the store. She got a cute beige wool coat with a flirty flouncy hemline and I got what I had my eye on all week!
Chinese girls were wearing these quilted down coats with fur collars and I found the one I wanted.
It’s knee length in ivory with a brown fur collar.
|Ok I'll tell you! Cost about $130|
It will keep me warm this winter and remind me of Nanjing, the city of books and cooks and fashionable looks.
Speaking of books.......