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Friday, Oct. 28, 2016


Posted Thursday, July 14, 2011, at 7:32 AM

Day 5:

Today we finally saw the rain. I know Tennessee is hot and humid right now, but don't think we are missing out. It is very humid in Nanjing today. We drove 3.5 hours from Suzhou and Nanjing. At our restroom stops Garrett bought some Chinese candy. He pointed out there were no Snickers, Milky-ways or Milk Duds. There are no candy bars here, just little boxes of bite sized hard candy. Our Chinese guide, Oscar, rode up front in the bus beside me and Garrett. After several grilling questions, he was able to drill in my mind just how complex and difficult writing in Chinese really is. I see first hand why they are requiring their children to learn English. Our guide could write in cursive English. He knew over 10,000 English words. He plans to visit the USA as a tour guide. This trip is not so much about what I see, it's more about learning and understanding a little more about the Chinese culture. But more importantly, it's about how the United States can compete economically with China on the international job market.

As we drove into Nanjing, we passed through a city wall. Apparently about 600-years ago, the dynasty that controlled the city constructed a huge fortified wall completely surrounding the city. Now, this is no little wall. This thing is 60 to 75 feet tall, and miles long! I think our guide said it took well over 100,000 men 30-years to build it. The wall follows the banks of the Yangzi river and meanders around the ancient city. The government has managed to keep most of the wall intact but this city has expanded much further than the original walls.

We arrived in Nanjing in time for another delicious Chinese lunch. More duck, steamed cabbage, lots of rice and other traditional chinese dishes. Yum, Yum. I feel confident I have already lost 5 pounds. After lunch we drove to the Nanjing Massacre Museum. This museum was built to display and to dedicate articles and memories of a 1937 Japanese attack on Nanjing. During this 90-day occupation of Nanjing, the Japanese soldiers destroyed the city and killed over 300,000 Chinese. This was a terribly inhuman occupation that included countless rapes, beheading contests and the killing of innocent children. I have noticed that many of the local Chinese do not have kind words for the Japanese.

Following the memorial, we enjoyed more silk looming. We have expanded to embroidery and the making of very decorative gowns and cloth. We watched very skilled workers loom very decorative material that would take 2 workers over 2-months, 8-hour days and 5-days per week to finish. I do not have the patience to hardly watch!

Our day was long and we were tired, but we managed to squeeze in one more destination. We went to the tomb of Sun Zhongshan. By many, he is considered the father of modern China. He united the dynasties of China and formed what is now the Republic of China. He made himself president. He died in 1925 and his son built this huge spiraling memorial that includes his tomb. This memorial is part of a birch-tree lined National Park.

Finally, our day formally concluded with another traditional Chinese dinner... duck, rice and all the trimmings. On the way back to our hotel someone spotted a "Pizza Hut". Yes, China has Pizza Hut and yes we ate pizza.

One of the things that are striking about China is the impressive infrastructure. The streets, highways, and other infrastructure are high quality and help keep the Chinese economy humming. It's an important lesson for us back home and brings to mind the importance of finishing the Northwest Tennessee port and I-69 in our community to open us up for more economic opportunities.

Oh, as to the religion of the area. Prior to my visit, someone from home commented that the Chinese repressed Christianity. I saw a Christian Church and asked our guide about the accusation. She was quick to point out that all religions were practiced in China and the Protestant religions are growing. I hope to maybe visit a church to see if that is true.

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