[update: not all of the photos are showing but I will try again later]
Ahh… It has been a long day. These past three days has been productive– in terms of sight seeing, eating food (!!!), and soaking up the cultural environment.
Two days ago, my tang jie (cousin: dad’s sister’s daughter) traveled with us by subway (there’s so many of them here, cheap, comfortable, and super convenient) to see Nanjing’s renowned Museum that took 8 years to build and another 4 years of renovation. We took what was supposedly a short cut through the nooks and crannies of the tawdrier places of Nanjing but ended up sort of lost. By the time we got back on track, the place was going to close soon and since there was a lot to see there, we decided to Xinjiekou (literally translated to: new street opening) which is also Nanjing’s famous shopping district. Walking into the building is like walking into an iceberg in a desert. The AC, the glittering black marbles, and shiny mirrors, all hit us too suddenly. The multi-storied shopping building mainly carried luxurious stores like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, etc. that we obviously could not afford. There were also stores that were more affordable though. However, we went straight to the top floor to have our long overdue lunch. The restaurant was absolutely amazing! The entire atmosphere of the place itself is like traveling back in time to the top of the Great Wall. We had to climb up “stone” stairs while a man dressed as a lobster-man-soldier stood aside. On top, every worker is dressed in old styled cloaks, every small table was 6 sided and surrounded by 6 equally antique-looking chairs. Here are pictures because I can’t cover the description in enough words.
The food was just as good as it looked, if not better! My favorite was the sweet, jelly-consistency red bean soup with very small tangyuan balls and this small type of flower for flavor. The first spoonful was heaven. A must try if you are ever here.
After our meal, we went shopping in the district. There is a great range in the pricing of the goods, as well as the stuff that was available. One of my favorite things that I got was this water bottle from this huge goodie store called San Fu.
The next day, which was yesterday, we actually went to the Nanjing Museum, but not before I got a trim. It turned out pretty nice but only because the more experienced guy cut it, which we didn’t know at first until the bill came– 2X as much as was advertised on the window! Haven’t had short hair in a while and it does feel nice.
As I was saying, Nanjing museum had so much more than I had expected. It was gigantic, and held so many artifacts (even bones of ancient people still not dug out completely). Here are some pictures. I probably have to admit that I am a little too into admiring these artifacts; I lingered in each room for too long that I got lost twice. (Okay. I tried to upload the photos here three times but every time the internet crashed… An omen?)
My favorite part of the museum was the miniature “Old Shanghai” kind of a place but it is called “Ming dai”which is a replica of the 1910-1920s (I think the Roaring 20s was not only in America) Chinese streets. This was the era of Sun Zhong San, the man who helped the Qing Dynasty end and form the modern society. I fall head over heels for these sort of things. There were traditional Chinese candies for sale in the little shops, one of them being “Rat Poop candy” –don’t get me wrong, they are not made of actual rat poop; just citric-fruit-zest, orange peels, and some other ingredients. It was the candy I was searching for almost a decade since I last had it at a friends’ house in Toronto. My mom bought a bunch of other candy (one of which was way too sweet for me).
We wondered down memory lane but we were stopped at a corner because the museum was closing. Already?! We only toured 1.5 buildings out of 8 in 4 hours?? Someday, I will come back and finish taking in history with my eyes.
Afterwards, on our way to the Nanjing Library, we bought some fresh and sweet mi gao (sort of like soft, mashed up rice cake with a thin layer of filling in the middle) with black sesame, green tea, and the miniature aromatic flowers (that I was talking about in the Tangyuan soup). It was super filling and delicious. I want to try making it when I get back home.
Alright, time to stop for now and catch up on summer assignments! Tomorrow, I will share what happened today at the magnificent Sun Zhongsan monseuleum and the Ming dynasty (approx. 1300-1400s) tombs!