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Archive for the ‘China Trips’ Category

25 Jul – 15 Aug 2004: Nanjing, Jiangsu Province

Under the influence of the East Asia Monsoon, Nanjing adopts a humid sub-tropical climate. The four seasons in Nanjing are distinctive and summers can be very hot and muggy. Along with Wuhan and Chongqing, Nanjing is known as one of the “Three Furnace-like Cities” along the Yangtze River (长江流域三大火炉). Unfortunately, the weather was such when we were in Nanjing. As the temperature peaked at the noon, the power supplier quickly cut off the office air-conditioning to regulate and channel the electrical power usage for industrial use. Imagine working in an enclosed, poor-ventilated office with no air-conditioning. And the mini-fan was barely enough to dispense the intensive mid-day summer heat. I reckon it was likened HELL.    

 

Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum

Since I am away from home for such a long period, JL decides to accompany me in both Nanjing and Qingdao. As this is JL’s first trip to Nanjing, I recommended that she visited the most popular tourist spot – Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum.

The main challenge was scaling the 392 steps up to the mausoleum before the merciless summer heat slowed us down… 

At the end of the stairway is a tri-arched marble gate inscribed with four Chinese characters written by Dr. Sun, Tian Xia Wei Gong  (天下为公, which means “what is under the heaven is for everybody”). Behind the gate is a pavilion which houses the memorial monument.

A couple of stairs up from the pavilion is the Sacrificial Hall (祭堂). In the front hall is a pair of huabiao (华表), the ancient Chinese ornamental columns. A white-marble statue of Dr. Sun sits solemnly in the centre of the hall.

The ceiling of the sacrificial hall features the flag of the Kuomintang. And to the north of the hall lies a bell-shaped vault and wherein lies his sarcophagus. Dr. Sun was the the first provisional president of the Republic of China and had served as the leader of the Kuomintang.  Perhaps his only regret is to leave the world in 1925 before he could see his party consolidate its power over the country.

Shangri-la Dingshan Hotel

I had stayed in Sheraton Nanjing Hotel in my previous stays. On this trip, our accomodation was at the Shangri-la at Dingshan (香格里拉丁山). Located in a lush, expansive garden setting, this is one of the most elegant hotels in the historic city of Nanjing. The hotel enjoys tremendous popularity for its authentic oriental specialties at the Ming Yuen Restaurant (明园). One of my favourites is the “Knife Shaved Noodles”  (Dao xiao mian or 刀削面). The pasta is prepared fresh from a block of dough. The chef swiftly cut the dough into sawtoothed strips of pasta, which land into a waiting pot of boiling soup with condiments.

There was another night JL and I ate at a relatively unknown Japanese restaurant at the foot of Dingshan. We plucked our courage and order salmon sashimi. It was a very generous portion and we atetill our heart’s content only to realise later that it only costed us RMB 50!  After dinner, we passed by a fairly run-down place offering foot reflexology. The signboard wrote: One hour massage – only RMB 20! So, we went in for the service. The two lady masseurs were very skillful and we became the only 2 customers when the sky had a heavy downpour. Since, we were “stuck” in the storm, we extended the foot reflexology by another hour of shoulder and body massage. The sky was still pouring when we finished the massage. The masseurs call a cab to their shop and sheltered us all the way to the taxi. Despite how cold and wet we were, our hearts were filled with warmth and satisfaction. That stormy night, we had wonderful sweet dreams.

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20 Aug 2004: Qingdao, Shandong Province

This is the team whom I had been working together in China since May this year. Angel is a Hong Konger and her husband is a pilot; Liz comes from Guangzhou and loves to read; Priscilla is an independent lady from Shanghai with highly contagious laughters; Tony looks serious but is a very trusty and loyal friend in time of need; Martin is fun loving and receives his friends with an open heart (besides him is his demure and petite girlfriend, Sally) and lastly Eva, the youngest in the team but sometimes, she surprises you with her maturity.

Despite some diversities in our background and “slight” age difference, we are closely knitted and cohesive as a team – during work and in leisure. When they heard that JL is leaving Qingdao tomorrow, they specially hosted a farewell dinner for her here at this restaurant. Over the last few years, I have worked with many Chinese here, but this is certainly the team whom I enjoyed most working with and sharing fun. 

Thank you, my friends, for the nice thought!

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