Sister City - Nanjing
After a peaceful night of sleep in a commodious
room, I was well rested and ready to take on the better part of
Nanjing. Our first stop was the Nanjing City Hall. We weren't
scheduled to do much at the city hall except sit in on a short
meeting between Dr. Tai and the Nanjing officials. They talked
about the benefits of the current sister city relationship between
St. Louis and Nanjing and shared thoughts about what to do in
the future to make that relationship stronger. Then, everybody
was treated to a short video highlight featuring the beautiful
scenic spots of Nanjing and time was allotted for the students
to share some comments on Nanjing or the sister city relationship.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Tai presented the officials with
a limited edition 2004 Missouri coin that is not yet in circulation.
We all gathered at the front steps of the city hall to say goodbye
and pose for a big group picture.
That concluded the serious and formal part of this morning's
activities. Our next stop was the Nanjing Foreign Language School.
This was to be the highlight of trip for many students because
they would be able to see Jash, Nancy, Emma, Alice, and other
exchange students that they hosted. Other students were looking
forward to the basketball game that was to take place. First,
there was a short introduction in the school's gathering hall
during which members of our group could introduce themselves to
new Nanjing students and practice their Chinese. After that, everybody
went to change since we were still wearing our formal clothes
from the city hall visit, though some changed into street clothes
while others changed into gym attire in order to play basketball.
Team "USA" pulled ahead in the beginning but due to
unexpected team member changes eventually lost with a score of
20-something to 30-something.
Everyone was treated to a short break after a somewhat disappointing
lunch. Joe and I took a taxi to an internet bar which was decently
cleaner and more upscale than the other ones we went to. On the
way home the driver got stuck in traffic in front of our hotel
so he pulled up onto the curb and drove on the sidewalk all the
way to the entrance of the hotel. By the expressionless faces
I saw, I figured taxi drivers did this a lot in China.
was the best meal I've had up until that point and now that the
trip is over, I can safely say it was the best meal on the trip.
First of all, it was not even scheduled into our itinerary. Jash's
parents decided to treat us all to a dinner banquet at a popular
seafood restaurant. We had Peking duck, roast pork, dumplings,
oysters, watermelon juice, free soda refills (no more buying another
bottle), and sesame seed balls in soup for desert (normally called
tang shui or "sweet water"). On the way home, Alice's
mom gave Dr. Tai a box of peaches and she let everyone take one
up to their room. I did not know what types of fruits were available
in China and it was very pleasant to be able to enjoy a juicy
peach along with the daily watermelon.