Parks and pleasure amidst the smog.....
Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
134Trip End Ongoing
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Spring is trying very hard to make an appearance here...we have been teased with a few days in double positive figures which of course gives us all hope that we have turned the corner......but we then get another freezing cold, wet day to remind us that winter hasn't finished with us yet. However it is nice walking through the parks as the spring flowers are coming out despite the weather working against them. Last weekend I visited Egret Island Park (Bailuzhou Park)The park was originally a private garden/residential hall of General Xu Da in Yuan and Ming dynasties (581 - 618 AD) and became a public park in 1950s
2012 being a Dragon year is very important to the Chinese and is an especially good year to have a baby.....its only March and already I know 2 people who have had babies and another who is due in June!!! The hospitals have been full to capacity on a daily basis - so much so that one of my friends here had to pay 4000RMB a night for his wife to have a private room!!!! - to put that in context for you......its more than most people earn in a month so you can imagine 7 nights in hospital had made quite a dent in their savings. I have also learned about another Chinese tradition......when you have a baby the parents give their friends and family red eggs. If its a boy then you give an uneven number of eggs and for girls you give an even number. I have been priviledged to be presented with 2 red eggs in honour of my friends recent arrival of a beautiful baby daughter and of course they are beautifully presented as is everything in China!!!
Shirl and Nina took pity on me and we headed out for lunch last Friday to a lovely Chinese restaurant....not often visited by foreigners but well known to Nina and her Chinese husband
I continue to persist with my Chinese langauge classes and have to say its rather nice being a "student". We have a wonderful class of people from many countries and they even included me in birthday celebrations for one classmate!! My teacher is very patient...thank goodness!!! I cant be doing too badly as the University had me sitting on an interview panel last week for a Chinese English language teacher.....most of the interview was conducted in Chinese and I managed to follow the majority of what was said!!!! Mind you I would hate to have been a candidate....there were NINE of us on the interview panel!!!!
Anyway I have been going stir crazy with being housebound and woke up this morning to a beautiful sunny 23 degrees.......certainly not going to waste that regardless of how much coughing I end up doing to get around. So today I headed off to the Treasure Shipyard park to explore a bit more local history.....
The Treasure Shipyard Park is an archaeological site where a number of boats were built for Zheng He's fleet
Among the archaeological displays, you can see a series of shipbuilding tools and surviving chunks of the ancient boats that were destroyed when Emperor Hongxi decided all that maritime exploring wasn't worth it. There is also a replica of one of his mid-sized treasure boats as well as a number of stele's and bronze plaques that exhibit the trades and communities that Zheng He visited. Zheng He is considered an important piece of China's economic puzzle in creating relations with foreign countries.
All in all a delighful afternoon spent at the park and then I slowly wandered back towards the University. Luckily the park is near the Jiangsu TV tower which is a landmark I use to keep me orientated to the direction I need to take!! Found the Nanjing Arts Institute so had a look in there as well......an afternoon of history and culture......fantastic!!
Bye for now. xxx