We’ve had this obligation to come and see my Great Aunt while we’re out here in China and we’ve been putting it off for a bit now, but our time here is coming to a close and we need to show our faces. Our train left at 6 AM, but in order to ensure we got there on time we had a cab come and get us at 4:20 AM. We arrived at the train station no problem and we even saw a bunch of people congregating under the entrance in order to escape the rain. However, there were also a bunch of homeless people there too. No problem we’re use to that by now, but there was one shaggy looking man sitting on the floor in a woman’s red pea coat with his hands just shoved down his pants. We made sure to walk around his creepy orbit and stand and wait for the train station to open. One of the guards was making his rounds and he started to YELL at the homeless guy to get out of the station. He waddles around with the pants around his ass and his dick flopping all about. Everyone else in the station is quietly mortified as they are all pushed away by an imaginary 5 ft line that surrounded him. #justchinathings
The train ride was chill nothing really of note there. When we got to the train station we found my great aunt and uncle no problem. They had also brought a friend along with them and he served as our driver for the day. Sydney and I did nothing to plan for this trip, instead we simply told them what we’d like to see and they said it would be no problem. With my limited Chinese I was able to deduce where we would be going and some of its history. The first stop was Purple Mountain and it’s GORGEOUS!!!! It reminded me of being out in the woods near Portland. We made a few stops around the mountain that highlighted important political figures and were of historical significance. Just to give you an idea of how much Chinese I comprehend my uncle was describing an area of land that had once belonged to an emperor and there is something buried out there and it’s of some significance and it’s either treasure or the body of his son. Either way it’s important. So something important is out there and no one can find it. Yeah… That’s what I deal with knowing about 40%-70% of what they’re saying and almost never the important stuff.
The next stop was at a restaurant that served xiao long bao (steamed pork buns). They were delicious, some of the best I’ve ever had and it turns out that restaurant has been around for over 100 years! How cool is it that someone from 1916 could be magically teleported to that restaurant and eat the food without skipping a beat? Or that I’m tasting a recipe that has stood the test of time.
After lunch we went to the Nanjing Massacre Museum and holy balls is that place sobering… The holocaust museum ain’t got shit on this and Syd even went so far as to say that it was comparable to Auschwitz. For those that don’t know about the incident here is a brief history lesson. The Nanjing Massacre or the Rape of Nanking took place in 1937 when the Japanese invaded mainland China. They took hold in Nanjing because at the time it was China’s capital. Once there the Japanese were responsible for the deaths of up to 300,000 individuals, however this number can be as low as 200,000. Some of the atrocities include, but not limited to, head chopping contests, stabbing infants, using live bodies for bayonet practice, forcing women into sexual acts, burring people alive, tying people up and drowning them in a shallow pool, forcing fathers to bury their families alive and so on. We read story after story about the cruel acts and it really sunk in that human beings are capable of some fucked up shit. The museum itself was so sobering even writing this and reflecting upon it sends chills down my spine. There is one room when you walk in, there is a portrait of an individual projected onto the wall and the space in front of it is completely blocked off. As you walk around you’ll hear a bell toll and the image will change, each image is unique, each image was a life and the person in each image died in a horrible fashion. This bell tolls all throughout the day and it rings every 10 seconds or so. They had exhibits that replicated what the homes would have looked like after the Japanese had ravaged through them. There were bodies strewn about, a woman sunken by the bed with a knife protruding from her skull, another woman on the bed stripped naked with a knife cut into her vagina. The men of the household were slumped over the table and presumably shot in the back. We saw and read firsthand accounts, one that really struck me was of a boy at the age of 11 witnessed his mother killed in front of him. She had been clinging onto his infant brother and she refused to surrender the child to the enemy forces, so they stabbed her. She finally released the baby after being stabbed over 12 times, the Japanese didn’t feel it was worth their time to finish the job so they left the mother and baby to die. Hearing his brother call out for his mom he raced over to snatch him up. However, all the baby wanted to do was to be breast fed by his mother and with her final moments she held him, fed him and died holding him. That’s not the end of this sad story either. It was so cold that by the time the boy had shaken out of shock and tried to retrieve his brother from his mother the infant had become stuck and he could not separate them, so he made the difficult decision to leave. That was ONE story of the 300,000. The statues, the exhibits were all just mind blowing. We stood over a mass grave site that contained 10,000 bodies. They had created a platform where you could walk over and look down upon all the bones and skulls.
Following that we ended up in the Presidential Palace, but by that time we were both physically and emotionally exhausted and didn’t really see what was all that special about that place. We made a quick loop around and saw nothing of real significance and that’s when it hit me. I farted and nearly shit myself. I stood there for what felt like an eternity clamping with all my might in order to avoid having an accident. I asked Syd for her tissues and made a mad dash to the restroom. I was fortunate that the facilities weren’t that bad and I evacuated my bowels in an orderly fashion. After that the rest of the day was smooth sailing.
My Aunt and Uncle had gotten us a room at what would be the Chinese equivalent of a Motel 6 less than a 5 min walk from their place. We got settled there as they cooked dinner. We went and ate a traditional Chinese meal complete with some of Syd’s favorites that my Aunt remembered from her time spent in the states with us. My uncle had asked if I like to drink and offered me Bai Jiu, basically Chinese moonshine, and I declined. Sydney on the other hand was brave enough to give it a go. She nearly downed the whole cup in a misunderstanding and as I watched her chug I swear I could see her insides glowing red hot from the liquor. We were a bit stunned at first, but realized what was happening and waved our arms frantically to get her to stop before she drank the whole thing. Luckily not that much damage was done and we enjoyed a large meal. After dinner we set off to take a quick walk around the block, my Great Aunt was really sad to know that we’re leaving tomorrow and that it could very well be the last time we ever see each other. She really loved my grandma and my grandma always spoke so highly of me. Moreover, when she had spent time in the states she saw how I cared for my grandma and how much of a caring person I could be when I consoled her after my grandma had passed. I reassured her that we’ll meet again at some point and that she shouldn’t worry. Although to be honest I don’t know when I’ll ever see her again….
Tomorrow’s yet another day in Nanjing. Today was crazy fun and informative I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
PS It’s really shitty that Syd couldn’t just enjoy herself today because of the amount of people that gawked at her and treated her like some kind of side show. I mean for fucks sake you see white people in ads and in television and movies why is it such an event when you see one in person?
So, Wally explained what happened when we got to the train station…..well, I saw the homeless man’s private area. It was mortifying and I am still traumatized. I have seen more penises (children and adult) then I would ever want to in my life!!!! We walked around in the rain trying to figure out where to go and finally we got in line and headed upstairs to the platform. Our platform was completely pitch black! We were a little worried that we did not go to the right place but all the numbers matched up since we could not read the words and double check. About fifteen minutes before the train was going to take off they let us down and into it. People were pushing, shoving and running, even though we have assigned seats. Wally’s friend brought up a good point that Chinese people are so ingrained to be the best and to be first that it now applies to all aspects of their lives. You are going to an assigned seat on a train why do you need to be the first one on?? No one is taking your spot!! I am really starting to understand more and more of the cultural differences and it is helping Wally and me in our relationship as well. Being from 2 different worlds is so hard sometimes and this experience is putting it into perspective.
The train ride was easy peazy lemon squeezy! I watched an episode of Hawaii 5-0 and took a nap and then we were there. Wally’s family was waiting for us and they had a friend drive us around all day. We got in the car and yipo already had food for us. This salty, flaky, green onion bread concoction and regular sweet white bread. It was the perfect snack. They first drove us to Purple Mountain and we walked up to see the tomb of Dr. Sun Yet (I can’t really remember his name). When we were walking these 2 guys kept turning around and staring and pointing at me and taking pictures, I held my jacket up and stared at the ground to walk and they still would take pics, I yelled “What are you staring at? Go fuck your mom!” (in Chinese) and it was not until I called for Wally and grabbed his arm that they stopped harassing me. I am so FUCKING OVER CHINESE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, my hair was up, you could not tell it was curly; I had a jacket covering my chest, so all they were staring at was my white face. FUCK YOU!!! The walk was beautiful and the climb up we sang the Rocky theme song. Wally and I do entertain ourselves. Wally and I secretly took pics even though everyone was getting yelled at for doing so, whatever YOLO! Next, they took us to another garden to see the Ming and Qing Dynasty buildings and apparently there is a son of an emperor buried in the land but no one has been able to find it. When we came down from the building Wally’s uncle bought us some ice cream. It was so tasty and a perfect treat. I like anyone that buys me ice cream for no reason at 10am.
Now as a side note I want to thank/praise my amazing husband for constantly translating even though he only understood about 40% of the conversation. He was doing his best and really trying and I thank him for kind of keeping in the loop as to what was going on.
After the garden and building we went to get lunch. I was feeling car sick so I fell asleep until we got to the restaurant. We went and had the most amazing xiao long bao I have ever had in my life. What is cool about the place we went to is that it is over 100 years old. The food was amazing!! Yipo bought us cokes to drink and their friend also went to the market next door and bought more cokes so all of a sudden 4 colas are sitting in front of us and I just wanted something, anything really to drink. HAHAHA oh Chinese people. Wally’s uncle also bought me a cute new big floppy hat.
We left lunch and they took us to the Nanjing Massacre Museum, the full name of the museum is, The Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre by the Japanese Forces. The pictures along will show you how power these statues were. The museum was intense and really hard to take in. It was very powerful and reading some of the survivor stories made me gag a little and want to cry. It was a powerful but amazing museum for how it was done. Another, fucking Chinese person story, as we were entering the museum I felt a touch on my shoulder, I thought it was my purse strap so I smack my shoulder and shook it off and I felt it again; a woman was touching my shoulder with just her pointer finger and smiling and having her son take a picture of the whole thing. Again, I reiterate I FUCKING HATE MAINLAND CHINESE PEOPLE!!!!! I shook my head said get the fuck off of me and called for Wally. I was almost in tears. I hate this feeling, I hate being touched and Chinese people are assholes. I got more stares today they I have in the whole time we have been here. I thought Shanghai was bad and Nanjing is 1000 times worse. When we left the museum we were supposed to meet up with Wally’s uncle but we could not find him, Wally got a security guard and used his phone and we were able to get in touch with him and he met up with us. Also, as we were walking out of the museum a grandmother was holding her grandson between her knees and he was taking a man size shit on the sidewalk on the museum property. Why is this accepted? Ok, maybe in the bushes or a random street corner and even that to me is wrong but at a museum of a massacre?!?!?! WTF?!?!?! It was disgusting and just baby penis out and a man size shit on the ground. Just China things, always.
I complimented the drivers sunglasses and he handed them to me, I thought to see them and try them on, and he said no keep them. Then he handed me the case. It was so strange. HAHA
Next stop, the Presidential Palace. It was not that impressive; we walked around and just found a bench and talked for a little. Wally has a funny bathroom story and while he was in there I had another couple stare, this time the husband stopped turned around gawked, ran and got his wife and camera and pointed and took pictures while I tried to hide behind a pillar and they kept trying to get a shot. Even Wally noticed more how people were staring. We walked back to his uncle and we headed home for dinner.
His aunt and uncle got us a hotel room for the night on the street right behind theirs so we are close. The room works and serves its purpose since we are only here one night. We walked back to their house for dinner and we had some hong shao rou (my favorite). Also, his uncle poured me a glass of baijiu, I died. There was a miscommunication and I thought he wanted me to drink the whole thing right then (you are supposed to sip on it), I went from sober to drunk in about 2 seconds. Mind you we had not eaten in a while either and I was thirsty. Whatever it was funny. We finished dinner and his uncle took us for a walk around the neighborhood. He stopped in KFC and got us ice cream sundaes. Again, I love ice cream and this was a perfect after dinner treat. We walked around the mall and then walked home to get ready for tomorrow.
We had set our bar so low that everything exceeded our expectations. It was a great day and now I am going to sleep.