Sunday, May 24, 2015

Day 13: Nanjing In Its Entirety

Nine of us woke up for another early start this morning for the Nanjing bike tour at 9 am. It was a very exciting experience for us, for many of us felt constrained to the areas close by to Nanjing University, so this bike tour allowed us to travel to the boundaries of Nanjing and even past the city wall. The bike ride was definitely an interesting experience because of the high amount of traffic in China. Dong Laoshi immediately fore-warned us in the morning that this is not a typical bike tour in America where it is peaceful and quiet around us. While there are usually bike lanes laid out around the city, it is still very hard to maneuver around traffic because many Chinese locals prefer riding bikes or motorcycles to cars. Nonetheless, we quickly got used to the traffic and became bike experts, swiftly moving between and around other forms of traffic. 
The bike tour itself was very relaxing and not too strenuous, although we all got a very good morning workout. We biked to Zhongshan Ling (Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Mauseleum), a beautiful park that is right outside Nanjing. The views around us in the park were beautiful; it was a nice change from the fast pace and high rises of the main city. When we finally arrived at the pit stop near the park, Dong Laoshi treated us to ice cream and slushies! We were all very hungry by then; nine of us devoured two pineapple slushies and three banana splits with banana, chocolate, and taro ice cream flavors. Afterwards, we slowly made it back to the busy area of Nanjing and passed by the Nanjing Library, the Sun Yat-Sen statue, XinJieKou (a famous shopping area), and other landmarks. I am proud to say that I am slowly getting used to the layout of this city!
After the bike tour, we got ready for the main activity of the day—scavenger hunt around Nanjing! Since this is a food-based dialogue, we did this scavenger hunt in proper food fashion; we hunted down local delicacies of Nanjing, from duck blood soup to “smelly” tofu. We split up into teams of threes and fours, and this scavenger hunt was very important to us because the winners would earn a full body massage for one hour. We were given three hours from 2 pm to 5 pm to try to find as many items on the list given, and these items ranged beyond from food items too, such as sitting in the driver’s seat of a public bus and getting answers to fun facts about Nanjing. When I first glanced at these items, I was unsure how this scavenger hunt could even be possible. Many Chinese locals questioned our actions, for we were foreign kids trying to coherently piece our Chinese together while also doing questionable tasks. One of the tasks even included putting your hands in a tank of live eel or frogs! The amount of strange tasks we had to complete truly tested our creative thinking skills and teamwork. However, despite having to go through constant running and confusion, I think that we definitely learned how to effectively navigate throughout Nanjing, which is important since we are spending majority of our time in this city. Jessica G., Jessica X., Andy, and Sierra won the massages in the end, so we’ll be waiting to see how their massages go! 
After this exercise filled day, we are all pretty exhausted, but we’re looking forward to new and exciting activities that are coming this week!

Cindy W.

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