Poppy tells me we’re just going to the museum near her house. The next thing I know, we’re walking 8.33 miles on my sandals. I woke up this morning at 8:00 AM to my host grandparents bustling around the house. They just came back from their 6:00AM morning exercises and were proceeding to eat breakfast. Breakfast consisted of bread with Nutella, various soiled vegetables, and mini cucumbers. At 9:00AM, Poppy and I went out to the Nanjing Museum, which was a 10 minute walk from her house. We met with Christine and Elaine (Poppy’s school friend and Christine’s host family). According to Poppy and Elaine, the Nanjing Museum was recently reopened after a year long of construction. Old temples were torn down and replaced with more futuristic architecture. The museum had so much to see! There were fossils of gigantic mammals, historical slideshows of the history of China, the characteristics of each province, and even a replicate of China in the 1900s. The replicate allowed us to step into the shoes of a typical person living in China (literally). We walked into a bank representative of Old China, and watched cups spin before our eyes.
After the Nanjing Museum, we rode a cab to “Lao Meng Dong.” Beyond the walls of Lao Meng Dong stood many different food and gift shops. It was overall a very “cute” place. Many families brought their kids there and played by the foundation. We had Nanjing soup dumplings there and duck blood soup. In the beginning, I was a bit hesitant about the duck blood but I tried it anyways. It tasted exactly like blood, but was still pretty similar to tofu. We also found a gift shop dedicated to pandas. I purchased a mini plant pot attached to a glass bowl. Apparently, you can put a fish in the glass bowl and plant grass in the mini pot (water derived from the fish bowl). Poppy and Elaine bought bubble wands.
As we exited the gate of Lao Meng Dong, we spotted a pet store on the way to hail a cab. The pet store was so small and a lot of the animals were caged in very tight spaces. Besides the typical puppies, kittens, hamsters, and geckos we see in the states, there were also mini turtles and alligators??? It was very interesting to see, but I hope the alligators don’t bite!
Our cab brought us to Xuanwu Lake, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. We rode a motorboat with 6 seats on Xuanwu lake for an hour. Our boat went around the spraying Duck a few times and we got all wet. We blew bubbles as we rode the boat around. It was so fun! We also spotted the train station across the lake where we first went during our journey from Beijing to Nanjing. The area kind of reminded me of Central Park in NYC. However, I noticed some interesting activities in the XuanWu Lake area. First, when we were looking for a bathroom, we ran across a huge crowd surrounding hundreds of papers stringed up between the trees. After asking our host families, we found out that older parents were trying to set up blind dates for their sons/daughters. Each paper had a short description of their son/daughter and who they’re looking for as a potential mate. It was fascinating! Another interesting activity was how the Chinese hung up red strips of words up on trees. Wishes and dreams are said to come true if they’re up there. Some read “job,” and others “relationship.”
After a long day traveling throughout Nanjing, Poppy brought me to her Aunt’s place for food with grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The food was delicious and the night ended with homemade coffee ice cream by her aunt! Even though I couldn’t understand a lot of the conversation, I definitely felt spoiled! I can’t wait to start my internship tomorrow morning!!!
- Michelle F.