Back to Blogging from Nanjing

Trip Start Mar 11, 2008
Trip End Mar 22, 2008

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

I am back on-line.  For some reason I cannot access my goggle blogspot from China.  So I have started over.  I arrived in Nanjing (160 Miles NW of Shanghai - population 6.5 Million) last evening on the high speed train.   Train was nice, cruised at an average speed of about 170 Km (about 100 mph).  Top speed approached 200 km/hr.  Very modern.  The trip was through the country side full of rice paddies, brick plants, and lots of people.  I think that is what I find most amazing, how many people there are everywhere.  That and the amount of construction going on.  It is mind boggling how many tall buildings, roads, and bridges are being built.  I am in a city of 6 plus million people that I have never even heard of.  It is beautiful here, on the banks of the Yangtze river.  Today we visited the Zhongshan national park, main feature is the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, the father of democracy in China born in 1866, died in 1826. (I know it is communist now!) He is buried there.  Vary amazing.  Here are some pictures. There are 392 steps up to the mausoleum.  I ran up them to the entertainment of all of the thousands of Chinese visiting.  The mosaic tile work in the mausoleum was amazing.  The marble and the craftsmanship are superb.
We then walked around the many gardens and other buildings.  There is so much history.  There is a wall near the are that is 4-50 feet high that is 600 years old, amazing.  I did something crazy.  One of the attractions was a pond where you could climb in a big rubber ball and float around.  For those of you who have seen the amazing race you know what I am talking about.  Anyway I was quite a draw for the locals.  I was the only brave adult, it was mostly children in these things.  Anyway it is almost impossible to stay standing.  You basically crawl into a big rubber bag, and they inflate it.  Rob, Wendy, and Kevin, my traveling mates thought it was historical. Enjoy the pictures, they don't do justice to the actual craziness of it all and the cheering throngs of Chinese who liked watching me make a fool of myself.
We are off to Qingdao (On the coast of the Yellow Sea -north of Shanghai  - Population 8.5 million) in an hour by plane.  I will report from there. 
One story I can't pass up telling.  Yesterday i arrived at the train station in Shanghai about 15 minutes before my train departed, I had a ticket already purchased.  Anyway my driver Jim tells me we have to hurry or I will miss the train.  So we jump out of the car and stop by some guys wearing some blue vests.  Jim turns to me and says he needs 100 RMB (aprox 15 dollars).  I ask why, he says these guys are going to get you to your train.  I hand him the 100, tow of the blue vests pick up my bags and start running.  Jim says, "follow them".  So off we go, and I mean go, these guys are running at full speed so I follow.  My advantage was I am taller and have a longer stride, my disadvantage was I was wearing, dress shoes, slacks, and a blazer.  We fly up a set of stairs, we boogie through security they were shoving and pushing, I am trying to keep them in site, we ran down a long corridor, sprinted up a set of stairs and down another (which I almost fell down).  It was nuts. It was an adventure. I hoped they weren;t going to run off with my bags.  I arrive at the platform and get on the train out of breath and sweating.  An adventure that is hard to describe but funny when you think about it.
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