One of the four “furnaces” of China in terms of summer heat waves, Nanjing is an old city with lots to offer in terms of sights, food, and unfortunately a bit of recent history (on a semi-related note, a highly recommended movie to watch is “The City of Life and Death”, which is beautifully directed and absolutely disturbing).
Arriving in Nanjing, we are once again welcomed with 38C heat. We did our final bit of gear buying at Turen (土人), swapping my Arc’teryx Cierzo bag with a Osprey Talon. I have to say, ultralight packs are definitely not functional at all!!!! We also met this really cool salesperson who had a lot of personal experiences to share, it’s a bit long so I kept it at the bottom of the post.
We also had to scramble our way to get a train ticket as it is the height of the tourist season, but we managed to get ourselves a train ticket to Xining 西宁, on a whopping 28hr train ride. I’ve heard of many stories with people riding trains in China, so it’d be my turn to experience it! So after spending a couple days with relatives again, it’s actually time to start our “real” trip!
Appendix: The Awesome Story of Poop Noodles
Of the few hours we spent listening to this salesperson talk about his adventures, I’ll share one of the better stories of his. He spent some time herding sheep in rural Gansu (甘肃) as a way to experience the life close to nature, but in reality it was more a matter of practical obstacles than dreams coming true when it came to being a nomadic herder. He was saying how, as a gift to his hosts he brought in some chicken eggs, and for dinner the host boiled the chicken eggs in water and served the family hard-boiled eggs. Note that, this place is rural as rural gets with no electricity, running water nor even a market of any sorts within 100km. Water is a scarce resource, with the grandmother walking over half a day to bring back a few days worth of water for the family. After finished eating the hard-boiled eggs, this guy was still hungry so his host made him some noodles, using the same pot of water used to boil eggs. NOTE: Farm eggs were fresh from the farm, and had chicken poop scattered over it, and during the boiling process, the chicken poop lifted off from the shell directly to the surface of the pot!
The host, without much care, boiled noodles in the same pot of chicken-poop infested water. After the noodles were ready, the host realized his mistake of serving poop-noodles to his guest. Without proper utensil to eat (they used hands for everything), they had nothing to scoop the poop out. In a moment of brilliant wit, the host went outside next to the cow manure pile to scavenge a piece of wood…..and with two flicks of his wrist flung the remaining cow manure off the stick, and proceeded to use the cow manure stick to scoop out the chicken poop….. The End.
This story is dedicated to some one I know, whom I’m not sure if she’s reading this or not, but I’m pretty sure she’d enjoy this.