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Nanjing/ Hangzhou, Day 13

Nanjing, China


We checked out in the morning and drove over to Nanjing Pharmaceutical University where we met Dr. Chen and the director there. They took us on a brief tour of the school and a small herb museum while we waited for the herb garden to be unlocked. No pictures allowed.

While waiting a few of us wondered around campus. We saw a few thousand students dressed in military outfits yelling chants and marching around the grounds with rifles. It was strange to see such a presence at a medical school, we wondered if it had anything to do with the upcoming holiday: National Day. Sean told us that it was just a way of breaking in the new freshmen, in an attempt to convince them that school is serious and not a place to party. He thought it was a funny sight too... because the students have little to do with the military at all. Still, it was a frightening to see.

Meanwhile DJ and Patricia were on a mission to buy one of the student jumpsuits that say "Nanjing Pharmaceutical University" on it. The campus store wouldn't sell it to them and thought that something was up, because no foreigners would want such a thing. In the end they were able to trade some stuff from the US with some students there and got the jackets. We were finally able to get into the garden and Robert took us on a tour reviewing the herbs that were growing there.

We only spent a few hours there and most of it was spent wondering around the campus, which is a very different experience then that of any school in the US. Students are 4-8 in single room. Everything is cold concrete communist-style. For fun, there's ping-pong and badminton (only after marching). we then said goodbye to Dr. Chen and our local guide Sean and were off for lunch.

After that we were off for another 3-4 hour bus ride to Hangzhou. This time it was a scenic, sunny drive. We saw lots of farms and then suburban developments; building was everywhere. Along the way was an awesome new rest-stop. We were able to stock up in water and some comforts of home (well, they had Lay's chips.. even if they were cucumber flavor or Italian meat-sauce flavored). We got a kick outta that place. Then it was back on the bus.

We arrived in Hangzhou in the evening. Before checking in at the hotel, we met our local guide Jerry and went to visit a silk factory. It was pretty cool to see how all these tiny filaments are spun into thread and then spooled into what looks like cob webs. It's quite strong when massed together. The guide showed us the way to determine whether silk is pure or not: you burn it.... Umm, OK. If it's white smoke, it's real, black it's not. Good luck trying that one at Macy's. Naturally, there was a silk store next to the factory which had anything silk you could want. Some people bought some bedding, but most of us just wanted to checkin and pass out.



permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 27, 2005 from Nanjing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged Food, China, Herbs, Medicine, Nanjing, TeaHouse, TCM, Doctor, Hangzhou, TeaFarm, NationalDay, University, NanjingPharmaceuticalUniversity, Silk, SilkFactory and Clothes

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