After a long 15 hour plane ride to Hong Kong. Stepping off the plane I did not know what to expect. I knew that I was going to experience a completely different culture, but I really was not ready for it. When we first landed in the airport in Hong Kong, I was taken away by how large it was. The terminals seemed to stretch for nearly a half mile, so far that you could not even see the other side. We landed around 5am in Hong Kong and the airport was nearly empty so I was confused as to why it was so massive. This quickly changed a few hours later when thousands of people flooded the terminals from all different parts of the world. Everyone was going on about their business and had their own agendas. One of the most interesting stores I found when exploring the airport was a shop selling all sorts of dried goods. Some of these items included chicken wings, fish, scallops, and chicken feet. I later found out that you can put these dried items in soups.
After another 3 hour flight to Nanjing, we finally had reached our destination. We left the airport and got into a van which took us to the hotel. The weather was extremely hot and humid and I was not used to it on the first day. The road from the airport to the hotel was where I got my first views of Nanjing. I was impressed by how clean the highways were and how much nature was spread throughout the city. When you think of large metropolitan cities, you do not tend to think there will be trees and flowers everywhere. There are large parks and lakes throughout the city that give it a very green and beautiful appearance. They have managed to place large modern skyscrapers in with parks which is what I found most impressive.
Once we reached the hotel, we decided to take a walk to see what the streets were like. There was so much life in the streets as people were walking everywhere and having conversations. Many people ride electric scooters to get around the city. These people seem to be natural at driving them with the way they are able to weave in and out of traffic and around the sidewalks, sometimes having 2 or 3 people on the same scooter. At one point I even saw a man with a small dog on the back of his scooter! The most interesting sight I saw was a man on a bike selling goldfish and plants. This is nothing I would have ever expected to see, as I did not think fish takes would go well with a bicycle. Somehow he managed to pedal around the streets with goldfish in the back. Lining the streets were shops that were selling all kinds of goods from food to cigarettes, even pets. Outside of the shops were vendors selling fruits and vegetables. It’s as if the city never sleeps because something is always going on at some hour.
The second day we went to a reconstruction of a classic Chinese town around a salt lake. There was about a 45 minute drive as we left the main city and traveled into the mountains. Once we got off the bus you could see a real Buddhist temple far off in the distance. This temple was at the very top of a large mountain and looked like it was straight out of a movie. As we headed into the park we could see from the distance a full city filled with ancient Chinese buildings. This combined the style of ancient Chinese buildings with modern interiors. The town was very beautiful and when you walked down the streets you were immersed in the town. It was as if you traveled back to ancient China. They had actors preforming shows and dressed in traditional Chinese attire. You started to imagine what life would have been like in the ancient world and how difficult simple tasks would become. We had a great tour guide on this trip who explained a lot of the history of China and how it evolved into what it is today. I enjoyed this trip because I was able to learn a lot about China’s deep history.