8 June 2005
Through her contacts at the Nanjing Theological Seminary, Patricia found a very comfortable and affordable hotel for us to stay while in Nanjing. After a four hour train ride from Shanghai, we arrived at the Nanjing West train station and with the help of Patricia’s friend, found our hotel — the Xinde Mansion 信得大厦 — located in the center of the city off one of the main city avenues. The hotel is located not far from Nanjing University and the city center of Xinjiekou. Above is a picture of the main gate of Nanjing University, when we walked by it with a group of foreign students who we met. One of the best places to study in China is the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies. A collaborative effort by Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center was one of the first places in China where foreign students could live and study with Chinese students. We had lunch with some of those students in a restaurant close by the university; below is a picture of Patricia and Diana at lunch. This particular restaurant (the Jinyin 金银Restaurant), is very close to the Hopkins-Najing Center, and in the background you can see the namecards of many past diners — many of whom are well-known China specialists!
Patricia is now beginning her fieldwork on faith-based non-governmental organizations that provide social services, and is doing well as she explores various social and political aspects of Chinese organizations. In the meanwhile, I will explore Nanjing for myself, since this is my first visit to this important city. Nanjing is on the Yangtze River and is the provincial capital of Jiangsu; it has thousands of years of history as a city and was once an imperial capital in the Ming Dynasty. In more recent times, it was invaded by the British in the mid-19th century, which forced the Chinese to sign unequal treaties that ceded Hong Kong to the British and opened up Chinese coastal cities like Shanghai to foreigners. Nanjing was also the capital for the Taiping Rebellion, a popular movement inspired by a Chinese version of Christianity that between 1851-1864 controlled much of south China. Like many Chinese cities today, Nanjing is getting a facelift — huge areas of the city are under construction. There’s a lot to see and do here in Nanjing, so I’ll make the most of it before leaving for Shanghai.
8 June 2005