After a great meal and some Chinese medicine last night I felt adequately fuelled and rested to take on run this morning.
I only wanted to run 5km so told Leah that I’d be back within 30minutes and headed off with just my phone (for emergencies), room key (encase Leah went back to sleep) and watch (to track my run for me to later upload onto Strava).
The run began really well. I knew exactly where I was as we had walked this route the night previously. The weather was a little hot and humid (30 degrees and 95% humidity) but the streets were empty so I was able to go a little quicker than I had planned.
I’m not the most observant person when I’m walking and I’m even worse when I’m running. I run across roads and bridges without realising as I’m usually contemplating something entirely unrelated in my head or just zoned out into my run. Within 15minutes I’d somehow managed to find an athletics track! There were lots of old men walking around the track, a few people jogging and some younger men doing HIIT in the far corner. I asked the man on security how much it was and if I could use it… He said no. I didn’t have any money on me but made a mental note of where I thought the track was and planned to try again tomorrow or the next day.
I carried on my run past the track and somehow ended up outside the city walls again. This time I was on the outer edge as the walls were actually huge! I carried on running, heading in the direction that I thought that the hostel was but after another 10 minutes or so I had arrived at a completely different metro station!
Not knowing what direction to take I asked three older women walking together. I don’t know what I looked like but it must’ve been a bit of a state- I was sweaty from my run and clearly a long way from home, without any water, running around Nanjing on my own- and they literally walked me by the arm to a metro station! They were so sweet! Two were walking either side of me whilst the third women was fixing my top (which was literally sticking to my body with a sweat- gross). I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was the wrong station….
When they’d left I carried on running down the road and found a family of Chinese tourists carrying a map. After explaining to them where I needed to the daughter tried to point me in the right direction ( in broken English and Chinese) whilst her mother took photos of us – it wouldn’t haven’t been a very flattering photo as I was literally dripping at this point!
Following their directions I headed off again and found a police/ security station. Hoping that they would have a map for me to use/ someone would be able to provide me with further directions.. No such luck! They sent me back to the metro stop the old women did…
I tried one more person. This time a man outside the metro station who showed me numbers on his phone and was telling me ‘left at 44’ ‘right at 38’. I had no idea what he was taking about so downloaded a data bundle on my phone and loaded up the map app.
I quickly whatsapped Leah (her phone isnt working properly out here so she can’t get calls/ texts) to let her know that I was alive but running a little late. 15 minutes later I was back in the room (after starting my run one hour and a half ago!)
After a much needed shower, doing the first of our washing by hand (literally using soap and water in a large bowl- ringing out our clothes afterwards was tiring!) and hanging it out to dry on the roof we headed out for our first day of proper site seeing in Nanjing.
The sites of Nanjing
We walked to the Nanjing Massacre Memoral which took about an hour. When you first enter the ground you’re greeted by a huge sculpture depicting a distraught mother carrying a dead child, followed by smaller, human sized scuptures depicting numberous atrocities that were committed by the Japanese on the town of Nanjing back in the 1930s. These sculptures were set in a small pool of water which added to the sorrow of the corresponding poetic statements explaining what the sculpture was showing. From the moment we walked into the memorial, both Leah and I both felt emotionally very moved and sorrowful for the people that this atrocity effected.
We walked around the memorial for an hour or so, visiting the grave sites of the victims and reading the history that was displayed around the sites on concrete slabs. It was all very moving. After an hour though we were so hot from the mid-day sun that we headed to the metro in search for a cool place to relax and some lunch.
A Simple Diet
We visited a canteen type restaurant recommended in the lonely planet guide called A Simple Diet .
When you enter a waiter takes you to the food counter where they make a note of what you want on slips of paper that resemble lottery tickets. We tried to explain to them that I didn’t want meat and I was told that there were vegetables in a wrap so I ordered that as well as sharing a bean sprout salad and some mushrooms with leah (who had dumplings).
I was a little sceptical whether or not my main dish contained meat or just veg so opened the wrap up, low-and-behold the wrap had bits of meat in! We were so hungry that I literally picked the meat out (there was about 10 small pieces- I’m not even sure what meat it was)!