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The Zhonghua Gate & City Wall Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Damn the Youth Olympics, Damn them! Why didn’t you tell me they were being held in Nanjing this year!

I arrived in Nanjing at 6am yesterday morning and did the hotel shuffle until ten thirty. I’d walk into a hotel and even before I could ask how much it cost for a night I was told, sorry no foreigners. I must have checked about twenty five thousand, nine hundred and fifty six hotels and walked six million, five hundred and twenty eight and a half thousand kilometers and all in the rain.

So many of my 'fall back’ hotel chains such as Home Inn and Seven Day Inn also gave me the big, No Foreigners line. They are the hotel type I use if I can’t find a cheap hotel or get into a town/city late at night. They cost more but they are very clean and comfortable. So back to me walking six million, five hundred and twenty eight and a half thousand kilometers in the rain, by ten O’clock I’d had enough and grabbed a cold coke and took a seat on a flower bed edge to rest and get a sugar fix and along came this aging beauty, she was a stunner. We looked at each other and said our Ni Hao’s and then she stopped and perfect English asked if I was ok.

She had this strange accent I had never heard on an Asian English speaker; So I asked where she was from which kind of baffled her.

I explained that I thought she was an Overseas Chinese which made her laugh and as we walked I found out that she had been lecturing in Sweden for many years and I also asked her if I smelt which made her laugh. Her answer was that I looked like I had been on a long bus or train journey…yeup, thirteen hours in hard seat! I told her that I had walked six million, five hundred and twenty eight and a half thousand kilometers in the rain and checked out about twenty five thousand, nine hundred and fifty six hotels all of whom waved me away.

That’s when I found out that the Damn Youth Olympics were on, Damn them!

The government has banned ALL foreigners from anything under a three and a half star hotel and I tell you what, my wallet nearly inserted itself in my butt! Thankfully I was double protected by having no holes in my pockets along with wearing underwear. Thankfully she ‘knew’ someone and when we arrived at the hotel I nearly died, it was a stunning Ming Style, three storey building and also a four star hotel…Yelp!

Anyhow friends are friends and I got it for the price of a three star hotel….Yeah!

Yesterday was spent doing some hand washing, reading and getting some well needed sleep after not having slept since the morning prior. The train ride was your typical Hard seat adventure meaning people sleeping scattered all over the floor, groups of men drinking Rice Wine getting louder by the very early morning hour, the trolley lady carting her way down the aisles kicking and pushing her cart into anyone sleeping in the isle and by half way through the adventure the toilets were blocked and over flowing so when you opened the door you were met with a brown mucky mess and for once you felt like thanking the two hundred and fifty six thousand, two hundred and thirty eight smokers for taking away the toilets stench. Then once you find your way through the smoke you always find someone asleep in your seat. You then have to go through the old, shaking them awake and once they are they pretend to continue to sleep.

Then you have to do what you always have to do…OI, GET OUT OF MY SEAT!

So, onto today. I woke early and decided to walk all the way down to the Zhonghua Gate which took much longer than I thought it would but after a fantastic sleep it was wonderful to on my feet again. My hotel is way up near the Xuanwu Subway Station and the Zhonghua Gate is in the very south of the city. Once there I sat for some of THE most awesome dumplings I have ever eaten, they were so good I got myself another tray and more tea. After my wall walk I figured why not ‘maze’ my way back to my area for dinner.

Yeeup, another wonderful day in the life of me!

<u>THE ZHONGHUA GATE</u>

The Zhonghua Gate is the south gate of Nanjing City and it has the double distinction of being the biggest castle-style city gate in China and a structural element of one of the most complicated castles in the world. Construction took twenty-one years (1366 to 1387) and was originally called the 'Gate of Gathering Treasure' due to a legend from the time of its construction during the early Ming Dynasty. According to the legend, when Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) had the gate built, the ground kept sinking. The gate collapsed again and again. It was not until a treasure bowl was buried underground that it stood firm.

Twenty-seven tunnels were built in the castle to store large quantities of food and weapons and to hold approximately three thousand soldiers. Wide and steep ramps were built on the east and west side to allow people to carry materials upward. The entire structure was built with massive bricks mortared together with special cement made from lime, sticky rice juice and tung oil. In order to guarantee the quality of the construction, every brick underwent a strict quality control process. The brick makers and builders were ordered to mark their names on each brick. Even today, it is possible to find Chinese characters and numbers on the bricks. No doubt, this detailed attention to quality of construction is one of the reasons why the condition of the castle remains so remarkably good today.

<u>THE NANJING CITY WALL</u>

The Nanjing City Wall is another masterpiece of China's ancient architecture. Its original perimeter was around thirty five kilometers and today twenty one kilometers remain very well preserved which is fourteen to twenty one meters high with a width of fourteen meters.

In 1366 AD Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), accepted the suggestion from a chancellor to build the City Wall. After twenty one years of painstaking constriction, the wall was finally completed in 1386. According to historical records, Zhu Yuanzhang ordered one hundred and eighteen counties from five provinces to make the bricks. Each brick weighs about ten kilograms with a length of forty to fifty centimeters. The bricks are inscribed with the names of officials who were responsible for the quality of the bricks and up to three hundred and fifty million bricks were used.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Bjork The album was &#8216;Homogenic and Post’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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