Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,
Long time no see! Hello from the east coast of China.
I have unpacked my life’s belongings here in Ningbo city and now teach thirty kindergarten students whose maturity level is well above mine, so we get along just fine. I travelled here around five or so years ago and came back for a week over the summer holidays (July and August). This summer break was mostly about spending time with Ting Ting in Shanghai. So when Ting Ting was busy working evening shifts I headed down the coast to visit little canal villages and small coastal cities.
During which I decided that it was time for a change.
During a phone call with my boss and good friend I mentioned that I had decided that it was time for a change and when I returned to Jiangsu for the new term in my old school he told me to pack and rock on back to Ningbo city. At this moment I am sitting in my free 16th floor apartment right next door (1 minute’s walk) from WANDA Plaza (huge shopping mall found in many cities throughout China (owned by China’s richest man)) and as my area is brand new, all of the new pretty apartments are around 20% full.
Honestly, when I look out my window I feel like I am living on the Gold Coast! I'm about 19kms from the sea and the world’s 2nd or 3rd busiest port.
Ningbo city was the Shanghai before Shanghai, a huge history full of money, salt and foreigners coming and goings. It has its own Bund Area which is much older than Shanghai’s. A Bund Area is always found on the side of the biggest river in the city and is where all of the old foreign embassies, churches and banks can be found. Now they have been renovated into bars, music venues, small hotels and restaurants.
I just had three months off, two months for summer break (July & August) and then September whilst awaiting my new kindergarten to finish being built and to open (yes September was fully paid) and now China has a seven day holiday for National Day. I’m thinking though that I’ll kick back here, buy a new bike and peddle, peddle, peddle, snack, snack, snack and eat cheap seafood.
It is a national holiday, 1.3 billion people, many of whom will be travelling around. I gave up travelling on May Day and National Day holidays many years ago. Damn it's a hard hard life, but I'm glad it is me living it!
<u>Now for a bit on Ningbo City</u>
Lying in the east of Zhejiang Province, Ningbo city sits at the mid-point of the Chinese coastline, south of the Yangtze Delta. It covers an area of 9365 square kilometers, of which 1033 square kilometers (399 square miles) constitutes the city's bustling urban centre.
As one of China's oldest cities, the city has witnessed the rise and fall of numerous dynasties. It also represents the birthplace of Hemudu Culture, which itself has a history of over 7000 (4800BC or so) years. These early civilisations lived and thrived in the area and contributed greatly to make the city what it is today; an economically-developed, modern city with a profound cultural foundation. Ningbo was a major trade city on the Silk Road at least two thousand years ago, and then as a major port along with Yangzhou and Guangzhou in the Tang Dynasty and also a major port for foreign trade during the Song Dynasty.
Arab traders lived in Ningbo during the Song dynasty when it was known as Mingzhou, as the ocean-going trade passages took precedence over land trade during this time. Another name for Mingzhou/Ningbo was Siming. These merchants did not intermingle with native Chinese, practicing their own customs and religion and they inhabited ghettos. They did not try to proselytise Islam to Chinese. Jews also lived in Ningbo, as evidenced by the fact that, after a major flood destroyed Torah scrolls in Kaifeng, a replacement was sent to the Kaifeng Jews by the Ningbo Jewish community.
The city of Ningbo was known in Europe for a long time under the name of Liampó.
This is the usual spelling used e.g. in the standard Portuguese history, João de Barros's Décadas da Ásia, although Barros explained that Liampó was a Portuguese "corruption" of the more correct Nimpó. The spelling Liampó is also attested in the Peregrination (Peregrinação) by Fernão Mendes Pinto, a (so-called) autobiography written in Portuguese during 16th century. For the mid-16th-century Portuguese, the nearby promontory, which they called the cape of Liampó, after the nearby "illustrious city" was the easternmost known point of the mainland Asia. The Portuguese began trading in Ningbo around 1522. By 1542, the Portuguese had a sizable community in Ningbo (or, more likely, on nearby small islands). Portuguese activities from their Ningbo base included pillaging and attacking multiple Chinese port cities around Ningbo for plunder and spoil.
They also enslaved people during their raids. The Portuguese were ousted from the Ningbo area in 1548.
Ningbo was one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened by the Treaty of Nanjing (signed in 1842) at the end of the First Opium War between Britain and China. During the war, British forces took possession of the walled city briefly after storming the fortified town of Zhenhai at the mouth of the Yong River on October 10, 1841. The British repulsed a Chinese attempt to retake the city in the Battle of Ningpo on March 10, 1842. In 1864, the forces of the Taiping Rebellion held the town for six months. In March 1885, during the Sino-French War, Admiral Courbet's naval squadron blockaded several Chinese warships in Zhenhai Bay and exchanged fire with the shore defenses.
During the late Qing dynasty, in the 1800s, the Ningbo authorities contracted Cantonese pirates to exterminate and massacre Portuguese pirates who raided Cantonese shipping around Ningbo. The massacre was "successful" being dubbed "The Ningbo Massacre" by an English correspondent.
During late Qing era, Western missionaries set up a Presbyterian Church in Ningbo. Li Veng-eing was a Reverend of the Ningbo Church. The Ningbo College was managed by Rev. Robert F. Fitch. The four trustees were natives of Ningbo, three of them had Taotai rank. Rev. George Evans Moule, B. A. was appointed a missionary to China by the Church of England Missionary Society and arrived at Ningbo with Mrs. Moule in February, 1858. He then commenced a mission station at Hang-chow, between which and Ningbo his time had been chiefly divided.
He wrote Christian publications in the Ningbo dialect.
During World War II in 1940, Japan bombed Ningbo with ceramic bombs full of fleas carrying the bubonic plague. According to Daniel Barenblatt, Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda received, with Prince Mikasa, a special screening by Shiro Ishii of a film showing imperial planes loading germ bombs for bubonic dissemination over Ningbo in 1940.
Ningbo is a city with strong Buddhist connections boasting a number of visually-impressive, historical temples. The 1700 year-old Asoka Temple houses the rare Buddhist relics of Sakyamuni, who is the founder of Buddhism; the Tiantong Temple, with a history of over 1600 years, is renowned for its fantastic scenery and subtle architectural style; and the Baoguo Temple boasts one of the best-preserved wooden structures of its type in the country.
Due to its location in the coastal region, an area with a subtropical monsoon climate, the region is subject to temperate and humid weather. The mean annual temperature is 16.2C (61.16F). The region has four distinct seasons which guarantee visitors a different holidaying experience depending on the time of year they visit. Season-specific resorts such as the Tianhe Scenic Area in Tiantai Mountain and Xuedou Mountain Scenic Area in Xikou-Tengtou Tourist Area cater for the summer season, while resorts such as the Nanxi Hot Springs are suited more to winter visits. However, to the north of the city run a series of beautiful lakes, including the Dongqian Lake, West Lake and Tai Lake, which are perfect for year-round visits.
Although the city is striving towards modernisation, the passion of the local people for producing traditional handicrafts remains undiminished. Hand-plaited bamboo vases, screens and animal figurines are particularly popular. The ancient Gu Mu Xiangqian, bamboo root carving and bamboo sculpture all reveal the local characters of craft.
<u>NINGBO’S DRUM TOWER</u>
Built atop the city wall during the Tang Dynasty in 821 in what is now Haishu district, Ningbo's Drum Tower (Gǔ Lóu, 鼓楼 has suffered through a rather tumultuous history. During the Yuan Dynasty, Mongol leaders had the tower demolished. It was later rebuilt only to be burned down again during the same dynasty. It was rebuilt once more in the Ming Dynasty in 1434 based on the ruins and in 1935, a clock tower was placed on top of the structure, which was repaired in 1989.
Through the gate is a sprawling pedestrian street full of tea shops, Chinese clubs and bars, hair salons, restaurants, video game arcades and various shops and stalls selling dishware, tea, jewelry, DVDs and other goods. The stalls lining the middle of the pedestrian street and some of the shops along the sides can be good places to pick up Chinese souvenirs, but when buying "antiques," jewelry or stones expect to encounter fakes.
Opposite the Drum Tower and to the west, antiques and art are on sale at the Ningbo Antique Market (Fan Residence Antique Market) and Moon Lake is a short walk away. Just west on Zhongshan Lu is the easy to miss Xiantong Pagoda (Xiántōng Tǎ, 咸通塔, built in 863 during the Tang Dynasty as part of a now-demolished temple. Behind the pedestrian street, visitors can take a stroll in Zhongshan Park (Zhōngshān Gōngyuán, 中山公园. PS: Ningbo city also runs along the same section of the Grand Canal that my last city does.
Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________
The soundtrack to this entry was by SWOOP The album was 'The Waxo Principle’ ____________________________________________________________ <b></b><u></u><sub></sub><strike> </strike>