Monday, July 29, 2013

Possibly the best war museum I've seen - Nanjing, China

300000 victims in just one city 
We get off the train at Nanjing central station, take a quick look at Google Maps and get on the subway to Yunjinlu station. After misinterpreting the station area map we end up at the Silk and brocade museum. We understand straight away that we've made a mistake, nonetheless we take a jolly little walk among silkworms, looms and robes. At the end of it we get out again under the Central-Eastern China scorching sun and enter the right museum, the Nanking massacre one. The structure spreads over a number of air-conditioned halls and an outdoor area (more suffering, it would've been much better to come here in spring). The visitors can walk among commemorative sculptures and installations, reconstructions, bunkers, authentic (and rather grim) mass graves unearthed many years after the events took place and an amazing photo exhibition that I recommend you leave as the last part of your visit. 
Obviously, in order to focus on the real value of the exhibition, one has to scratch the inevitable bombast glaze that coats the whole thing and overlook for a few hours the Chinese government exploitation of the historical events (and the subsequent hatred against the Japanese) for slimy regional supremacy purposes. Beautiful sentences of the "forgivable, but not forgettable" type can sound rather shallow in this context. 
This is no doubt one of the best war museums I've seen though. Those in Hanoi and Saigon can also sport first class exhibits but the buildings that house them and the general care for details are definitely of a much lower level. At the Nanjing museum quality encompasses a number of different aspects: architectural, artistic, historical and documentary. And if that were not enough the admission is totally free, for everyone. If you happen to be anywhere in Eastern China (especially in Shanghai or the surrounding region) I strongly recommend you pay a visit to it

A few more photos:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The legendary Suzhou's wind - China

Motherly instinct: her kid can as well burn in hell as long as her princess skin is screened from the sun light
It's hot in Suzhou, a demotivating kind of hot. As a result I've decided to suspend my daily jogging sessions. Who would have thought that I would suffer it like this after all those years spent training at the tropics? Fortunately on our side we have the proverbial Suzhou's wind, as my friend L likes to call it. Besides cooling your skin the gusts can also knock down your parked bicycle, throw a handful of dust in your eyes and uncover a curvy girl's thigh or boob, in case you are lucky and she's not. The best part of it, though, is spotting one of those affected city ladies nervously grasping the handle of her closed parasol, forced to let the sun scorching her skin like a simple mainland farmer girl. Asian girls actually tend to look quite good when they are tan: I find them more sensual, feline and spicy. Far Eastern people in general though, especially the wealthier ones, consider a dark complexion a loss of status, a stain that must be washed away with expensive beauty treatments or crappy whitening creams, which turn out to be mere sunscreen products in disguise. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Funny signs/8

I often come across some funny signs, billboards, notices and labels. When it happens I always make sure that I don't leave the spot without a photo. I'll post them here a few at a time.
Rest in Peace Eye Steak (Bangkok, Thailand)
That's the punishment for those who violate the rule...(Florence, Italy)
Some kind of energy saving traffic light (Thibaw, Burma)