I just spent a couple days in Nanjing, which is a few hours west of Shanghai. It was my first trip there. I always seem to visit the same manufacturing hubs in China and it was nice to go somewhere new.
A quick history lesson: Nanjing means “southern capital” (versus Beijing meaning “northern capital”). It’s a historical and cultural city and was the capital of several dynasties over the course of Chinese history. It was most recently the capital of China under the Kuomintang, from 1927 until their retreat to Taiwan in 1949. I visited The Presidential Palace, which includes the former offices of several top government officials, including Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, as well as the former residence of Sun Yat-sen. It’s one the few places in mainland China where the flag of the Republic of China still flies.
With a current urban population of approximately 5 million people, it’s twice the size of Chicago (and the traffic definitely feels that way).
At night, the center of the city felt like I was standing in the middle of a scene from “Blade Runner” – but without the video blimps and flying cars.
I came across a lady wielding a sword while walking in the “1912 District”. It’s a very old, very cool part of the city full of bars and restaurants next to The Presidential Palace. She was getting lessons on Chinese sword play. She didn’t see me coming from behind her and almost took my head off. After she apologized I asked for a few photos and she obliged. I grabbed about 25 in various poses. Nice lady…