Nanjing, some two hours east of Shanghai, doesn’t see as many Westerners and tourists as its better-known sister cities. After some time in Asia, travelers get used to being stared at – but in Nanjing it’s no longer staring: it is gawking.
Many people from the country visit the big city for Golden Week (a holiday equivalent to Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s Eve combined in terms of importance) and it’s probable that they’ve never seen Westerners before. Even adults gawk the way kids do before they are taught that it isn’t polite — at least in Western society.
An interesting stop in Nanjing is at the ancient Confucian temple where, for 1,500 years, mandarin-wanna-bes studied the great works of the philosopher. They would study for years to prepare for the examinations all civil servants had to pass in order to make the cut.
If you want a view of the entire city, you can take a chair lift to the top of the mountain to see…very little it turned out. The pollution in Nanjing, like in all Chinese cities, is pretty thick and makes it impossible to see the beauty of nature hidden somewhere on the borders of the cities. This city, small by Chinese standards, has approximately 4 million inhabitants and is one of many industrial centers for the country of 1.3 billion people. The most obvious evidence of the number of people and of their wealth is in car and industrial pollution.