Nanjing: Day 3

The choir had the luxury of a day’s sight-seeing today. Nanjing, once the capital of China, has recovered from the wartime devastation inflicted by the Japanese to become a serious economic powerhouse. Our excellent tour guide gave us a history lesson that encompassed everything from calligraphy to foot-binding, before depositing us in searing heat outside the city museum (one of the largest in the country). Quite amazingly – given the thousands of people surging past its displays – we managed to get to the exit together, and the choristers even had time to name each dinosaur exhibit after a member of staff.

We paused for lunch at McDonald’s. As one boy pointed out, McDonald’s in China is a rather classy affair, with obsessive floor mopping and a delicate display of macaroons at the entrance. After this, the choristers finally got the chance to part with their cash in the shopping area, where they graciously agreed to endless selfies with curious locals. Weighed down with cultural artifacts (including fans, sweets, guns, nunchucks, squishies, bubble tea and a giant green caterpillar named Simon) we switched our brains back on for a visit to the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing: an awe-inspiring complex rumoured to have been the burial site for part of the Buddha’s skull.

A banquet at the restaurant next door completed a perfect day of exploration. We have, according to our guide, ingested several dishes supposed to boost brain-power. We’ll see if this is true when the choristers get back to school…





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