Monday, September 18, 2006

Unprecedented Heights

Good news for the computer illiterate and the short of patience! Red Sky at Night is now a dual-media publishing source, as I will be authoring a weekly column in the "Viewpoints" section of the Tufts Daily newspaper. For those fortunate enough to not be in Medford, Massachusetts, these columns will also be available online at the Daily's website. Read my first column, running in Monday's paper here. To regular readers, it might look somewhat familiar.

In other news, I am freshly returned from Nanjing, China's historical southern capital. It was an adventurous, action-packed weekend, shared with my 60-odd fellow American CIEE students. I found Nanjing to be a very pleasant city, much more manageable than Beijing. It is considerably smaller than its northern counterpart, and environmentally it was, literally, a breath of fresh air. Partly thanks to the fact that much of the weekend was spent outdoors, running through mountains, a nasty sinus infection that had been creeping up on me was gone within 6 hours of arrival. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It was an 11 hour train ride to Nanjing, done overnight in the "hard sleeper" class. Though it sounds terribly unpleasant, "hard sleeper" is actually quite comfortable, once you slide yourself into your berth. There are six people in each doorless "compartment", stacked three high on each side, which open out onto the corridor running down the side of the train. I would tell you more, but I was asleep the whole trip.

We arrived, groggy, on Saturday morning, and made two major stops as a group. Both were within the same, massive park that encircles and includes Zijin Shan (Purple Gold Mountain). The highlight destination was the mausoleum of Sun Yat Sen (pictured, with Lion). The steps ran up the side of the moutain, leading to one heck of a final resting place, solely for Dr. Sun. If you've got to go, I'll tell you, that's the way to do it.

There are more stories and more pictures to come, but for now, I have some Chinese characters to study.


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