Hello there faithful readers!
Sincere apologies for the brief hiatus. We've been touring the Chinese countryside on a 24-hour train ride from Guangzhou to Nanjing, but now that we’re in 南京, China’s “Southern Capital,” we should be able to get back to our usual blogging routine.
What to say so far about Nanjing, other than we’ve been getting a healthy dose of home via our friend Hanna, who is here both studying and being generally kick-ass at The Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies.
It’s the end of a very long day so I’ll rely on photos to show you about this clearly amazing new city that we’ve just begun to explore.
After meeting up with Hanna and seeing her new, non-Colby dorm, we headed over to a local Korean spot for lunch— you know, for a change of pace. Will enjoyed the bacon in lettuce cups, while Hanna and I ate mostly noodle and rice dishes. Yum.
Then the spirits smiled upon me and Hanna led us to the store that represents, at least in my opinion, the holy grail of international shopping. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about none other than H&M.
Let it be known that I adore H&M—I don't care who knows it—and I especially adore H&M when I'm abroad and clothing that is both decent quality and affordable can be hard to come by.
It was an English-speaking shoppers paradise, and I dove in like I had never left.
Also, if you’re wondering where on earth the random plaid jacket came from (Jackie, I’m looking at you), Hanna’s adorable Chinese roommate lent it to me! Nanjing, as our northern-most destination, is probably the coldest place we’ll visit, so we hadn’t exactly prepared for chilly weather.
The mall was covered in festive decorations, which included red and green sacks labeled “Lucky Christmas Bags” in nearly every window display. As we walked through stores that included Zara, Starbucks♥ and Levi’s, “It’s a Wonderful World” and “Silent Night” played through the mall’s speakers.
Post-shopping afternoon, we headed to a Northeastern Chinese (“Dongbei”) restaurant near Nanjing University to get our fill of Harbin-style food. These are all of Hanna’s wonderful friends, who warmly welcomed us into their Chinese home-away-from-home.
A good time was had by all, drinking Harbin beer and eating by far the most delicious food we’ve had in China.
We had Will’s favorites of course: 地三鮮 (left) fried eggplant with peppers and potatoes and 鍋包肉 (right), deep-fried pork, sweet & sour style. Note that this is not your average sweet and sour pork— this is epic sweet and sour pork.
We also sampled some 大煮干丝, tofu & “glass” noodles with sautéed vegetables which were surprisingly refreshing and had a great acidic bite to them. (I ate around the cilantro).
While our old favorites hit the spot as always, the stand-out dish in the batch for me was this sweet potato number that I had never tried before. The sweet potato is coated in syrupy sugar that causes the whole thing to stick together— you then dip each piece into the water before eating to get the sugar strings to disengage. I guess it’s more of a dessert than a side dish, but it was seriously fantastic.
Tomorrow we're exploring more of the city, and we'll be sure to report back on what we find! Until then, check out my first article from abroad, which printed on Sunday in the Post-Gazette!