» » A Charles and Mieko Simon Web Site « «

Nanjing — Home of the Flying Tigers

Nanjing — I remember as Nanking.   This is where the famous Flying Tigers with their P-40's were assigned.   As a kid, the P-40 was a strikingly colorful airplane with its open mouth full of sharp teeth.   There were visions of it screaming down out of the sky putting fear in the most fearless of mortal souls.   All traces of those days more than 50 years ago are gone.   The streets now are crowded with cars and busses and along side the streets, lines of bicyles.  

In addition to meeting our boat here, we were to see the Nanjing Wall, a wall built in the late 1300's.   Taking a total of 21 years to construct it involved 200,000 laborers and 7 million cubic feet of earth.   It was built for the same purpose as the Great Wall, to keep out invaders.

The city wall at Taicheng was one of the biggest city gates of Nanjing wall in the Ming Dynasty( 1368-1644).   Taicheng means Terrace Wall.   This wall was built between 1366 to 1386.   The whole structure was built with huge bricks and special "environmental" cement made from lime, tung oil and sticky rice juice, which resulted in an extraordinarily strong mortar.   The Nanjing City Wall is in harmony with environmental surroundings.   Its height is between 40-80 feet, its width is 26-88 feet at the bottom and 10-59 feet at the top. It is the world's longest capital city wall with a length of over 13 miles (it was originally 21 miles).

The delicately designed city gate has two archways, top surface is about 10-59 feet wide, enough for 15 people to walk abreast. While walking on the top of it, you can also have a towering view over the evergreen Xuan Wu Lake.

The view of the lake and the city from sections of the top was very nice.   Climbing to the highest reaches at this location was a unique surface for walking.   Originally designed for horses, the surface consisted of steps with risers of only 1 to 1-1/2 inches.   This was nearly a ramp but was much easier climbing and walking than a ramp would have been.

Back in our bus and on our way to the boat, we noticed some unique traffic control signals.   The bright red “05” is a countdown in seconds before the traffic light changes.

Once at our boat, we are taken to our cabin where we prepare for our departure from Nanjing and our first onboard dinner.

Tomorrow — Mt. Jinhua