Sunday, November 15, 2009

Return of the Nanking

Well, this blog post won't write itself, so let's get this trip to Nanjing over with so that I can get back to basics around here. I'm sure many of you are saying, "that Tongli museum was sexy and all, but hearing about your life is even sexier," and to those people I say, "let's meet up. msg me for face pic. no fatties."

One thing I forgot to say about the Tongli Sex Culture Museum is that, even though there were a lot of statues which were clearly penises, there were also some which were just poles sticking out of the ground. The placards next to them claimed that these statues had "penis meaning". Look, I'm sure that the curator is very learned and skilled, but I don't think that you should be allowed to call things art just because they remind you of penises. As much as I might want to. I mean, you. You might want to.

But, as everyone knows, every vacation, even the most penis meaningful vacation, have to come to an end, so after two days in the Suzhou/Tongli area we returned to Nanjing for one last hurrah. This hurrah involved a visit to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, a large memorial museum built next to a mass grave from the 1937-8 "rape of Nanking". I don't really want to talk about it. I don't think I'm up to describing it -- not because the event "renders words impotent", as I've heard it said (how could it? Isn't it words that trivialize events?), but because I'm not a writer and every time I try to describe it I can only think of words that everyone has used before: nausea, horror, obscenity, disgrace.

One silver haha lining in this cloud of doom was the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall gift shop, which sold hot dogs and a series of soft-porn DVD entitled "Comfort Women". I am, unfortunately, not joking -- Gus has pictures on his flickr. Also, don't look now, but there are some cute-ass ducks at the top of his photostream as we speak. Let's all take a look at the delicious ducks and try to forget the bad taste of Nanjing rape.

See, it's hard to forget the rape, right? Welcome to my vacation.

Our last day in Nanjing also included a trip to one of David's ancient Chinese classes, which was pretty interesting (and much easier to understand than the catalog class we went to on Monday that Gus blogged about), but which convinced me that I have no serious future in ancient Chinese, or maybe in the Chinese language in general. Apropos of that revelation, want to hear a funny joke? Knock knock. Who's there? I'm going to be living in China for two more years.

And then we came back to Guangzhou and restarted our life. The best part of coming home was hearing someone in the airport say "just now" as 啱啱 (Cantonese "ngaam1 ngaam1") instead of as 刚刚 (Mandarin "gāng gāng"). If you have a Cantonese speaker handy, have them say 啱啱 for you, because I promise it'll be the most fun you'll have all day.*

* Promise only valid if you live in a foreign land, are separated from friends and family by 10,000 miles, and are still a little bummed out from having seen a mass grave the day before.

And now our lives have basically returned to normal. Like today, when Gus and I sat with SJ (our Cantonese tutor) in the McDonalds for two and a half hours while I tried to explain transubstantiation to her and she just laughed and laughed.