I just got back from a somewhat too-short five-day trip to Nanjing, China. I did not, alas, find any turtle prick dumplings (sorry, Theodore). Nor did I see the Great Wall, or any gymnasts, or tiger penis aphrodisiacs. I did see lots of army folks, some powerful exhibitions about the Nanjing massacre, and lots of traffic. Nanjing has a reputation as the cultural and historic heart of China, so I was expecting at least moments of quaint-old-village. But like everywhere in China, the city is on a steroidal growth tear, now numbering eight million residents. So the old parts are there, but they are at least partially hidden behind the trappings of yet another would-be megapolis.
Things I liked about Nanjing: their willingness to eat every part of the duck, except, it would seem, for the actual meat of the duck. Blood, kidney, heart made for surprisingly good soups. Also, I loved the universities in town: walking around Nanjing University and Southeast University was a chance for unusual calm.
Things I did not like about Nanjing: no Facebook, no Twitter, no Google Plus, no YouTube, etc., etc. DadWagon reader CuteMonsterDad wanted to know if his blog was banned in China, and though I didn’t get a chance to check, it may well have been. Nothing seems too innocuous to escape the all-seeing censors. And the crackdown is worsening: China’s top investigative journalism team, to take one example, was shuttered this week.
But you, dear Chinese-speaking DadWagon readers, can help me answer a much more important question. See this advertisement in the picture up top? It was in front of a semi-seedy bar in the 1912 district call Touch 2. And it’s very clearly about Father’s Day (even with June 19th written in English). Look, there’s a picture of a dad with his child on his shoulders. But what would a bar be advertising Father’s Day for? Does DadWagon–with our lust for taking our children on pub crawls–have a kindred spirit in Nanjing’s bar district? If anyone can figure out what this all means, I’d love to hear about it.
In the meantime, I’m going to be tweeting my ass off today. Because in the US of A, I can.