After having a few difficulties with tour companies, I did think that I might have made a mistake in coming to Nanning.
Other than the trip I organised for tomorrow, I was wondering if maybe three days were too many for the city.
According to my guidebook, there isn’t even a ceramics exhibition to visit. (Regular readers may remember that I disagree with my guide book over how interesting pottery is).
I have two days to fill here… was I going to end up retreating to my hotel room to read? It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
But actually, there has been quite a lot to see and it’s mostly in people watching.
Nanning People’s Park was where I spent the afternoon. Surprisingly for a very large park in China, entry was free. Even more astonishing was the fact that visiting the Zhenning Fort on top of the Scenic Slope was also without cost.
I’ve come to realise that if the name of the area includes the word ‘scenic’ there will be a fee.
Should there be a zombie apocalypse, this will offer a secure defensive shelter. I’m not sure what the Hall of Mirrors would add but I think the last human defenders would find some use for them.
The park also has a beautiful botanic garden and I spent a few hours wandering there, doing my best not to ruin the photo that the bird watching photography club were all trying to take.
As with every open space I have been in for the last month, there were people practicing their passions – from the photography club, to the lone individuals singing in the woodland and also the lady working out her heavy metal moves to Rammstein on the battlements.
For a moment I thought she was being filmed – she was very good.
The park was where people appeared to be practicing in peace and quiet as opposed to performing for an audience and speaking of which…
From there, I headed back to Chaoyang Square. It was even busier than yesterday.
The card players were out in force and the games were highly animated today. The karaoke was deafening with one central circle cranking up the volume to the extent that the nearby sound systems couldn’t be heard even when standing next to them.
And the dancers were there again, only today had the added feature of ballroom dancing too.
I paused to watch while I ate my jacket potato. (Roadside sellers have rotisserie ovens baking sweet potatoes – they’re delicious).
A man signalled that I should be dancing – it’s very inclusive here – but I waved my spud with a smile and continued eating. Hip hop military pageantry (where I can’t step on anyone’s toes) is one thing, ballroom is another.
Everywhere I have visited has a night market but Nanning’s is a little different to some of the others. Yes, there are the deep fried squid but also flame grilled starfish and, like in Guilin, insects feature more heavily than in some of the Northern cities.
There was more black pudding than I’ve seen elsewhere and the restaurants were out on the street of the night market rather than being hidden away.
What did I have? I went with the fried spicy tofu. It’s a real favourite.
The tables were around grills for diners to cook their food to their preference. I’ve seen a lot of steaming pots in cities in the North but not these grills.
What I’m not sure about is the trend for drinking milk/yogurt/coconut milk out of a baby’s bottle. Why? Is this about regressing to a childlike state?
Away from the Market, Nanning is another city that lights up at night. This includes the ancient city walls that previously added another defence if crossing the river proved too easy for the enemy.
Featured Photo: The Night Market