KRISTA MILLS / FOR THE SUN
Nanjing Massacre Memorial — The beginning and entrance to the Museum. What this picture does not show is the hordes of people already inside.
The second part of the journey to Nanjing was less happy than the first. On the second day in that city Krista and saw the Nanjing Massacre Museum and Seaworld.
One of the Jellyfish lit from below at Seaworld. It is interesting to note that the keepers have been using the Jellyfish as art instead of being treated like animals. (KRISTA MILLS / FOR THE SUN)
Through the tunnel — As with the Jellyfish, another part of the artistic side of Seaworld is the underwater tunnel. You can walk through it and see fish from their own perspective. Not for the claustrophobic. (KRISTA MILLS / FOR THE SUN)
We arrived at the Museum expecting to be dismayed by the history of the area. Even around the entrance the art that was showcased was chilling in its portrayal of Chinese people running for their lives. I did some research leading up to this trip but it was not enough to prepare me for what was inside. The memorial to the loss of 300,000 lives is not to be taken lightly.
As shocking as some of the images and stories in the Museum were, I never felt as if the curators were being offensive. Stories and evidence were in display cases in a mazelike interior that led you through the history of 1930s and ’40s China. Articles left by the Japanese were alongside pictures and old newspaper cutouts explaining the atrocities that happened in the city.
The interior at times looked a lot like a cave and the gloom only heightened the tension in the stories. The last part of the museum holds the records of the Massacre itself so that it cannot be forgotten. Thousands of pages stored in cases stacked through a room forty feet high. Somehow it leant an even more somber tone to the Museum. The mass of that history really weighs down on you.
After the Museum, we wanted to cheer ourselves up by doing something happy. Seaworld in Nanjing seemed to be the place that would do that and we hopped on the subway to get there.
If anything, this place was more sobering than the Nanjing Massacre memorial. Sometimes zoos back home are sad. In China there is less space and it is even more depressing. Animals are viewed differently in this culture and sometimes they are not treated as well. The jellyfish tanks were interesting and lit with different coloured lights. I did get to feed the Polar Bear some fish which made me feel better. Ultimately though, the cages were too small and the animals to forlorn looking to hold our interest. We even had to pass through the cafeteria that served; you guessed it, mostly fish to get out of that place.
The Nanjing Massacre Museum was important to the trip. It is a big piece of history that has shaped China today. I highly recommend it. Avoid Seaworld though, especially if you like animals.
Saddened, Krista and I got back on the subway and made for the train. It was time for us to go back to Yangzhou.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 2, 2012