T’was the third day of Chinese New Year…

…and all was quiet in Nanjing.

I flew to Shanghai yesterday out of Songshan Airport in Taipei. How surprising it was to find the train station packed to the brim! From what I understand, the majority of travel is done the eve of Chinese New Year, since most people must work up to the very last minute. Given the fact that so much of the labor force is from out-of-town, there’s a kind of vacuum effect that happens to the east coast cities as everyone frantically hops on some sort of transportation back to the inner provinces. It’s possible that since day two of CNY is traditionally reserved for visiting one’s niang jia (the wife’s family), day three’s traffic was thus a result of the overflow of backward returnees.

Well, at least that was the case in Taiwan. The news certainly had enough snapshots of congested north-bound highways back up to Taipei!

I didn’t manage to get back to Nanjing until almost 9pm yesterday, but the stunning lack of cars meant I could commandeer the street for the easier transportation of my luggage.  I think I should learn how to travel light! After getting back to the Center this morning, I made a grocery run to Suguo and found the streets much the same in the daytime:

A street normally teeming with people and bikes...

A street normally teeming with people and bikes...

...all is quiet for the Chinese New Year.

...all is quiet for the Chinese New Year.

The bright red paper scraps left over by nocturnal fire-cracker festivities are the only pieces of evidence that Nanjing is still the throes of New Year’s celebrations. Otherwise, it would appear that the city has decided to take an extended winter nap. But, I think I’ll characterize the lack of life on the streets as being “eerie”. China is a country of 1.3 billion souls. Stillness and quiet is unheard of as part of its urban landscape!

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