The 4th UN World Urban Forum is winding down. Today will be the last day. While it has been an interesting place for practioners from around the world (more than 5,000) to come and talk and listen to other people, I can't help but think how advanced Brunei is compared to some of the problems I have been listening to. I know there are many things to be done and much expectation to fulfill but seriously we are still better than say three quarters of the world. But then everyone wants the best and that is something that my colleagues and I working to fulfill.
The Nanjing International Expo where the Forum is held is about 40 minutes drive from our hotel which is in the city centre. My views of Nanjing are limited to what I can see from my hotel room and what I can see on the drive to the Expo. I can't see much on the drive back as it is already in the evening (we finished at 6.30 pm everyday).
From what I can gather, it is much better than the other cities in China. The place is clean and green. It actually won a UN-Habitat award. It transformed its main Qinghuai river into one of the most beautiful tourist spots currently. Haze unfortunately is a problem they cannot seem to solve. Dust is another. The main roads are always wet. The authorities here sprayed the roads everyday to keep the dust down. Nanjing especially is full of historical treasure trove but unfortunately other than the visit to the Brunei Heritage Park, we have not had the time to visit other places. Last night we manage to see the Qinghuai River and the night stalls around the place. It was beautiful.
As always I did make a point to search for my favourite shopping place - shopping for old currency notes. In Manila, I found it at San Juan. In Nanjing, I found it at Chao Tian Gong. Though haggling the prices is a bit hard as she can't seem to talk any other language despite selling currencies around the world and other than Ni Hau, I don't know any other Mandarin despite having a grandmother originating from Xiamen. The calculator is always a good universal tool for bargaining and I managed to get some nice notes. Unfortunately the 1st and 2nd series of renmimbi yuan remained way beyond my price range. In China, currently they are using the 5th renmimbi yuan series of the 2nd edition (just in case you are wondering). More of the money in future in my other blog www.bruneimoneystamps.blogspot.com.
It's almost time to pack up and go home. Our bags of course are much heavier, not because of shopping (we did not buy anything as the shopping centre in our hotel sells only international goods at twice the Singapore price) but heavy because of the materials and books we bought and are given throughout the forum. We learnt a few stuffs and hope to put them into practise. On that note, goodbye from Nanjing.