Killing an afternoon in Nanchang 南昌: Jiangxi Province 江西省

What to do if you find yourself stuck in Nanchang 南昌 for an afternoon waiting for onward transport.

Nanchang will never win any beauty contests. In the summer it is a polluted furnace; and in the winter its a polluted grey, damp and pretty miserable place to be.

Barring some Communist Party must see memorabilia, enticing sights to visit are conspicuous by their absence and a sightseeing tour of Nanchang won’t last too long.

However, Nanchang is the capital of the much under explored Jiangxi Province, and as such, it acts as a useful transport hub for reaching some of Jiangxi’s wondrous sights, such as the area of Wuyuan, Jinggangshan, Longmen and many more; you will undoubtably find yourself passing through. So what to do?

Hang out in the Parks

There is something for everyone in Nanchang’s central parks (these photos were taken in Ren Min Gong Yuan 人民公园 people’s Park in the center of the city). A cold beer on a hot day, warm tea and opera singers brighten up any dull moment in the winter, and Taijiquan 太極拳 practise all year round.

Marial Arts

Martial Arts masters teach young enthusiastic kids the ropes: the expert we saw had drawn a huge crowd of onlookers and his pupils must have felt like the Kung fu stars of old as people applauded their every move (especially the parents). The master was always less impressed, finding fault in everything and urging improvement and concentration.

Traditional Opera

Musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments and Chinese opera singers show off their skills in front of large spontaneous audiences.

The clanging and bashing of drums and symbols reverberate around every corner of the huge park as does the high pitch shrill of the singers.

Karaoke competitions

Then there are the various Karaoke competitions. Young wannabe stars blurt out famous Chinese pop songs to mixed reactions.

A critical and discerning audience never doubted in giving the thumbs up or down. In China, that means a rapturous applause, or a stony, uncomfortable silence at the end of each song.

Peace and Quiet

For those looking for more peaceful activities, they seem to while away their time away playing Chinese chess, sipping tea and chatting to friends. And for the  one day visitor, there is plenty of activity to keep you enticed during an afternoon, and if tea is not to your liking, there are plenty of vendors selling beer and snacks.

Author: Adam

My name is Adam. I have a degree in Chinese History from SOAS and a masters in International Politics focused on China from the same university. I have travelled around China 9 times and since 2000 I have travelled every year for two months. I guess I kind of like the place!

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