The traffic ground to a halt down our road today to allow a huge crane to lift an enormous steel grid into a hole that's gradually appeared in the middle of the road over the last six months. Presumably it's either the floor or the ceiling of the subway station they are building there. At last, noticeable progress!
JD's actual birthday was back at the end of March, but with illnesses, conflicting parties and Jiajia being away we only managed to arrange his celebration this last weekend. JD dressed up in his smartest clothes, including gelled up hair and we met up with six of his friends, and their parents, at a McDonalds for a "happy meal" lunch. After eating, opening presents, playing games, blowing out the candles on a "Frozen" cake (the film, not the temperature) and singing a bilingual "Happy Birthday" we all headed upstairs where there is a large indoor play centre. The kids spent a happy couple of hours playing there before we all went our separate ways.
I read about XuNing Temple online last week and realised it's not so far from my University. So yesterday I drove up the hill slowly on my e-bike for a look-see. It's a large complex with great views over Kunming. Plus, there was no more than half a dozen people there and it's ticket-free. I hope to take JD there at the weekend as I'm sure he'll enjoy the huge dragons.
Lovely to meet up with Cathy yesterday, a friend for about ten years since I moved to Kunming. She and her boyfriend were up in Kunming for some paperwork business and came to the house here for lunch and a chat. Cathy lives in JingHong, a 45 minute flight away, in the sub-tropical south of Yunnan, where she runs an English language school called "Cool School" (my original suggestion for a name). JD enjoyed playing with her, despite him still suffering with a week-long cough and sore throat.
JD has been off school all this week with a nasty cough and occasional fever. It caused particular problems on Monday with Ava in Shenzhen and Mother-in-law in ChengGong, leaving me to look after him, despite having four university lessons, to teach. Thankfully, I was able to postpone the lessons even though it causes the University staff ridiculous amounts of paperwork. It is the first time I have missed a class in two years there, so they understood. Ma-in-law was back on Tuesday, allowing me to do my normal lessons, and Ava flies back today which means I can complete the catch-up classes. JD meanwhile seems full of energy even though his cough shows no sign of improvement.
My amazing Dad turned 80 this week and, as well as a celebratory get-together with his church friends last weekend and 60+ cards on his actual birthday, my brothers and I had also arranged a trip up the Shard for afternoon tea with the family. The Shard is Europe's tallest building and quite an imposing sight in the London skyline. They had a great time, by all accounts, and I was really sorry I couldn't be there in person. We even failed to get a Skype connection up. Dad also received a book of 100+ comments, compliments and anecdotes from relatives, friends and ex-work colleagues. A small momento of a life of service to others, good humour and great respect from all who have known him. Happy Birthday, Dad. We're all very proud of you. I have wonderful parents.
Saw these amazing fish in a large pond outside a restaurant the other day. Chinese electronic dictionaries say their English name is hadrosaur, but English dictionaries say that's an extinct dinosaur. Further investigation seems to imply they are called "Duck-billed fish" in English, which seems apt. They are supposed to be delicious, too!
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