Last Sunday, JD and I visited a lovely American family we are good friends with; Nancy, her husband NamSung, and their kids Kaiya and Zaden. Nancy teaches English at the same University as me and JD enjoys playing with her kids (especially as they speak English!). They set up a fun volcano experiment outside before treating us to a midday breakfast of waffles, bacon and eggs! JD loved every moment.
Somkin is wrong
I wish there were more "No Smoking" signs around in Kunming, and that they had better spelling than these I spotted recently.
I gave a short lesson to JD's Kindergarten class this morning. There were 24 kids and we learned the names of six animals before playing some flashcard games and singing "Old MacDonald". It was quite tricky as they had no English at all, so it was all about body language and a little simple Chinese. JD was a bit bemused [see photo] to see Daddy out front and he burst into tears as the lesson ended. When I asked him later how he'd felt, he said "Dizzy"!
JD and I put up our Christmas decorations last week - very early, but he was home ill, so he enjoyed the activity. He's already way too excited about Christmas, with little comprehension of the many weeks to go before he opens his presents!
A bad utterence
Prides and rides
Jiajia, JD and I visited Kunming Zoo yesterday. I was pleased to see they have built new, larger enclosures for the elephants, lions, tigers and giraffes. The smaller animals fare less well (inc a miserable hippo who can barely turn around). Still, a huge improvement on say 10 years ago, helped by the removal of half the animals to a wildlife safari park outside the city a few years ago. JD enjoyed the animals but was most excited about the various rides. So we indulged in a few of those before heading off to a restaurant for a well-earned meal.
JD was counting the days down to my birthday in excitement at the thought of blowing out the candles on my cake!
Today was my birthday. My brother Andy e-mailed me a very funny card, depicting my family and parents as members of International Rescue. JD and I are big Thunderbirds fans, so we enjoyed it a lot, especially my Mum's cocky nod to the camera!!
Can you dig it?
China isn't known for its Health and Safety record so, playing my "crazy foreigner" card, JD and I wandered into a random building site the other day. Nobody working there batted an eyelid and we got plenty of waves from the drivers of cranes, dump trucks, excavators and bulldozers. JD was in his element, of course, bedecked as he was in his toy builder's helmet!
Making great strides
I saw this photo in a gallery the other day, taken in Kunming some years ago (though it's a colour picture, so not that long, I guess). I was interested to see the lady on the left smoking. These days about half of all Chinese men smoke, but hardly any women. Maybe it was more widespread in those days? And how about the lady on the right? She must have had bound feet, and just look at how thin those legs are. She probably needs the walking stick to stop them snapping!
Not so super, man
Well, the "Superman" bit makes sense, but it quickly turns into drivel after that! Spotted on a T-shirt last week.
This huge crane is still prowling around our neighbourhood after two weeks, much to JD's delight. At the top of the boom is a precarious worker wielding a chain saw, chopping off the tops of nearly all the trees. Whether this is for safety, aesthetics or the health of the tree through the Winter I've yet to ascertain. The absence of leafy boughs certainly lets in more light to our flat, but the trees do look rather forlorn as a result. I'm just hoping now that more workers will arrive soon to remove the huge mountains of branches littering the area.
Bubble bobble hat
JD loves his bubble baths and created this hat the other day. Bubble bath liquid is hard to get in China, so we are relying on the dregs of two large bottles of the stuff which we brought back from the UK on our latest visit.
When you have two go
I want my mummy
My seven lessons at the Primary and Middle Schools where I teach were based around Halloween yesterday. As well as learning the names of various monsters, we played Picture Consequences, Make-a-Mummy [see photo above] and learned a Ghost song. Much enjoyed by all.
See you in Xi You
I've been promising myself a day by myself, doing my own thing, for some time now. So with Ava in Shenzhen and JD dropped at Kindergarten, I hit the buses. My aim was to get to Xi You Cave - a place I'd read a brief (and less than complimentary) review about many months ago and made a mental note to visit.
I caught the first bus easily enough but, after waiting 90 minutes for the connecting bus, I gave up and hailed an unlicensed taxi for the remainder. Most of the cave area was very tacky - plastic fake cave walls, shops selling tat and umpteen flashing lights. But the cave itself was quite nice, if overlit, and there was a fun train ride at the far end taking you up to another cave - GuanYing - decked out as a Buddhist shrine. From there, the most fun way down turned out to be a stone slide [see photo above] which was surprising fast with some tight turns as my bottom bruises will attest! A local minibus back into Kunming made for an easy return.
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
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