1RMB (10p) for each task completed each week.
JD's going to have to start working for his little treats.
1RMB (10p) for each task completed each week.
China launched its first self-built aircraft carrier today. Its only previous one was a refurbished second-hand Russian ship. The military build up in China is getting very noticeable and a little bit worrying.
Closer to home, JD's choice of outing today was to YuanTong Temple across town. He's recently been copying Jiajia when she prays to Buddha and he wanted to try praying by himself! He particularly enjoyed the prayer wheels at the Tibetan Temple next door.
JD was having trouble grasping how long it is until we visit the UK, so I wrote a countdown on a block of post-its and now, every day, he rips off the top one and we stick it up on the top of the wardrobe.
We are all really looking forward to the trip. Six weeks seemed a lot of time for us to fill, at first, but we appear to be squeezing far too much in once again in order to see everyone and do all the things we want to. And of course, we're still waiting to see if Jiajia gets her visa without a hiccup.
JD's Birthday Party has been put back again and again, due to illnesses, bad weather and conflicting events. But, last weekend, he finally got his party with his preferred guests (American friends, Kaiya and Zaden) with a trip to the Waterfall Park to do various activities and share a picnic. Together the kids did boating, fishing, robot driving, a car ride, trampolining and ice-creams. We got there by e-bike, subway and tuk-tuk, and returned by open-topped bus and e-bike. The weather stayed dry, the picnic was enjoyed and great fun was had by all.
JD and I took the 7½ hour daytime train back to Kunming today. It's been an even more successful trip than I had hoped for with plenty of exercise, adventures, friends and fresh air. JD says his highlight (alongside the boat, the chairlift and the horse riding) was the easy access to various construction vehicles ...each to his own!
JD and I walked to the Three Pagodas this morning (the hotel told us it was 1km. It was at least 3km!) and were able to get in for free with yesterday's boat ticket. Then up a ten-minute chairlift to get to the top of CangShan mountain. JD was keen to visit a couple of caves there (armed with a tiny torch he had bought especially) but, after a 4km walk along the "cloud path" we found they had been closed due to a rockfall. So another 4km back to the chairlift, via a picnic and back to the hotel. Ten kilometres is a lot of short legs, and JD was hardly able to stay awake by the time we got to our room!
JD and I had our first trip out today - a 4 hour boat trip around ErHai Lake. The large boat had a dance show on board and stopped at two pretty islands where we could disembark for a wander. Although the boat was quite full, most of the Chinese passengers preferred to stay indoors, playing cards and avoiding the sun, leaving JD and I lots of quiet opportunities to look for pirates and sharks!
JD and I are off late this evening for a little impromptu holiday. I have two weeks off from University while my students go on internships and so we are taking JD out of school for a few days and he and I are taking the overnight sleeper train for 8 hours up to the old town of Dali. Jiajia needs to stay in Kunming as her store in being moved (hopefully temporarily) and our old house is mid-decoration. JD is very excited about the trip and "packed" a week ago! I'm hoping it will be fun whilst being aware that looking after a child 24/7 in a new environment, without the usual home amenities and toy/game options might be a bit of a struggle.
After a tip-off that following the PanLong River north made for a nice walk, ending near the Waterfall Park, JD and I set off last Saturday. It was indeed a picturesque route in lovely weather, but a little further than we imagined. After 4km, JD was flagging and we took a subway train and bus to complete the journey. After walking around the largest man-made waterfall in Asia, we headed home by three-wheeled bike, subway and taxi. Later that evening Jiajia and I started to realise that JD wasn't "just" tired from the walking. Turns out he's got "Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease". We've had to cancel his Birthday party as it's very contagious, though thankfully not serious.
JD turns five today. He's had a large pile of presies taunting and tempting him since last weekend! We've allowed him to open one gift each day this week as long as there was no crying on arrival at school that morning - a relapse he's been struggling with for a couple of weeks. Happy Birthday, Son!
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