JD and I visited Kunming's Zoological Museum last weekend. When JD was 4-5 years old we bought an annual family pass for a couple of years, so we've visited the museum 20-30 times before, but not for a couple of years. There were a few changes this time. Some things we had fond memories of had disappeared (the interactive computer games, the snack area etc) but there were also some fun new exhibits, such as the tank full of stick insects [see right] and a stuffed "lion catches zebra" display [see below]. All good fun.
Quickie and Miki
Our last little trip to London yesterday. While JiaJia checked out the Van Gogh exhibition at the Tate Gallery (crowded), JD and I walked to the Imperial War Museum where JD proceeded to tell me imaginative statistics and backgrounds to all the various planes, tanks and weaponry (to the amusement of passers-by). Who knew a Spitfire was from Canada and could travel at 10,000mph?
We also managed to meet up with my good friend Miki, recently returned from running a hotel in Poland. We all joined up for a picnic by the Thames before Miki went on her way and the rest of us headed back to Sidcup to start packing for China.
JD and I finally got to Kunming's new Science Museum yesterday, meeting up with a family we know who are due to leave Kunming for good next week. To our surprise, the Museum was excellent - very interactive and modern. And free, too! We'll be going back again soon.
Gum, gone, gun
Then on Wednesday we had to take him out of school for the afternoon to collect his Chinese ID card and have some preventative dental treatment [see above]. Wednesday night JD was complaining of tummy ache again and so we kept him home on Thursday. By noon he seemed fine so I took him out for some fresh air, meeting up with my old friend Emily and her two-year old, Jonathan [see photo below]. Emily and I reminisced about when we had first met. Little did we know then that, some 16 years later, we would not only still be in touch, but watching our respective children play together! We had intended to visit the newly refurbished Science Museum, but a notice on the door said it was closed - decorations still a week away from being finished.
With "tummy ache tears" again on Friday morning we felt it was wise to take JD to the hospital to get his stomach properly checked out. Blood and stool tests later, the doctor said there was nothing obviously wrong and just gave him some digestion tablets to take. Jiajia and I suspect JD is enjoying his days off school a little too much and perhaps exaggerating his pains a bit. But of course you never know. So extra "Daddy homework" on Friday afternoon and no iPad until he does a full day at school again!
Mu see 'em
Today we got to see my brother Andy's new house. He and his family have been looking for their dream house for about four years but have now finally found the right home in the right location. And while my sister-in-law Ali took JiaJia to Winchester's charity shops, Andy, Louie and Daisy took JD and I to Winchester's very interactive Science Museum and Planetarium for a fun visit.
Improving self a steam
JD and I spent this morning at the Kunming Railway Museum. JD was two years old when we last went and he had no recollection of it. But this time he thoroughly enjoyed seeing everything from the old steam engines to the new high-speed trains. I've been to the museum about half a dozen times and it just gets better every time with new exhibits and more English captions. Shame about the toilets though!!
Change the size
I had arranged to meet a colleague at my University Library coffee shop the other day but, arriving too early, I looked around for somewhere to kill 15 minutes. I spotted a doorway marked "Ethnic Minority Accounting Museum". Walking in, I found a collection of darkened rooms. A receptionist suddenly appeared, clearly surprised to receive a visitor, and happily turned on all the lights for me. The exhibition was based around the ways that ethnic groups in China have recorded trade deals and wealth through the ages. It had a pleasing amount of English labelling, one of which claimed to show the "largest metal coin in the world" [see above]. Not easy on the pocket or purse, I suspect! There was surprisingly little Chinglish to amuse me, but one sign did catch my eye [see below].
Bite to eat
We invited a couple of JD's schoolfriends and their parents, to the Animal Museum the other day. They had never been before, so JD took great delight in showing them where everything was (having been there 30+ times himself!).
Afterwards, we went to a nearby Thai restaurant for lunch. The two families had been very generous to us on a visit their hometown last year, so the museum and meal was our little thank you treat.
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
Past blog entries