Just got back from Chongqing - 90 minutes flight away - with my new passport and another for JD. Saw this great advice in the lift there!
About a month ago, JD decided he wanted to make a little shop "like mummy's" but for selling toys to his friends. So JiaJia went online and bought a variety of cheap toys (£4 total). JD and I decided on the prices and made boxes and signs for the various items.
Then, after school today, JD and I quickly set up shop outside the main gates. Within minutes a crowd of parents and children were surrounding us to have a look at the little foreigner showing his entrepreneurial skills! JD was quick to explain prices and give them the right change. By the end, 90% of the stock had been sold and JD made a tidy profit of just over £10!
JD and I went to a classmate's birthday celebration yesterday. We drove a little way out of the city to a large recreational area with restaurants, a sand pit, swings and these rather cool Mongolian yurts! The focus of the "party" was to climb a nearby mountain. 18 of us set off but only 5 made it to the top, including JD and I.
The views over Kunming were pretty impressive but emphasised once again, just what a polluted city it is - fairly clean by Chinese city standards, but still covered in a layer of smog.
By the time we returned down the mountain, we were pretty hungry. Undeterred by the goat carcasses and dead fish in the tanks, we really enjoyed a tasty banquet - 20 of us around a huge "lazy susan" rotating table. The kids then continued to play in the sand and on the swings followed by a birthday cake. JD is the youngest in his class - still 5½ while others are turning 6 - but he is still one of the "playmakers" when he gets together with his friends!
After a week at home with a nasty cough I finally got JD back to Kindergarten yesterday morning, only to be told he "still had a fever" (despite the nurse's thermometer showing a very normal reading of 37ºC) and so I had to take him home again! I cancelled his planned evening Halloween party and we spent another day together.
We decided to build a huge Halloween Den that he and I could both sleep in. So last night we had sausage sandwiches, doughnuts and sweets before some scary stories and off to sleep. I had to leave the den in the night with cramp, but JD slept on until morning!
JiaJia, JD and I went to a Birthday Meal of one of JD's classmates last week along with half a dozen other classmates and their parents. A huge banquet with top quality food. The dishes moved slowly around the circular table by electronic motor and there was a strange forest decoration in the middle of the table including various wildlife. Yes folks, some of the food was a little deer! Geddit?
I returned from an overnight visit to Chongqing yesterday - a huge city an hour's flight away with a population of over 30 million. JD and I both need to renew our passports and you have to do it there in person (and then fly back to pick them up a month later).
The door key in my hotel had a bizarre mix of accurate English and almost poetic Chinglish gibberish!
JD's Kindergarten do have an annoying habit of sending out homework with very tight deadlines (...almost as if they don't plan their lessons in advance!?)
So last Sunday morning we got a text saying that all students had to visit a "Memorial to student martyrs" in ShiDa University and provide photographic evidence you were there. So JiaJia, JD and I jumped on my e-bike for what we hoped would be a quick "in-photo-out" visit. But we hadn't bargained on the trainee volunteer guides lying in wait. And then, when 5five other students from JD's class turned up, the whole visit turned into a massive game of chase! Still, homework done (until the next one)!
Dicos is the Chinese equivalent of McDonalds or KFC. I often pop in for a cheap coffee while waiting to pick up JD from Kindergarten. Yesterday I noticed that the staff door has a strange board along the bottom that the off-duty workers have to step over. Some have said it's to stop rats but this is the staff rest room, not the actual kitchens on the floor below (which are open plan). Very odd.
Even urban cities in China have the occasional wildlife surprises. I found this 20cm long beauty by the door of our flat yesterday. I moved it to some nearby bushes to give it a chance of survival and it was still there when JD returned form Kindergarten, much to his delight. Although stick insects are renowned for their slow moving I think this one was especially lethargic due to the recent cold snap here. Otherwise he looked pretty healthy.
We've had bucketloads of rain every day here recently. Talk of droughts from a few years ago are long forgotten! But we were cheered up yesterday evening by the most amazing (double) rainbow - the clearest I've ever seen. This [right] was the view from my flat - photos don't do justice to the brightness and clarity of the colours. Students at my University had even better views [below] with the full arc on display. Very impressive indeed.
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