Thanks for all your messages and please keep them coming. The time is drawing closer for the move to my placement in Wenshan, Yunnan. The language skills are coming on and I can successfully ask for a few things in shops now, get my ticket for the pool and the underground, ask how much things cost and understand (some of) the answer. However, the Yunnan dialects and languages will complicate things.
I'm flying to the province capital, Kunming, on Saturday and will be met there. This means that the people meeting me will have driven at least 7 hours to Kunming. They are, I am told, really looking forward to my arrival and are very keen to show me around.
Our trip to the Great Wall was amazing and I'm glad I was fit enough to climb the hundreds of steps to get up there, let alone negotiate the hugely varied sizes of the steps once you're up top. The views were amazing, sights of the wall and the mountains meandering into the distance. I hope the photos give you some idea.
The Lama Temple was also quite mind-blowing and it was interesting to see the Chinese people at worship in the Buddhist Temple, burning incense and genuflecting in each part of the Temple.
Tomorrow I'm off to the Forbidden city but I've been warned it may be very crowded.
So, soon I'll be reminded of what I'm here for. We've had a lot of training here about development issues in the poor, rural areas we're here to work in and it'll be good to make a start. There seems to be one rule - expect the unexpected. China and the Chinese have their own way of doing things.