From Tim. I arrived in Kunming, China last Friday after the long journey from Sydney via Bangkok. Val met me at the airport and was looking very lean and fit. We spent Saturday in the 'Stone Forest', an interesting day excursion from Kunming. On Sunday, we enjoyed the seven hour coach journey to Wenshan. I was particularly impressed with Val's improved Chinese. Nobody speaks English here and the Chinese characters rule out any chance of reading signs to get directions. Therefore, she needed to buy tickets, find the buses and also to order the local special meal of 'Over the Bridge' Noodles in Chinese. Just eating this was an adventure.
Val's flat is very snug and is situated inside the college grounds. I have been with her at all of her lessons this week. I have been the novelty act, even singing songs to students. The 'ask Tim questions about anything' sessions were real fun. The students are very enthusiastic in class. Often coming from poor farming families, they have a charming naivete and also a very happy outlook on life. Yesterday evening, we had sixteen students cooking a meal for us in Val's small flat. This was a great success and the expedition to the local market to buy the ingredients was a memorable event.
Weve been on the tour around town and also up the 999 steps to the Pagoda (it's Chinese name sounds like Wembley Towers!). We also went walking in the hills. After scrambling up a cliff face, the path weaved amongs cultivated volcanic craters. There were many big butterflies and the rural tranquility was almost unbelievable.
I now understand why Val is loving the life in China (she looks ten years younger!). It is a marvellous set up in Wenshan. Comfortable accommodation, wonderful, enthusiastic students, a very safe town and no pressure, stress or targets at all. If you can possibly do it, come and visit her and see how life is in China. You will without doubt enjoy the experience.