Let me try again - the lap-top jinx is alive and well, sending previous attempts into e-space. The last few weeks have been hectic with preparations for the big annual event, the students' English speech competition, followed by yet more holiday and travel.
The students involved in the Speech competition take it very seriously and spend hours memorising a long poem or piece of prose of their choice, so they can recite it, with feeling, on the day. They also have to perform a song. They probably don't understand their chosen piece at all but that's not the point, it seems. So, I had a steady trickle of contestants coming to my flat for practice. I heard 'Doh, a deer', 'God is a girl', and 'I'm a big, big girl' ad nauseam, plus various poems, containing varying amounts of Chinglish. I suggested alternatives for the unpronouncable words. 'Wooed' caused a problem, as did 'synthetic' ( ooed and thinfetic) so 'courted' and 'man-made' did the job.
The day of the competition was sceduled for Tim's arrival in Kunming so plans had to be re-thought quickly. Planning more than 24 hours ahead doesn't work in China. Tim's a 'big, big boy', proud of being an international traveller, so now was his chance to prove it. I asked him if he could make his own way to Wenshan. He didn't panic, agreed straight away, but possibly regretted it for a while. He did get here in one piece, but not without a few adventures on the way. The usual China stuff, wrong bus stations .... To keep it short, suffice it to say he had a young female escort take him to the right bus station and he paid her 10 kuai. Well, that's what he told me. He arrived in Wenshan, ignored my numerous messages on his mobile, got in a taxi, survived more mishaps (wrong way, broken English phone calls to random friends of the driver who spoke some English...) and arrived at the College. He eventually found me in the room where I was judging the competition, and the poor lad performing at that moment had to cope with the buzz Tim's arrival caused, with students calling him over to sit down next to them and budging up to squeeze him in.
Mercifully, the competition didn't last too long and performances ranged from the extremely nervous, the cringe-making and the un-intelligible to impressive renditions of 'My heart will go on' and amusingly interpreted 'Grand old Duke of York'.
That's enough for this postcard. I'll write about our work week together and our travels in the next one. The photo with this card is one from our travels to 'Snake lake'.